Tour to Sanchi Stupa And Bhimbetka Caves

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  Bhopal  is the Capital of Madhya Pradesh Tourism or Madhya Pradesh State. Bhopal was founded in 11th century by the Paramara king Bhoja, who ruled from his capital at Dhar. This theory states that Bhopal was originally known as Bhojpal after a dam (pal) constructed by the king’s minister. No archaeological evidence, inscriptions or historical texts support the claim about an earlier settlement founded by Bhoja at the same place, although the Bhojeshwar Temple ascribed to him exists at Bhojpur, which is 28 km from Bhopal…. READ MORE
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Sanchi Stupa

Sanchi is a Buddhist complex, famous for its Great Stupa, on a hilltop at Sanchi Town in Raisen District of the State of Madhya Pradesh,India. Located in 46 kilometres NorthEast of Bhopal. The Great Stupa at Sanchi is one of the oldest stone structure in India and was originally commissioned by the emperor Ashoka in the 3rd century BCE. The original construction work of this stupa was overseen by Ashoka, whose wife Devi was the daughter of a merchant of nearby Vidisha. Sanchi was also her birthplace as well as the venue of her and Ashoka’s wedding. In the 1st century BCE, four elaborately carved toranas (ornamental gateways) and a balustrade encircling the entire structure were added.

Ashoka pillar

A pillar of finely polished sandstone, The Pillar of Ashoka, was erected on the side of the main Torana gateway. The bottom part of the pillar still stands. The upper parts of the pillar are at the nearby Sanchi Archaeological Museum. The capital consists in four lions, which probably supported a Wheel of Law, as also suggested by later illustrations among the Sanchi reliefs. The pillar has an Ashokan inscription (Schism Edict) and an inscription in the ornamental SankhaLipi from the Gupta period. The Ashokan inscription is engraved in early Brahmi characters. It is unfortunately much damaged, but the commands it contains appear to be the same as those recorded in the Sarnath and Kausambi edicts. It relates to the penalties for schism in the Buddhist church: “. . . path is prescribed both for the monks and for the nuns. As long as (my) Sons and great-grandsons (shall reign ; and) as long as the Moon and the Sun (shall endure), the monk or nun who shall cause divisions in the Sangha, shall be compelled to put on white robes and to reside apart. For what is my desire ? That the Sangha may be united and may long endure.” — Edict of Ashoka on the Sanchi pillar.  

Sunga Pillar

Pillar 25 at Sanchi is also attributed to the Sungas, in the 2nd-1st century BCE, and is considered as similar in design to the Heliodorus pillar, locally called Kham Baba pillar, dedicated by Heliodorus, the ambassador to the Indo-Greek king Antialkidas, in nearby Vidisha circa 100 BCE. That it belongs to about the period of the Sunga, is clear alike from its design and from the character of the surface dressing.                  Probable Destruction and Expansion of the Stupa during Shunga Period. The Senapati or General of the Maurya Empire, PushyamitraShunga killed BrihadrathaMaurya, the last Mauryan Emperor in the middle of an army review in 185 BCE and laid the foundation of the Shunga Empire in North India. Going by the Indian Sanskrit-language text titled ‘Ashokavadana’ that describes the birth and reign of Ashoka, assumptions crop up that the Stupa was probably destroyed during the second century BCE, an incident which many believe to be associated with the rise of the power of Pushyamitra. Later it was re-constructed by his son, Agnimitra. During the Shunga dynasty, expansion of the Stupa, nearly double its original size with a more flattened dome was undertaken using stone slabs that entirely covered the actual brick Stupa. Three superimposed umbrella-like structures were built to crown the dome. It symbolised the Wheel of Law or ‘dharma’. A high rounded drum that can be reached through a double staircase became the seat of the dome enabling one to circumambulate the sacred dome. Construction & Decoration of the Gateways As perceived from inscriptions, presumably the four intricately decorated torans or gateways facing all four directions and an ornamented balustrade surrounding the stupa were added later in the first century BCE during the Satavahana rule. Various designs and motifs are carved on the railing and the gates of the Stupa. The sculptures on the torans consist of decorative illustrations of events encompassing the life of Lord Buddha as elucidated in the tales of Jataka. Inanimate figures like that of a tree are used here to symbolise Lord Buddha. One of the most striking features regarding the Stupa is that instead of images, Lord Buddha has been depicted symbolically by figures like thrones, wheels and footprints among others. Re-discovery in the 19th Century & Restoration Works In 1818, the existence of the SanchiStupa was documented in English by a British officer named General Taylor. Till 1881 treasure hunters and Amateur archaeologists caused extensive damage to the Stupa following which appropriate steps were undertaken to restore the ancient monument. Sir John Hubert Marshall, who served as the Director General of the ‘Archaeological Survey of India’ (ASI) from 1902 to 1928 supervised the restoration work of the Stupa between 1912 and 1919. A visit to the Great Stupa at Sanchi This fascinating and world famous Stupa and other structures in Sanchi portraying brilliance of Buddhist art and sculpture attract attention of thousands of visitors round the year including national and foreign tourists, archaeologists and historians among others. The site remains open from sunrise to sunset. As climate of the place remains hot throughout the year, the best time to visit Sanchi is during the winters, from November to March. Entry fees per person for Indian citizens and visitors of SAARC and BIMSTEC nations is Rs. 30/- and for others is Rs. 500/-. Entry is free for children up to 15 years of age.

