Sanchi was an important Buddhist sanctuary said to be the oldest to still exist and with a range of ancient monuments.
Whilst most of the sites at Sanchi were built in the 2nd and 1st centuries BC, it was probably founded in the middle of the 3rd century, under Emperor Asoka. One of the site’s oldest monuments, the intricately carved Asoka’s Column, remains as testament to this.
A cultural hub, Sanchi would remain of vital importance for Buddhists, thriving as a city over the course of centuries, only finally being abandoned sometime in the 12th century. Today, visitors can see a variety of monuments dating back to Sanchi’s heyday, including palaces, monasteries and stupas. The most impressive of these is known as Stupa 1 or the Great Stupa and, like much of Sanchi, is resplendent with carvings.
Lost for hundreds of years and only rediscovered in the 19th century, Sanchi has been a UNESCO World Heritage site since 1989.