The great Stupa of Sanchi was commissioned by Indian Emperor Ashoka after his disillusionment from the wars and bloodshed in Kalinga. When “Ashoka the Great” embraced Buddhism, he decided to build a stupa to memorialize the earthly relics of Buddha. Emperor Ashoka laid the foundations of the great Stupa in 3 centuries BC, the construction was watched upon by his wife Devi. The original stupa was built with bricks; however, Ashoka’s successors added on to the main stupa and had built a stone stupa over it to preserve and refurbish the original edifice. They also added an intricate vedika (railing) & four elaborately carved toranas (gateways) to the structure alongside building several other smaller stupas around the main stupa. This beautiful monument was forgotten after 12th century or so, with the regression of Buddhism in India. It was not until 1818 when a famed British historian, General Taylor mentioned Sanchi in one of his documents that the world came to rediscover this lost wonder. Afterwards, there was an era in which fortune hunters and inexperienced archeologists pillaged this monument, which stopped after 1912,
When Sir John Marshall took it upon himself to restore the stupa to its former splendor. Today, the Great Stupa of Sanchi, also called Stupa 1, stands 71 feet tall, on a hill in all its glory recounting stories about a time bygone and as a symbol of respect and faith in Buddhism. The stupa is a fine example of the architectural expertise of Maurya & Gupta empires. There are 4 other stupas around the main stupa, on the same hill, one of them is actually just the remains of the base, but the other 3 are in good shape and look just as beautiful.