The land where Buddhism took birth
Sarnath can definitely be the place to be accredited for the birth of Buddhism for it was here that the great Lord Buddha had met his first five disciples. It is located in Uttar Pradesh, one of the most populated states of the country, yet the peace which is found in Sarnath can be so unlike the nature of the rest of the state. Located around twenty-six kilometres from Varanasi, the place is pure bliss. Naturally, it has a lot of history attached to itself, and thus there are a lot of places which prove the story it tells. A hub of medieval period architecture, the place can proudly boast of a lot of stupas, pillars and temples.
It was the place Ashoks chose to build one of his pillars. Ashoka's pillars have contributed a lot in Buddhism as it explains about his Dhammas which are all about how Buddhism should be practised. These Dhammas also explain how Buddhism is the promoter of peace and can bring a change in the world if people start believing it. Ashok's pillars not only have profound significance in Buddhism, but also in India's history. It tells the world how important India is as a promoter of peace and non-violence, evidently, this is why the Ashok Emblem is printed on Indian currency.
A Buddhist Shrine
Just like all religions have shrines, Buddhism has its own shrines too. Hindus have their 'Char Dhams', Muslims have their Mecca and Madina, Buddhists similarly have four very holy shrines. They are-
- Bodh Gaya.
- Kushinagar (Kuśinagara)
And, Sarnath is one of them. It has its importance as it marked the beginning of Buddhism.
How to reach
Sarnath has a very accessible location and can be reached by any part of the country by any medium- rail, air or road.
How to Reach by Flight
The nearest airport is in Varanasi, about 15 kms away. Cabs and taxis are readily available from here. Autos are available too.
How to Reach by Train
Sarnath has its own railway station, which is connected to major cities of India, but not all the cities, so it is better to take a train to Varanasi.
How to Reach by Bus
Buses are available from almost the whole of UP to reach Sarnath.
How to Reach by Road
Sarnath is connected by an excellent network of roads and can be reached by any part of the country.
How to travel within
Autos and buses are easily available for local sight-seeing.
Staying in Sarnath
Sarnath has a lot of staying options in the form of hotels, guest houses and dharamshalas. Being a religious place which is often flocked by tourists, it has all the facilities one would need while visiting the place. It has a lot of food options as well, as almost all kinds of cuisines are available.
A research hotspot
Sarnath has become a research hotspot recently for the numerous excavation spots it has. Also, the Ashok Pillar causes a lot of wonder as it has remained intact for the longest period of time and still remains to do so, while the other similar constructions of the same time period have shown signs of degradation.
- Kickstart your day by visiting the most famous Chaukhandi Stupa and feel the peace of Buddhism.
- Visit the legendary Ashok Pillar and learn of Ashoka's Dhammas.
- Visit the Thai temple and marvel at its beauty.
- Visit the Archaeological Museum and learn more about the place.
- Visit the Tibetan temple during sunset and feel the chill in the winds.
- Explore the local markets and cuisine.