Sanchi – Buddham Dhammam Sangham

10. Monasteries

Monastery No 36 – Monasteries at Sanchi are built on simple design and familiar pattern of having a square court surrounded by cells on all sides and a verandah supported on pillars around the court. Sometimes we see a raised chamber in the center and sometimes additional chambers outside. This square court plan is known as chatuhshala plan. This monastery was built with two stories, the staircase to approach the upper storey was in north-west corner. The entrance to the monastery was provided on eastern side.

Monastery No 36


Monastery No 37 – This monastery is bigger than no 36 and better constructed as well hence it might be of later period, about seventh century CE as suggested by Marshall.

Monastery No 37


Monastery No 38 – This monastery would be contemporary of no 36 as it is built with uneven masonry. Marshall mentions that there was an ancient structure at this site, vestiges of which can still be seen. Instead of a raised platform in its center, it had a square depression. It was also built with two-storey design, steps to the upper storey were in south-west corner.

Monastery No 38


Monastery No 51 – This monastery is built on the usual chatuhshala plan which consists of an open quadrangle in the center with cells for monks disposed around it. It has a verandah on the southern side. The structure is roughly squarish (33.22 m X 32.69 m) and is built of stone masonary with an exterior of dressed stones, whereas the inner core is composed of stone rubble. The stone walls are faced with bricks. The twenty two cells are mostly of uniform size, except the central one in the western wall which is larger and has an antechamber in the front.

Monastery No 51


Building No 8


Building No 8 – Only the plinth of this structure now remains which is some 3.6 m above the red block. In the middle of its eastern side is a ramp with few steps and a chandra-shila at base. The exact function of the structure, which can be assigned to the Shunga period of 1st-2nd centuries, is hard to determine.

Stone Bowl


Stone Bowl – This huge monolithic stone bowl is resting on a small mound. The bowl is 2 m high and a diameter of 1.2 m. Cunningham suggests that it could be the pot in which Buddha planted a holy nettle however Marshall does not agree with this. Marshall states that this surmise of Cunningham is based upon wrong identification of Sha-chi of Fa-Hien with the present Sanchi. He instead suggests that the bowl was probably meant to keep food for distribution.


Food and Accommodation – MP Tourism (MP State Tourism Development Corporation) runs two pretty good hotels at Sanchi. Gateway Retreat is the best option for accommodation. It is well run hotel which offer nice food as well. Sri Lanka Mahabodhi Society is another good option for stay. Recently they have opened a new building with nice rooms having all basic amenities but they have no attached restaurant. Near the bus stand you will get some restaurants, Pal Dhaba is a good option where you will get nice vegetarian thali.

How to Reach – Sanchi is located 46 km from Bhopal and 10 km from Vidisha. Sanchi has a railway station and you can get trains from Bhopal and Vidisha. However Sanchi can be easily be reached via road from Bhopal and Vidisha. The nearest airport is Bhopal.


  1. Burgess, Jas (1895). Epigraphia Indica vol II. Archaeological Survey of India. New Delhi
  2. Chanda, Ramaprasad (1919). Dates of the Votive Inscriptions on the Stupas at Sanchi. Archaeological Survey of India. New Delhi.
  3. Cunningham, Alexander (1854). The Bhilsa Topes. Smith, Elder & Co. London.
  4. Dhavalikar, M K (1965). Sanchi: A Cultural Study. Deccan College. Pune.
  5. Dhavalikar, M K (2003). Sanchi. Oxford University Press. New Delhi. ISBN 9780195675900
  6. Hamid, Maulvi Muhammad (1922). Catalogue of the Museum of Archaeology at Sanchi, Bhopal State. Government Press. Calcutta.
  7. Maisey, F C (1892). Sanchi and its Remains. Kegan Paul, Trench, Trubner & Co. London.
  8. Marshall, John (1955). A Guide to Sanchi. Government of India Press. Calcutta.
  9. Mitra, Debala (2003). Sanchi. Archaeological Survey of India. New Delhi. ISBN 8187780185


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