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Sarnath Tours


Sarnath is a revered pilgrimage destination for the Buddhist community. The place is located on the outskirts of Varanasi in northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh. It is at Sarnath that Lord Buddha had delivered his first sermons after attaining enlightenment. Here, he had told his five disciples the middle part for attaining 'Nirvana'. The status of the place was significantly upgraded when Emperor Ashoka in the 3rd century B.C built some of the finest monuments associated with the religion. Most of these monuments have successfully stood the tests of time and today beckons tourists from many parts of the globe.

Facts and figures
Location from nearby major cities : Lucknow (330 kms), Allahabad (138 kms), Varanasi (10 kms)

Known For : Sarnath is a popular Buddhist pilgrimage destination of Uttar Pradesh. It is here that Lord Buddha had delivered his first sermon.

Climate & the best time to visit : Sarnath experiences tropical climatic conditions. The peak summer months of April-June are very hot and dry. Temperatures may reach a high of 40 degrees. Monsoons arrive in July and with it comes a lot of rainfall. The peak winter months of December-February are also very cold with mercury dipping to 10 degrees or even below. The best time to visit is between the months of October and March.

Attractions in the City
Carved Stone Walls Lying in Ruin at Sarnath, Dhamek Stupa : The great stupas of Sarnath today stand as testimony to the architectural genius of that era. The most notable of the structures is the cylindrical Dhamek stupa. The imposing structure is 28 metres in diameter at the base and rises to a height of 43.6 metres from the ground. The stupa has been built using a combination of stone and bricks. The lower parts of the stupa were beautified through delicate floral carvings during the Gupta period.

Choukhandi Stupa :
Another magnificent structure of the place, this stupa was built much later by Mughal Emperor Akbar in 1555 A.D. It is believed that at the very place where the stupa stands, Lord Buddha had met his five disciples. It may be mentioned that the Ashoka pillar adorned by a capital of four lions used to stand nearby. Now housed in the Sarnath museum, it tells the exact date of Emperor Ashoka's visit to Sarnath.

Mulgandha Kuti Vihara :
Mulgandha Kuti Vihara is a Tibetan Buddhist shrine built in Sarnath in the year 1930. The main attractions of the Vihara are sacred antiques from various places and a lifesize golden statue of the Buddha. The Vihara has been further beautified with fantastic frescoes by Japanese artists. There is also a Bodhi tree growing within the campus which is believed to be an offspring of the main one at Bodhgaya.

Archaeological Museum :
The museum has collected pieces of items found during many excavations in the area. But the main attraction is a magnificent statue of the Buddha turning the wheel of law. Some impressive Indian Plastic arts have also been on display.

Other Places to Visit Buddhist Monks , Varanasi :
Varanasi is located a mere 8 kms from Sarnath. Also known as Benaras, the historical ghats of the place makes it one of the most revered Hindu pilgrimage destinations. On the banks of holy river Ganges, many religious rituals and ceremonies are held here regularly. The evening aarti on the ghats after which thousands of earthen lamps are released in the waters is a great sight to watch.

Jaunpur :
Founded by Feroze Shah Tughluq in the 14th century, Jaunpur is a small town having a few charming monuments belonging to both early and later medieval period. The place is today gaining popularity as a production hub for its Jasmine oil factories.

Allahabad :
Allahabad has today become synonymous with the Triveni Sangam. It is at the sacred Sangam of Allahabad that holy Ganges, Yamuna and mythical Saraswati meet. Devotees in thousands visit Allahabad every year to take a holy dip in the waters. The Kumbh Mela held here at the interval of every 12 years is the highest religious festival of the Hindus. The distance from Sarnath is some 138 kms.

How To Reach

By Air : Varanasi Airport is the nearest to Sarnath. Commercial flights connect Varanasi to Kathmandu, Delhi, Agra and Mumbai.

By Rail : Both local and express trains operate to Varanasi from various parts of Uttar Pradesh as well as important national destinations.

By Road : Sarnath is connected to the rest of the country by National Highway 29. The same highway also connects Varanasi and Gorakhpur.