Geographic Location- Sanchi, a tranquil region embellished by a chain of monasteries, stupas, temples and pillars dating from 3rd century BC to 12th century AD, is a nagar panchayat in the Raisen district of Madhya Pradesh state of India. Perched at an elevation of 1519 feet above sea level, the city of Sanchi lies between 77°58' east longitudes and 23°50' north latitudes and is surrounded by Vidisha (9 Km) on the its southwest side.
The name Sanchi might have been derived from Sanskrit and Pali word Sanch which means to measure. However, Sanchi or Sancha, in Hindi means for Moulds of Stones.
Sanchi is renowned as one of the important pilgrim centres of Buddhists. It is a calm and peaceful place situated at the top of a hill. The place Sanchi tells the history of over 2,000 years in stone of the Buddhists. The best and perfect examples of the Buddhists architecture and creativity are well seen in various monuments like temples, stupas etc. situated at this place. The stupas at Sanchi have been selected as a World Heritage Site because of its archaeological and historical importance. It is a special place of attraction not only to those believing Buddhism but also various researchers and historians. The visitors include both domestic and foreign tourists. One of the very little known fact about the place is that the city has nothing to do with the events of the life of Buddha neither did he visit this place ever. It was from the time of Ashoka when he spread Buddhism through various symbols and representations. Ashoka erected a stupa on the remains of Lord Buddha such as his teeth, shoulder bones and hairs. The lotus symbolizes his birth, the wheels symbolize his first sermon, the stupa symbolizes his Nirvana, and the tree symbolizes his enlightenment.
In Sanchi, Chethiyagiri Vihara festival is worth watching. It is celebrated in the month of November with great joy and enthusiasm. In this festival the main attraction is the relics of two initial disciples of Buddha, Sari Puttha and Maha Moggallana, whose remains were discovered in Stupa 3 in 1853. All through this festival Sanchi is thronged by a large number of Buddhists devotees and pilgrims from all around the world. Other festivals like Maha Shivratri during February month is also highly accomplished with religious activities in Sanchi.
The nearest big town to Sanchi is Bhopal, at a distance of about 46 Km.