Location: In the north Indian state of Uttar Pradesh. Sarnath Temple
Tourist Attractions: Stupas, Museums
Nearest Tourist Destinations: Jaunpur, Chunar, Varanasi, Kushinagar, Allahabad.
When to Visit: October to March
About Sarnath Sarnath is located at a distance of 8 km from Varanasi in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh. Sarnath is the place where Lord Buddha delivered his first sermon to his five disciples, preaching the middle path for attaining ‘Nirvana’. Realising the sanctity of the site, emperor Ashoka, in the 3rd century B.C. built some of the finest monuments and legacies, a rare site to appreciate.
The 34-metre-high ‘Dhamek’ stupa stands as a remarkable structure, which contains the remains of Lord Buddha. The area is now graceful and pleasant, breathing the spirit of the enlightened one, glowing with the devotion of the many followers who inhabited it through the centuries that followed.
Tourist Attractions in Sarnath
The great Dhamekh stupa and Dharmarajika stupas stand testimony to the great Buddhist works. The most notable structure at Sarnath, is the cylindrical Dhamek stupa, 28 m in diameter at the base and rising to 43.6 m in height. Dhamek stupa is built partly of stone and partly of brick. The stone facing the lower part is beautified with delicate floral carvings of Gupta period.
Built by Mughal Emperor Akbar in 1555 A.D., Choukhandi Stupa is believed to be the place where Lord Buddha met his five disciples. The magnificent Ashoka pillar states the visit of emperor Ashoka to Sarnath. It was originally adorned by a capital of four lions, now housed in the Sarnath museum. The capital became the state emblem of modern India.
Sarnath TempleMulgandha Kuti Vihara
Built in 1930, the Tibetan Buddhist shrine, Mulgandha Kuti Vihara, treasures sacred antiques from various places and a lifesize golden statue of the Buddha. It is adorned with fantastic frescoes by Japanese artist, Kosetsu Nosu. The place also has few Chinese and Jain temples. The ‘Bodhi’ tree growing within the campus is believed to be the offspring of one under which Buddha had attained enlightenment in Bodh Gaya.
The museum exhibits a magnificent statue of the Buddha turning the wheel of law, and many other excavations that exhibit the flowering of the Indian Plastic arts.
Air: Varanasi (Babatpur) Airport is the nearest airport. Commercial flights connect Varanasi to Kathmandu, Delhi, Agra and Mumbai.
Rail: Varanasi railway station is well connected to important cities.
Road: It is located on the National Highway No. 29 that also connects Varanasi and Gorakhpur.