Sanchi is a small village in Raisen District of the state of Madhya Pradesh, India, it is located 46 km north east of Bhopal.
Amateur archaeologists and treasure hunters ravaged the site until 1881, when proper restoration work was initiated. Between 1912 and 1919 the structures were restored to their present condition under the supervision of Sir John Marshall.Today, around fifty monuments remain on the hill of Sanchi,including three stupas and several temples.
The monuments have been listed among the UNESCO World Heritage Sites since 1989..
The ‘Great Stupa’ at Sanchi is the oldest stone structure in India and was originally commissioned by the emperor Ashoka the Great in the 3rd century BCE. Its nucleus was a simple hemispherical brick structure built over the relics of the Buddha. It was crowned by the chatra, a parasol-like structure symbolising high rank, which was intended to honour and shelter the relics. It has four profusely carved ornamental gateways and a balustrade encircling the whole structure.
Sunga emperor Pushyamitra may have destroyed the original stupa, and his son Agnimitra rebuilt it. During the later rule of the Sunga, the stupa was expanded with stone slabs to almost twice its original size. The gateways and the balustrade were built and appear to have been commissioned by the Satavahana. An inscription records the gift of one of the top architraves of the Southern Gateway by the artisans of the Satavahana king Satakarni: