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India's oldest stone structure, Sanchi Stupa in Madhya Pradesh

Emperor Ashoka the Great commissioned The 'Great Stupa', the oldest structure at Sanchi in Raisen District in Madhya Pradesh, to be built over the relics of the Buddha in the 3rd century BC. It is the oldest stone structure in India. It seems like Sanchi was quiet the hotspot and flourished till the 14th century, under several dynasties. After that it became deserted, till 1818 when General Taylor rediscovered the site.

The construction of the Great Stupa was overseen by Ashoka's wife, Devi, who was the daughter of a merchant of Vidisha. Sanchi was also her birthplace as well as the venue of her and Ashoka's wedding. Ashoka also redistributed the mortal remains of Lord Buddha for erecting several stupas all over the country in order to spread Buddhism.

The Stupa displays an austere grandeur and the exquisite carvings of the doorway depict in detail the significant episodes and miracles from Lord Buddha’s life and events depicted in the Buddhist Jataka stories. During the Gupta period, temples and sculptures were added in the classical simplicity of the era.