Sanchi, was the seat of Buddhist learning and pilgrimage from 11th Century B.C to 3rd Century B.C. Buddhist art and architecture found sublime expression here. Sanchi abounds in stupas, temples, pillars and four magnificent gateways, profusely carved with images depicting the great events in the life of Gautama Buddha. His life is explained through symbols as was the tradition in the early years of Buddhism. The lotus represents Buddha’s birth, the tree his enlightenment, the wheel his first sermon and the Stupa his nirvana or salvation. The footprints and throne denote Buddha’s presence. The Ashoka Pillar, a column built in 3rd Century BC lies close to the southern gateway. Its brilliant polish is unblemished despite exposure to the elements over many centuries.