Sarnath is a place located 10 kilometres north-east of Varanasi near the confluence of the Ganges and the Varuna rivers in Uttar Pradesh, India. The deer park in Sarnath is where Gautama Buddha first taught the Dhamma, and where the Buddhist Sangha came into existence through the enlightenment of Kondanna.
The Sarnath Temple, also known as the Chaukhandi stupa, is a Buddhist temple located in the city of Varanasi (also known as Benares) in the state of Uttar Pradesh, India. The temple marks the spot where the Buddha gave his first sermon after achieving enlightenment, and it is an important pilgrimage site for Buddhists. The temple complex includes the Chaukhandi stupa, which is believed to mark the spot where the Buddha first taught, and a number of other stupas and temples, as well as a museum containing artifacts related to the history of Buddhism in the area. It is also known as an UNESCO World Heritage Site, included in the “Sarnath- The Buddhism Heritage Site”
The Sarnath Temple complex, like many Buddhist temples, is characterized by its stupas, which are large, dome-shaped structures that typically contain relics of the Buddha or other important figures in Buddhism. The most significant of these stupas is the Chaukhandi stupa, which is believed to mark the spot where the Buddha first taught. This stupa was originally built in the 4th century AD, but has been rebuilt and modified several times over the centuries. It has a base in the shape of a square with an octagonal tower on top, and it is decorated with a series of stone carvings depicting scenes from the life of the Buddha.
Other notable structures in the Sarnath Temple complex include the Dhamekh Stupa, which is believed to stand at the spot where the Buddha delivered his first sermon, the Ashoka Pillar, which was erected by the Emperor Ashoka in the 3rd century BC to mark the site of the Buddha’s teachings, and the Chinese and Thai temples, which are dedicated to the various countries where Buddhism is practiced.
In general, the architectural style in Sarnath temple complex is a blend of Indian, Chinese and Tibetan influences. The architecture is not limited to buildings but it also includes the sculptures, images and inscriptions which are displayed on the walls, pillars and other structures in the complex.
Legend / Local stories
How to Reach:
The nearest airport to Sarnath lies at Varanasi – the cultural capital of India. Varanasi Airport at Babatpur is located about 30 km from Sarnath. It is one of the important domestic airports in India. Almost all public and private airlines in India operate regular flights to and from Varanasi. From Varanasi you can avail direct flights to cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Khajuraho, and others. You can also board flight from Kathmandu to reach Varanasi.
Sarnath has a railway station of its own, which is connected to Varanasi and Gorakhpur by passenger trains. The nearest railhead to Sarnath is at Varanasi too, which is one of the major railway junctions in the region. Varanasi railway station is connected to the rest of India by a large number of important trains. There are train links from Varanasi to various cities within Uttar Pradesh as well as cities in other parts of India like New Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Agra, Lucknow, Bangalore and Ahmedabad, to name a few.
Sarnath in Uttar Pradesh is well connected with other parts of the state by decent roadways. The nearest mega terminus from Sarnath lies at Varanasi, about 10 km downtown from Sarnath. Varanasi is well connected by bus with major cities like Lucknow, Bareilly, Kanpur, Allahabad, Agra and Mathura. Regular buses run by Uttar Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation as well as private operators ply from Varanasi to these destinations. Hence, Sarnath is easily accessible by road from Varanasi and other major destinations in Northern India.