Attractions in Sarnath
Stupa - The most impressive sight in
Sarnath is the towering Dhamekh Stupa, possibly
built around 500 AD. It was built at the site
of many earlier constructions as excavations
reveal brickwork from much earlier periods.
Dhamekh Stupa is a solid cylindrical tower,
33 metres in height. The borders have delicately
carved geometrical and floral patterns and the
figures of humans and birds. The base of the
Stupa is made of stone with the upper areas
of brickwork which probably once had a carve
Mulgandha Kuti Vihara - Mulgandhakuti Vihara marks the site
where the Buddha meditated during his monsoon
retreats at Sarnath. Excavations have unearthed
a statue of a Bodhisattva from the 1st century
AD, and a tablet on which the name of the shrine
was carved. In 1922, Anagarika Dharmapala laid
the foundation of a temple named Mulgandhakuti
Vihara at the site. It enshrines relics of the
Buddha which were discovered at Taxila. The
interior has frescoes painted by a Japanese
artist in 1932-35. Outside is the Bodhi tree
and its spreading branches symbolise the return
of Buddhism to India.
The Main Shrine
and Ashoka Pillar - The massive Ashoka Pillar,
set up by Emperor Ashoka is placed at the spot where
the Buddha gave his first sermon and established the
Sangha. The monolithic Ashoka Pillar was once crowned
with the magnificent Lion Capital, which is now kept
in the Sarnath Museum. The four roaring lions face
the four cardinal directions symbolising the spread
of the Buddha's teachings.
Archaeological Museum - The Sarnath Archeological
Museum houses the superb Lion capital of the
Ashokan Pillar. This symbol has been adopted
as the national emblem of modern India. Sarnath,
where the Buddha delivered his first sermon
more than 2500 years ago, has a site museum
whose prize exhibit is the enormous lion capital
(2.31 m). Now the emblem of Independent India,
this capital once surmounted an Ashokan pillar
erected to mark the spot where the Buddha preached.
There are many other Buddha
and bodhisattva figures to see. Among these
the most outstanding is the Gupta period Buddha
with hand raised in Abhaya or protection.
Events in Sarnath
The full moon day of April-May is observed as
the anniversary of Buddha's birth, enlightenment,
and death. The full moon in the month of July-August
is considered the anniversary of his first sermon.
This festival celebrates the birth of Lord Buddha
with traditional religious dedication. A large
fair is held at Sarnath and the relics of Buddha
are taken out for public display in a procession
on this day.
There & Away to Sarnath
nearest airport is Babatpur 30 km away from
where one can take daily flights to Delhi, Calcutta,
Bhubaneswar, Kathmandu, and Patna.
is a halt on the Northern Railway network and
several of the trains, which cross Varanasi,
stop here. From Varanasi direct trains are available
for almost all the major cities of India.
||Sarnath is 9.6 km by road from
Varanasi, and is well-linked by road.
Around in Sarnath
The stupas and other monuments are located quite close
to one another and in pleasant lawns. Sight seeing
is best done on foot.