Architecture of Monastery 51 at Sanchi
This ancient monastery is built against the circuit-wall opposite the West Gateway of Sanchi Stupa 1. The modern stairs lead to an imposing monastery built on a ledge of rock, about 7 metres lower than the Main Terrace at Sanchi. This compact and well-preserved monastery measures 33.22 metres from north to south and 32.69 metres from east to west. An interesting feature is that the stone walls are extensively veneered with flat bricks.
The design of the monastery includes an open courtyard at the centre with an enclosing verandah and a range of cells behind. The main entrance through the eastern wall is flanked on either side by a massive pylon. The brick-paved courtyard is lower than the verandah. Excluding the entrance-porches on the east and the comparatively spacious chamber on the west, there are twenty-two cells in this monastery. The four cells on the corners are isolated by verandah-extensions on either side. The central cell on the western side is fronted by an antechamber formed by breaking the verandah with partition-walls.
To the south-east of this monastery rests an old quarry subsequently turned into a tank. Outside the west gate is a giant bowl, formed by scooping out a large stone boulder. A modern path leads from this spot to Stupa 2.
Connectivity to Monastery 51
The monastery can be reached via railway, airway and roadway. The nearest railhead is Vidisha (located about 10 km from Sanchi) and Bhopal. The closest airport is located at Raja Bhoj Airport at Bhopal. The airport is well connected with all the major cities of India like Mumbai, Hyderabad, Delhi, Indore, Chennai and Raipur. Sanchi is well connected to Bhopal by bus services. One can also avail private taxis from Bhopal.
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