Ashoka Stupa at Sanchi and Visiting the 5th Century Gupta Temple in Madhya Pradesh was an absolutely outstanding experience. Ever since my school days, I had visualised myself standing amidst this age-old history. It came true when I was visiting the 5th century Gupta Temple and Emperor Ashoka Constructed Stupa at Sanchi in Madhya Pradesh.
Visiting Ashoka Stupa at Sanchi, 'Travel Karmas' is real!
Read on to know how I arrived at Ashoka Stupa at Sanchi and managed to visit places like The Great Stupa and the earliest temple architecture known in India, the Gupta Temple established by Emperor Ashoka.
I stepped out and saw an unusual facade design for a railway station. Indeed a reminder of the Sanchi Stupa located in the vicinity. I took a few pics and headed out to explore. Walked around the market that was already buzzing with activity on the streets outside. Hiring an Autorickshaw for the ride ahead was easy. The driver agreed to take me all the way to the places to see in Vidisha and from there to Sanchi.
Ashoka Stupa at Sanchi
Very rarely do I find it hard to close these ambiguous deals. Google maps may be indicated by distance, length, but it's hard to comprehend the approach roadways, the viability and so on. But like always, I like the mystery of not knowing and I wait for the adventure to unfold. It turned out the caves are almost in no man's land with farmlands among the surroundings with few houses along the way. Once we got off the main road we almost put the busy city behind us.
Since it was too early in the morning in the monumental area, entry was not open. But like me, few tourists and locals were around clicking pictures. Whatever I saw did not impress at all. I told the driver to head for Sanchi. Even there the entry was only after 9 AM. But strangely hawkers were selling their wares. Few international tourists from Southeast Asia were already present checking out the literature at the book store.
It was here for the very first time I got a chance to visit the world heritage site with an Audio guide. Such a useful offering is made available in several languages for a small fee. I was so thrilled about it since I could hear everything I wanted while walking in what was believed to be the Kingdom of Emperor Ashoka.
The weather was windy and carrying the winter chill. I was basking in the sun to feel warm. The audio guide literally sets the pace of the tour. I was ushered to the starting spot with the tree and so on. All of me, my heart was distracted at the lovely Sanchi Stupa. For years we have seen Ashoka emblems in our banknotes and coins. It is another thing to literally stand in front of it. Sharing few images I clicked which show how spectacularly clean, neat and well maintained. Something unusual at that time in India. But the amount of funding and support the Buddhist sites receive is altogether a different subject for yet another discussion.
Sometimes you just pause and gape at the surroundings and try and visualise what it would have been that many centuries back. This area dates back to the 5th century and I know the vegetation and glory would have been completely different. Oddly, it remains quite unpopulated though'. My driver was so patient with me and he insisted that I allow him to show a set of caves that were in Vidisha. So we kind of retraced our way back and quickly reached the place. He dropped me at the bus stop where I could board the bus heading to Bhopal.
About an hour or so later I reached the old city part of Bhopal. It was lunchtime and was looking at the list of places to see. I realised that I was hungry and definitely needed to fuel up. Called for an auto just to get out of the din and dirt of the old city area. The auto driver gave me a list of places for a city tour. I had no energy to explore. Upon inquiring, DB mall was the only option to head out. It happened to be the same place recommended by a friend whose family hails from Bhopal. I felt fatigued to socialize and also, had a flight to catch later that evening.
D B Mall is a typical commercial building, big but not very huge compared to the ones in Delhi. I chose 10 downing street, for the decor, ambience and of course the Aircon that was running. It definitely was soothing and relief on a hot day in Bhopal. There were very few occupants and the staff were courteous. I spent time for nearly two hours. One hour was spent talking to the office and clients another hour or so for me.
It is a good feeling to relax in a strange place in an environment unknown just a solitary company that is so much needed. The best part of travelling solo is these moments where you get time to be by yourself and reflect on the things you observed, the strangers who became part of life even if for a few minutes. Human kindness, dealing with warmth is so encompassing and real. I am short of words, but looking back at those 24 hrs gave me so many life moments to cherish. I hired a cab to take me to the airport which was about twenty minutes ride from the mall. That year the flight connectivity from Bhopal to Hyderabad was opened. This provided me with an option to explore a part of the Gupta empire and its aftermath influence in and around Sanchi.
This was also my very first visit to Madhya Pradesh as a tourist and traveller. Many times in the past have crossed this state via train journey but did not have a chance to stop and visit the famous historical places that I had read in my history books as a child. One-off the bucket list.
Thus paving the way for my curiosity of this wonderful state of Madhya Pradesh, Hindustan ka Dil. What a wonderful trip from Dilli aka Delhi to Hindustan ka Dil…and back to my city. So much can be done in less than 40 hours, three airports, two railway stations, two bus stations, one mall, one pub, one stadium, one fine dine and also a metro ride. Three states covering a distance of approximately 3500 km.
How to Reach Ashoka Stupa at Sanchi
Bhopal is the nearest Airport BHO and capital city of Madhya Pradesh. Road Distance from Airport to Sanchi is 55 KM. One can hire a taxi to cover Sanchi, Vidisha and return to Bhopal. The Distance between Sanchi and Vidisha is about 10 KM.
Indore Airport IDR to Sanchi 245 Km, Jabalpur JLR to Sanchi 280 Km
Vidisha (BHS) is the nearest station on the main railway line. Hire an Autorickshaw to visit Vidisha caves and Sanchi Stupa.