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Get your soul enlightened with a holiday in Sarnath
Located at a distance of 10 kilometers from Varanasi, Sarnath is the sacred place where Buddha headed and stayed after getting enlightened in Bodh Gaya. Gautam Buddha sterted the Maha-Dharamchakra Parivartan in the Deer Park which is located in Sarnath.  The Buddhism influence and the rich culture and history, makes Sarnath a regular stopover for Buddhists from all across the globe. A day before Buddha left this earth, he declared Sarnath among the four other sacred places for his followers. The other three places are, Lumbini, Bodh Gaya and Kushinagar. A holiday in Sarnath will splash your mind and soul with great knowledge and peace. Each year thousands of Indian as well as foreign tourists visit Sarnath and they enjoy the mesmerizing peace and tranquility here. Tere is a rich connection of historic past with Sarnath which we will include later. There are many places of interest here and for those who love to embrace and nurture their soul with serenity, Sarnath is a must not miss destination.

History and culture of Sarnath:
It was around 234 BC when Gautam Buddha visited Sarnath and he raised a stupa. During the 3rd Century BC to the 11th Century AD, several structures and buildings related to Buddhism were raised here. Sarnath is the place which has maximum numbers of relics of the Buddhism. Since ancient times, Sarnath is also known as 'Mrigadava' which means the 'deer park' and 'Isipatana' which means a sacred place of holy men. According to the legendary folk tales, it is believed that even before Gautam Buddha was born, the Gods came to earth and announced that at Sarnath, 500 holy men will be born. The holy men merged into the ari and their relics mingled with the soil of Sarnath. Later when Gautam Buddha visited Sarnath he preached here. The first association of Buddhist Monks was marked here and the historic past of this place gets accentuated with the stories of Gautam Buddha.

Things to do and see in Sarnath:
Chaukhandi Stupa: Located at a distance of just 13 kilometers Varanasi is the Chaukhandi Stupa. It is believed that this Stupa was raised at the ancient place which was a 4th to 6th century temples form the Gupta period. The Chaukhandi Stupa is a beautiful, octagonal tower made up from a brick and according to Hiuen-Tsang a Chinese traveler this stupa is the tallest one from that time.  

Sarnath pillar: The majestic Sarnath pillar was 12.25 m tall with a diameter of 0.71 m and its diameter reduced to 0.56 m towards the top. The original Sarnath Pillar had a Lion Capital which was on the top of the pillar with four lions attached back to back, facing towards the four directions.  On the top of the original pillar stood the Ashoka Chakra. During the Turk invasions the original pillar was demolished to some extent and its relics are still in the Sarnath Archaeological Museum.

Sarnath Archaeological Museum: The Sarnath Archaeological Museum houses numerous artifacts historic past of the city. Some major artifacts embellishing the museum include the huge image of a standing Bodhisattva, Shiva slaying Andhakasura and the Lion Capital. You can also check out some beautiful pictures of Hindu Gods and Goddesses. Photography is prohibited here, but from the outside vendors you can buy some postcards.

The Mulagandhakuti Vihara temple:  This temple is one of the famous Buddhist temples in Sarnath and it was built by the Sri Lankan Mahabodhi Society. It is a place of great history and many artifacts and relics are displayed here during Karthik Purnima.

Bodhivriksha: The holy Bodhi vriksha or the Bodhi Tree is considered as an important and famous trees by Buddhists as Gautam Buddha attained enlightenment under the Bodhi Tree.


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