|Uttar Pradesh, India
|Hinduism 98.52 % | Islam 0.86 % | Jainism 0.24 % | Christianity 0.13 % | Buddhism 0.06 % | Sikhism 0.04 %
|Hindi, Bhojpuri and Urdu
Weather: 32° C - 10° C
Ideal Duration: 2-3 Days
Best Time: Oct-Mar
Nearest Airport: Varanasi
Sarnath, located near the city of Varanasi in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, is a place of immense historical and religious significance. It is considered one of the four holiest Buddhist sites in the world and holds a special place in the hearts of Buddhists around the globe. Sarnath is renowned as the place where Lord Buddha gave his first sermon after attaining enlightenment, known as the Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta or the “Turning of the Wheel of Dharma.”
The main attraction in Sarnath is the Dhamek Stupa, which stands as a symbol of the Buddha’s teachings. This massive cylindrical structure, reaching a height of 43 meters, is believed to mark the spot where Buddha delivered his first sermon. The stupa is adorned with intricate carvings and serves as a focal point for pilgrims and visitors who come to pay their respects and meditate in its peaceful surroundings.
The Sarnath Archaeological Museum is another prominent site in the town. The museum houses a vast collection of sculptures, artifacts, and relics dating back to the 3rd century BCE. The exhibits include the famous Ashoka Pillar, with its edicts and inscriptions, as well as statues of Buddha and Bodhisattvas. The museum provides valuable insights into the rich artistic and cultural heritage of Sarnath.
Sarnath is also home to several other important Buddhist monasteries and temples. The Mulagandhakuti Vihara, built by the Mahabodhi Society, is a Buddhist temple that showcases beautiful frescoes depicting scenes from Buddha’s life. The Thai Temple, gifted by the Thai government, is a striking structure adorned with intricate Thai architecture and art.
For those seeking spiritual solace, Sarnath offers numerous meditation and retreat centers where visitors can learn and practice meditation techniques under the guidance of experienced teachers. These centers provide a serene and tranquil environment for self-reflection and inner growth.
Sarnath is conveniently located just a short distance from Varanasi, one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world. Many visitors to Sarnath also take the opportunity to explore the spiritual and cultural wonders of Varanasi, including its famous ghats along the sacred Ganges River.
Things to Do
In Sarnath, immerse yourself in the spiritual tapestry of Buddhist heritage. Visit the Dhamek Stupa, a symbol of Buddha’s first sermon, and marvel at the ancient ruins of the Mulagandhakuti Vihara. Explore the Sarnath Archaeological Museum, housing a rich collection of artifacts. Witness the serene beauty of the Chaukhandi Stupa and the Ashoka Pillar. Delve into the peaceful ambiance of the Thai Monastery and Japanese Temple. Engage in meditation at the Deer Park, echoing with the essence of Buddha’s teachings. Savor moments of introspection amidst lush landscapes, sacred structures, and the profound historical significance that defines Sarnath.