Sunday, January 13, 2008

Jan 8-12: The story till 12th! (part 6 of 8)

Sanchi is a small town by the highway, plus a few dozen shops
clustered around the bus stand.

The Stupa is the above the hill close-by. Walking distance from the
hotel, and turns out to be open from Sunrise to Sunset. All it needs
is a 10 rupee ticket and a walk to the top of the hill to sight the
Stupa. Metal Detector at the entrance! I am the first to enter the
stupa on this day, so no crowds to disturb.

I take a guide to help me understand the story behind the stupa. The
most important monument is the Great Stupa. It supposedly contains
Gautham Buddha's ashes, and was initially built by Ashoka. Later kings
added the railing-like wall surrounding it, and the pillars which are
the 'identifying mark' of this monument. There are other stupas in the
same complex as well, plus a monastery, and a broken temple. No fun
describing these monuments without pictures, see, so let me defer this
job till I return. Next Stop: Bhopal.

Meanwhile, I have been in telephone contact with my childhood buddy
Ananth Swagath. We had seen each other when we finished class 7, and
hadn't been in touch till Orkut put us in touch through another
classmate. I had figured that my visit to Bhopal would be the best
chance to meet this long-lost buddy. I used to be a regular visitor to
his house in class 7, and his parents also remembered me. Swagath was
away in Indore, but said that he would be back at night. So a stay in
his house made imminent sense.

This stop at Bhopal meant that I couldn't ride further than Bhopal,
about 50km away. So I start from Sanchi after seeing the Stupas at a
leisurely 10, and reach Swagath's house after after asking directions
from a lot of people at 4 PM.

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