Sarnath (nr. Varanasi)
Buddhists worldwide look upon India as the land of the Buddha and a visit to this country means a pilgrimage to those places sacred to the memory of the Enlightened One. After the Bouddha attained enlightenment in Bodh Gaya he came to sarnath. Here in the Deer Park, he delivered his first sermon, or in religious language, set in motion the wheel of Law (maha- Dharmachakra Pravartan). On the day before his death Buddha included Sarnath along with Lumbini, Bodh Gaya and Kushinagar as the four places he thought to be sacred to his followers. The Emperor Ashoka, who spread the Buddha’s message of love and compassion throughout his vast empire, visited Sarnath around 234BC, and erected a stupa here. Several Buddhist structures were raised at Sarnath between the 3rd century BC and the 11th century AD, and today it presents the most expansive ruins amongst places on the Buddhist trail. Sarnath is 10 km from the holy city of Varanasi, and is an exceedingly tranqiuil place. The ruins, the museum and temple are all within walking distance.
Chaukhandi is the first monument one encounters as one enters Samantha. It is a lofty mound of brick -work whose square edifice is surrounded by a octagonal tower. Originally said to built by Emperor Ashoka.
The most remarkable structure at Sarnath, is the cylindrical Dhamek Stupa, 28 mts in diameter at the base and 43.6 mts in height, built partly of stone and partly of brick. The stone facing the lower part is adorned with delicate floral carvings of Gupta origin. aunt in Gundicha Mandir and stay there for five days. After five days they return back in the same chariots in a procession called ‘Ultarath’.
Mulagandha Kuti Vihar
This mordern temple has been erected by the Mahabodhi Society. It has excellent frescoes by Kosetsu Nosu japan’s foremost painter and is a rich repository of Buddhist literature. The ancient Mulagandha Kuti temple is among the brick ruins of Sarnath.
Sarnath yielded a rich collection of sculptures comprising numerous Buddha and Bodhisattva images. Considerde amongst the finest specimens of Buddhist art, these have been housed at the museum, adjacent to the site. The museum is open from 10 am to 5 PM, and closed on Fridays. Apart from the above the other objects of interest at Sarnath are the Dharmrajika Stup, magnificent Lion capital, India’s National Emblem at Sarnath museum, the Saddharmachakra Vihar’s at excavated ruins.
How to Get There
The nearest airport is Babatpur (Varanasi) : 30 km.
Sarnath is directly connected by Varanasi- Gorakhpur Exp 0549 / 0550 and Varanasi – Bhatni- Varanasi Exp 0551/ 0552. See Varanasi also.
Sarnath 10 km from Varanasi is well connected by road