Udayagiri Caves

The Udayagiri Caves feature some of the oldest Hindu images and cave temples in India. They are located near the city of Vidisha, northeast of Bhopal in the state of Madhya Pradesh Tourism  around 14km from the Buddhist site at Sanchi. One of India’s most important archaeological sites from the Gupta period, the Udayagiri hills and its caves are an archaeological site under the protection of the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI). Udayagiri consists of two low hills. Located a short distance from the earthen ramparts of the ancient city site of “Besnagar” on the banks of river Bes.Udayagiri is best known for a series of rock-cut sanctuaries and images excavated into hillside in the early years of the fifth century CE. The site is notable for its ancient monumental relief sculpture of Hindu god Vishnu, in his incarnation as the boar-headed Varāha, rescuing the earth symbolically represented by Bhūdevī clinging to the boar’s tusk as described in Hindu mythology. The site has important inscriptions of the Gupta dynasty belonging to the reigns of Chandragupta II (c. 375-415) and Kumaragupta I (c. 415-55). In addition to these remains, Udayagiri has a series of rock-shelters and petroglyphs, ruined buildings, inscriptions, water systems, fortifications and habitation mounds, all of which have been only partially investigated. The complex consists of twenty caves, of which one is dedicated to Jainism, and all others to Hinduism. The site at Udayagiri Caves was extensively reworked under the patronage of Chandragupta II, It is said that Chandragupta II did so in order to reflect a new concept of Hindu kingship, in which the monarch was seen as both the paramount sovereign (cakravartin) and the supreme devotee of the god Vishnu. Cave 5: Vishnu as Varāha, showing the god controlling the waters, personified as a serpent (nāga), and carrying the earth goddess on his tusk, cave 5 is a shallow niche more than a cave and contains the much-celebrated figure of Vishnu in his Varāha or Boar-headed incarnation. The complex iconography of the tableau has been explained by DebalaMitra. Willis has described the relief as the “iconographic center-piece of Udayagiri“. Cave 6: It is directly beside Cave 5 and consists of rock-cut cellar entered through an elaborate T-shaped door. The original image inside is missing but it was probably a Shiva linga. Outside the cave is a panel with an inscription recording the creation of the ‘meritorious gift’ (deyadharma), probably the cave and the adjacent images. The door guardians flanking the entrance are regarded by art historians as among the most powerful works of early Gupta sculpture. Beside them, on either side, are figures of Vishnu and of Shiva Gangadhara, the latter much worn from the falling of water over the image. Of special note is Durga slaying the Buffalo Demon, one of the earliest representations of the theme in India. Of special note also is the figure of seated Ganesh, to the left of the cave entrance, and the rectangular niche with seated goddesses, located to the right. Aside from this being the oldest datable Ganesh in India, the arrangement, with a guarded sanctum in the centre, Ganesh on one side and the mother goddesses on the other, presages the arrangement of temple space in subsequent centuries. Cave 4 has a rectangular cella with a rock-cut plinth in which is set a spectacular Shiva linga. The hair is tied up into a topknot with long locks cascading down each side. The arrangement of the hair recalls the story of how Shiva broke the fall of the River Ganga as the waters came down from heaven. There is a water channel in the plinth and in the floor of the chamber leading to a hole that pierces in the cave wall. The cave is entered through an entrance of exquisite proportions with delicately carved floral scrolls. The lintel of the door extends beyond the jambs to create a T-shape, a common characteristic of early temple architecture. Unlike most doors, however, the frame consists only of square moulding, identical on the top and sides. The base of the jambs and the sill are modern replacements. Externally, the cave is flanked by rock-cut pilasters and two guardians (dvārapāla) now damaged and weather-worn. The Passage, which starts beside Cave 8, is a unique feature of Udayagiri. It consists of a natural cleft or canyon in the rock running approximately east to west. The passage has been subject to a series of modifications and additions, the sets of steps cut into the floor being the most conspicuous feature. The lowest set of steps on the right hand side is visibly water-worn and evidently served as a water-cascade in historic times. Shell inscriptions engraved on the upper walls of the passage are the largest examples of this kind of writing known in India. The images of the fifth century cut through the SankhaLipi indicating they pre-date Gupta times. The inscriptions, which appear to be names in Sanskrit, had not been fully deciphered until recently. The upper walls of the passage have large notches at several places, indicating that stone beams and slabs were used to roof over parts of the passage, giving it a significantly different appearance from what can be seen today. In terms of sculpture, the passage has a series of niches and caves, numbered 9 through 14. Only a few contain sculptures, mostly of standing Vishnu, all of which are damaged. Cave 13 contains a large figure of Narayana, the recumbent figure of Vishnu resting. Before the niche are two shallow recess in the floor. These received pillar bases for some sort of porch. There is a shallow vertical recess above the cave, matched by a similar recess in the opposite cliff face, suggesting that there was some sort of architectural curtain wall across the passage at this point. Beside the image of Narayana is a kneeling devotee, and it has been argued that this figure is a depiction of Chandragupta II himself, symbolising his devotion to Vishnu.

