Sarnath along with Lumbini, Gaya and Kushinagar forms the Buddhist Quadrilateral in the Indian Sub-Continent. These places are in a way related to the life, times and the philosophy of Lord Buddha. Lumbini is the place where Lord Buddha got birth and Gaya marks the place where he got enlightened. While Sarnath and Kushinagar are the places where Lord Buddha gave his first sermon and attained Nirvana respectively.
Sarnath has an important place in Buddhist way of life, as it is the place where Lord Buddha gave his first sermon after he got enlighten in Bodh Gaya. A beautiful Stupa marks the actual spot where the sermon was delivered. It is called Dhamek Stupa. The place is a must visit for every tourist flocking India. Apart from that Sarnath has other attractions too. The most interesting among those is the famous Ashoka Pillar. The pillar is one of the many erected by Emperor Ashoka through out his entire kingdom after he converted to Buddhism. Sarnath museum is another tourist destination worth visiting in Sarnath. The place treasures some of the most valuable possessions and relics related to Buddhism.
Sarnath is well connected to the rest of India through airways and railways. The nearest airport and railheads are Varanasi that is well connected to cities like Bangalore, New Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai and Mumbai.
Location: In Eastern region of Uttar Pradesh, India
Climate: Summer 43°C to 30°C, Winter 25 °C to 3 °C
Best time to visit: October to March
Nearest Airport: Varanasi Airport
Nearest Railhead: Sarnath Junction
Must Visits: Dhamek Stupa, Ashoka Pillar
Language spoken: Hindi, Urdu and English
STD Code: +91-542
Sarnath is a famous pilgrimage and tourist destination in India. The city is famous as the seat where Lord Buddha gave his first sermon after he got enlightened in Bodh Gaya. There are several tourist spots in Sarnath that are worth visiting.
Ashoka Pillar at Sarnath is one of the most famous and most visited tourist spot in India. Emperor Ashoka erected this pillar like several others in other parts of his kingdom. The date of erection and commissioner of this pillar is also confirmed by the edicts of Ashoka that is engraved on it. The pillar also records the visit of Ashoka to Sarnath. The year of his visit is said to be around mid 3rd century BC. It is interesting to note that at one time, the Ashoka Pillar of Sarnath stood over 17 meters in height. Its capital with the four lions back to back that has been adopted as the official emblem of modern India can be seen in the museum at Sarnath.
Chaukhandi is another very famous and historically important monument in Sarnath. Chaukhandi is the first monument you will encounter as you enter Sarnath. Chaukhandi Stupa is actually a lofty mound of brickwork. An Octagonal tower surrounds the square edifice of Chaukhandi Stupa. It is believed by majority of historians that Emperor Ashoka originally built this Stupa. Standing on a terraced rectangular plinth, the Stupa is capped by an octagonal Mogul tower. This Mogul tower has been built by Emperor Akbar to commemorate the visit of Humayun at this shrine.
Dhamek Stupa in Sarnath is one of the most visited and most revered Buddhist Shrines in the world. Dhamek Stupa marks the place where Lord Buddha gave away his first sermon after he got enlightened in Bodh Gaya. Dhamek Stupa is arguably the most remarkable structure at Sarnath. Typical of Stupas of that period, Dhamek is cylindrical in shape with a base that is more than 28 meters in diameter. The Stupa stands 31.3 meters above the pedestal whereas the entrance measures 43.6 meters on it s feet. Dhamek Stupa that was originally commissioned during Mauryan period is made partly out of red bricks and stones.
Mulagandha Kuti Vihar
Mulagandha Kuti Vihar is a welcome break from architectural monotony in Sarnath. Situated amidst brick ruins of ancient Sarnath, this Buddhist Temple is as distinct from any Buddhist Architectural pattern as chalk and cheese. This modern temple that looks truly magnificent with detailed designed patterns in its interiors has been erected by the Maha Bodhi society in the year 1931. The temple is famous for its Murals and Frescoes.
The Archaeological Museum of Sarnath is one of the most famous museums of its kind in entire South-Asia. Locally known as Sarnath Museum, Archeological Museum of Sarnath is a splendid building built early this century and stands adjacent to the historical ruins. The museum contains a large collection of sculptures that stands testimony to the fervent artistic and religious activity at Sarnath for more than a thousand years.
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