Located in the fork of the Betwa and the Bes rivers, the town of Vidisha is just 9 km away from Sanchi. The town was called Besnagar at one point in time. It was an important part of the kingdom of emperor Ashoka and was named Vidisha after his wife, Devi who was also called Vedisa-Mahadevi.

She was the daughter of a merchant who lived near Vidisha. One can find numerous monuments with archaeological and historical significance as the town was an important centre of trade through the 5th and the 6th centuries. Local legend suggests that Vidisha was such an influential place that it finds mention in the epic Ramayana as well as the Meghdoot. According to historical records, Vidisha retained its importance even during the golden rule of the Mauryan as well as the Gupta empire. Today, it attracts travellers because of the interesting ruins of the Bija Mandal Temple and the Gumbaz ka Makbara. The massive dimensions of Bija Mandal have in fact led a number of people to draw comparisons between this temple and the famous Konark Temple in Odisha. One can also head over to Gyaraspur nearby to visit some more ancient sites. The famous Udaygiri caves also lie in the vicinity. These contain a number of important inscriptions from the Gupta period. A Heliodorus pillar, believed to have been constructed in 110 BC and known as Khamba Baba, is another attraction here. Local legend says that the pillar was constructed by Heliodorus after he converted to Hinduism and became a devotee of Lord Vishnu. There is a District Archaeological Museum here, which houses antiquities dating back to the 9th century.

other Attractions in Sanchi