Bhimbetka rock shelters

The Bhimbetka rock shelters are an archaeological site of the Paleolithic age, exhibiting the earliest traces of human life on the Indian Subcontinent, and thus the beginning of the IndianStone Age.Located in the Raisen District in the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh Tourism, inside the Ratapani Wildlife Sanctuary. Proofs from, various researches, and archaeological surveys held here tells the fascinating stories that some of the shelters were inhabited by Homo erectus over 100,000 years ago. Some of the Stone Age rock paintings among the famous paintings of Bhimbetka rock shelters are some 30,000 years old. The caves also deliver early evidence of dance. The name Bhimbetka (भीमबेटका) is associated with Bhima, a hero-deity of the epic Mahabharata. The word Bhimbetka is said to derive from Bhimbaithka (भीमबैठका), meaning “sitting place of Bhima“.it is considered that, Bhima sat here to rest, following the famous event of exile, while on run from, his kith and kin, making it famous from an another point of view, apart of exotic location view, Prehistoric artifacts, And Rock cave paintings. They were declared a World Heritage Site in 2003. Location And Discovery The Rock Shelters of Bhimbetaka (or BhimBaithaka) lies in the Raisen District, 45 kilometers south of Bhopal at the southern edge of the Vindhya hills. South of these rock shelters are successive ranges of the MightySatpura hills. Thick vegetation, abundant natural resources in its perennial water supplies, natural shelters, rich forest flora and fauna, bears a striking resemblance to similar rock art sites such as Kakadu National Park in Australia, the cave paintings of the Bushmen in Kalahari Desert and the Upper PaleolithicLascaux cave paintings in France. Rock art And Paintings The rock shelters and caves of Bhimbetka have a large number of paintings. The oldest paintings are considered to be 30,000 years old. The colors used are vegetable colors which have endured through time because the drawings were generally made deep inside a niche or on inner walls. The drawings and paintings can be classified under seven different periods. Period I – (Upper Paleolithic): These are linear representations, in green and dark red, of huge figures of animals such as bison, tigers and rhinoceroses. Period II – (Mesolithic): Comparatively small in size the stylised figures in this group show linear decorations on the body. In addition to animals there are human figures and hunting scenes, giving a clear picture of the weapons they used: barbed spears, pointed sticks, bows and arrows. The depiction of communal dances, birds, musical instruments, mothers and children, pregnant women, men carrying dead animals, drinking and burials appear in rhythmic movement. Period III – (Chalcolithic) Similar to the paintings of the Mesolithic, these drawings reveal that during this period the cave dwellers of this area were in contact with the agricultural communities of the Malwa plains, exchanging goods with them. Period IV & V – (Early historic): The figures of this group have a schematic and decorative style and are painted mainly in red, white and yellow. The association is of riders, depiction of religious symbols, tunic-like dresses and the existence of scripts of different periods. The religious beliefs are represented by figures of yakshas, tree gods and magical sky chariots. Period VI & VII – (Medieval) : These paintings are geometric linear and more schematic, but they show degeneration and crudeness in their artistic style. The colors used by the cave dwellers were prepared by combining manganese, hematite and wooden coal. One rock, popularly referred to as “Zoo Rock”, depicts elephants, Barasingha, bison and deer. Paintings on another rock show a peacock, a snake, a deer and the sun. On another rock, two elephants with tusks are painted. Hunting scenes with hunters carrying bows, arrows, swords and shields also find their place in the community of these pre-historic paintings. In one of the caves, a bison is shown in pursuit of a hunter while his two companions appear to stand helplessly nearby; in another, some horsemen are seen, along with archers.In one painting, a large wild boar is seen In one of the desolate rock shelters, the painting of a man holding a trident-like staff and dancing has been named “Nataraj”. Ideal visit time Winter (October – March) This is an ideal season for a visit to Bhimbetka, with pleasant climate and a lovely ambience waiting for your arrival. November onwards, you can see a greater crowd, owing to the season being the peak season for travellers.

