Sarnath is an excellent option if devotees want to spend some time exploring the beauty of the city in peace after leaving the crowded ghats of Varanasi city of Uttar Pradesh. The spiritual place Sarnath holds special significance for the devotees of Buddhism religion because after attaining enlightenment in Bodh Gaya, Gautam Buddha gave his sermons here for the first time. This oldest city flourished during the reign of Emperor Ashoka.
Here are some beautiful places to visit in Sarnath:
- Dhamek Stupa
This is the most beautiful stupa of Sarnath, which is visible from a vast distance. Built amidst all the ruins present in the Mrigvihar Garden, this stupa has a unique historical significance. It was built in the memory of the first sermons given by Gautam Buddha after attaining enlightenment. The construction work of this stupa started in the 3rd century BC, and it was built in several phases. The stone carvings carved during the Gupta dynasty can be seen up to about eleven meters on its outer walls.
- Chaukhandi Stupa
This terraced stupa made of red stones is one of the most sacred sites of Buddhism. It is said that this is the place where Gautam Buddha preached Buddhism to his five disciples, which he spread all over the world. This stupa is said to have been built during the Gupta period. Inscriptions written in the Persian language can also be seen on its door.
- Ashoka Pillar
Emperor Ashoka built many pillars across the country. The remains of one of these pillars are still present in Sarnath. This pillar with four lions on top is also the national symbol of India. This is the pillar at the bottom of which the chakra is included in the national flag of India. The height of this pillar was initially about 55 feet, but the pillar present in Sarnath is now damaged and is only about eight feet.
- Sarnath Museum
In the beautiful museum of Sarnath, you will get to see a unique collection of the oldest things related to Buddhism. More than six thousand Gautam Buddha statues are made in different periods. This museum was designed to preserve the relics found in the excavations of Sarnath. The museum has five galleries and two balconies, where you can see the historical heritage related to Buddhism from the third century to the twelfth century. This beautiful ancient museum was built in 1910. It is popularly known as one of the oldest museums of the Archaeological Department of India, present at the excavation site.
Know when and how to visit
You can visit here anytime. If you want to experience the festival vibes here, you must plan a visit in May.
One can easily reach here from Varanasi as the distance from Varanasi to Sarnath is 12 km. Sarnath has a railway station connected to the Varanasi and Gorakhpur via a local line.