Sanchi (46 km): This ancient Buddhist site is a rounded hill, 46 km northeast of Bhopal. The Mauryan emperor Ashoka, who embraced Buddhism afterthe bloody Kalinga war, built many Buddhist monasteries and stupas including the Great Stupa at Sanchi. With Hinduism once again gaining momentum, the Buddhism site become a forbidden place and got ruined. In 1818, a British army officer rediscovered its treasures. But the site suffered extensive damages at the hands of amateur archaeologists and treasure hunters and sad enough, proper restoration commenced only after 60 years. Although Sanchi can be visited directly from Bhopal, you also have the interesting option of relaxing a night before in the nearby crossroadsvillage
The Sanchi Stupa 1 or the Great Stupa is the main structure on the hill and it can be reached via a path and stone steps at the end of Monuments Road. It stands 16 meter high and has a diameter of 37 meters. Originally constructed by Ashoka, this aesthetically proportioned structure was later enlarged and the original brick stupa enclosed within a stone one. There are four entrances through intricately carved toranas (gateways) which have heralded as the finest Buddhist works of art at Sanchi and perhaps in India.