Second Day at the Sanchi Site

[Day 10] On the second day in Sanchi, rather than walk in, as we had on the first day, we decided to hire a 3-wheeler to get us into the site, which promised to be less tiring than the first day’s walk.

We arrived at the Booking Office around 6.35am, after sunrise, but there was no one to sell tickets till around 7.00am, so we had a long wait. At the entrance gate the guards took the camera stand from my bag and would only let me proceed with the selfie stick.

After buying tickets we arrived, as on the previous day, hours before anyone else, so we were able to get most of the photography done before the crowds made it to the site.

As I had photographed the main Stupa (no. 1) the day before, today was spent on the other buildings, particularly on the Stupa no. 3, which is like a small scale version of the larger no. 1 stupa. It has only one gate, which is smaller than those round the bigger stupa, but it is also finely carved.

I managed to photograph the stupa, which went well, before moving on to the extensive remains of the temples and monasteries which originally surrounded the stupas. Most have only the foundations remaining, but one of the temples has some carved figures on the walls, and a large Buddha statue (unfortunately behind locked doors), and another misplaced on the floor of a hallway.

The monastic remains are similar to those we find elsewhere, with only the foundations marked out, and no real rooms still standing, but it was clear that this was a substantial establishment at one time, probably housing scores of monastics.

* * *

In the evening we went with Ven. Chandananda from the Mahabodhi Temple in Sanchi to a site we had previously not heard of, but which proved to be quite extensive, at Satdhāra, around 14km from Sanchi, and now situated in the remote countryside.

At the site there are around 20 stupas, many of which had been reconstructed. The atmosphere was very quiet and meditative. There were, needless to say, no tourists at the site, because the place is hardly known and difficult of access, but there were a few locals, including a Buddhist couple from Vidisha whom we spoke to.

The site afforded beautiful vistas over the Madhya Pradesh countryside, and has an almost idyllic setting. The stupas here were the site for the relics of Ven Sāriputta and Mahāmoggallāna, which are now in the Mahābodhi temple at Sanchi; and the area around here is also associated with one of the Buddha’s great disciples: Ven. Mahākaccāyana, who lived in the Avanti area.

Sanchi, Stupa 3



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