Bhojeshwar Temple

The Bhojeshwar Temple is an incomplete Hindu temple in Bhojpur village of Madhya Pradesh, India. Dedicated to Shiva, it houses a 7.5 feet (2.3 m) high lingam in its sanctum. The temple’s construction is believed to have started in the 11th century, during the reign of the Paramara king Bhoja. The construction was abandoned for unknown reasons, with the architectural plans engraved on the surrounding rocks. The unfinished materials abandoned at the site, the architectural drawings carved on the rocks, and the mason’s marks have helped scholars understand the temple construction techniques of 11th-century India. The temple has been designated as a Monument of National Importance by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI). The Bhojpur temple features several peculiar elements, including the omission of a mandapaconnected to the Garbhagriha (sanctum), and the rectilinear roof instead of the typical curvilinear shikhara (dome tower). Three of the temple’s walls feature a plain exterior; there are some carvings on the entrance wall, but these are of the 12th century style. Based on these peculiarities, It is proposed that the temple was a funerary monument. This fragmentary text describes the construction of memorial temples erected over the remains of a dead person, conceived of as vehicles for ascent to the heaven. Such temples were called svargarohana-prasada (“temple commemorating the ascent to the svarga or heaven“). A text explicitly states that in such temples, a roof of receding tiers should be used instead of the typical Shikhara. Kirit Mankodi notes that the superstructure of the Bhojpur temple would have been in this exact form upon its competition. It is speculated that Bhoja may have started the construction of this shrine for the peace of soul of his father Sindhuraja or of his uncle Munja, who suffered a humiliating death in enemy territory.

Abandonment of construction

It appears that the construction work stopped abruptly. The reasons are not known, but historians speculate that the abandonment may have been triggered by a sudden natural disaster, a lack of resources, or a war. Before its restoration during 2006–07, the building lacked a roof. Based on this, archaeologist KK Muhammed theorizes that the roof could have collapsed due to a mathematical error made while calculating the load; subsequently, circumstances might have prevented Bhoja from rebuilding it. The evidence from the abandoned site has helped the scholars understand the mechanics and organisation of 11th century temple construction. To the north and the east of the temple, there are several quarry sites, where unfinished architectural fragments in various stages of carving were found. Also present are the remains of a large sloping ramp erected for carrying the carved slabs from the quarries to the temple site. Several carvings brought to the temple site from the quarries had been left at the site. The ASI moved these carvings to a warehouse in the 20th century.

Bhojeshwar Temple Museum

There is a small museum dedicated to Bhojeshwar Shiva Temple and it is situated nearly 200 meters from the main temple. The museum depicts the history of Bhojeshwar Temple trough posters and sketches as well as it covers the reign of Bhoja. The museum describes the reign of Bhoja and important books written by him as well as the mason marks. There is no entry fee in the museum and the museum is open for visitors from 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM. Detailed architectural plans for the finished temple are engraved on the rocks in the surrounding quarries. These architectural plans indicate that the original intention was to build a massive temple complex with many more temples. The successful execution of these plans would have made Bhojpur one of the largest temple complexes in India.   Festivals And Present Use The monument is now under the protection of the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI). Because of its proximity to the state capital Bhopal i.e. 28 km, it attracts a considerable number of tourists. In 2015, the site received the National Tourism Award (2013–14) for the “Best maintained and Disabled Friendly Monument”. Despite being unfinished, the temple is in use for religious purposes. On Maha Shivaratri, thousands of devotees visit the temple. The Government of Madhya Pradesh Tourism organises the Bhojpur Utsav cultural event at the site every year around Maha Shivaratri.  

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Day 01: Arrival at Bhopal station & local city tour :-

Upon arriving at Bhopal station, you will be meeting by our driver who will take you to your hotel, upon reaching check in at your hotel, after have some rest proceed for the local city tour of Bhopal including Taj- Ul –Masjid, Gohar Mahal & Bhopal Lake.

Evening return to your hotel.

Overnight stay at Bhopal.

 

Day 02: Visit Sanchi Stupa & Udayagiri Caves & drive back to Bhopal :-

Today after breakfast proceed for the visit of Sanchi Stupa & Udayagiri caves.

Later drive back to Bhopal.

Overnight stay at Bhopal.

Day 03: Visit Bhimbetka Caves & Bhojpur Temple & drop at station :-

Today after breakfast check out from your hotel & proceed for the visit of Bhimbetka Caves & Bhojpur Temples.

Later have in time drop at Bhopal station for boarding your train

1 review for Tour to Sanchi Stupa And Bhimbetka Caves

  1. Rated 5 out of 5

    Dr Arun S Supekar

    Very good & comfortable tour!

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