It is said that when Bimbisara (born c. 543 – died 491 BCE), the king of Magadha, was contemplating where he could offer the Buddha and his followers a place to rest, he thought aloud that the place should be ‘not too far from the town and not too near. Suitable for going and coming and easily accessible to all people by day. But by night, not exposed to noise and alarm. Clean of the smell of people, well fitted for a retired life.’ Sir John Marshall (Director-General of ASI from 1902-28) opens his book Monuments of Sanchi (still the most authoritative book on Sanchi) with this anecdote. He wanted to underline how this idea that Bimbisara had articulated went on to determine the location of all ancient Buddhist stupas and monastery complexes, from Sarnath to Sanchi.