Sarnath -Prominent Buddhist Pilgrimage
Sarnath is revered as the prominent Buddhist pilgrimage in India, it is one of the four holiest centres, located 10 km away from Varanasi. A tranquil and sacred city, bestow peace to your heart and soul. Land of Buddha and his beliefs aggrandize the serenity and convey the immense knowledge and wisdom to the devotees. According to legends, Buddha preached to his disciples for the first time at this place and embarked the Buddhist Sangha at Sarnath.
On the occasion of Buddha Purnima, ( a new moon day ), a big fair is organised in both places like Sarnath and Varanasi to celebrate the birth of Buddha, Death and Nirvana. Being one of the exceptional pilgrim destinations, thousands of devotees attend this fair or plan their tour, in a way to adore the cultural relevance of this event within the hushed vicinity.
Far from the bustling streets of Varanasi, Sarnath is easily travelled by air, road, and rail, some flights from Kathmandu also plays the primary role of connectivity.
An unsullied, beautiful and a part of an ancient city, Sarnath is a small town, whose history began around 528 B.C with the arrival of Gautam Buddha with his first sermon delivered after attaining enlightenment under the Bodhi Tree in Bodh Gaya. Sarnath is one of the four holy Buddhist circuit sanctioned by the Buddha himself for the pilgrimage. The other three sites are Lumbini (birth) now located in Northern Nepal; Bodh Gaya (enlightenment) in Bihar; and Kushinagar (death), in Uttar Pradesh.
Some mystical and divine mentions were also added as the prehistoric facts in the history of Sarnath as the name of this city has been rephrased time after time, unveiling the tales behind them Mrigadava ( means Deer Park) , Migadāya, ( where deer could wander unharmed), Rishipattana and Isipatana (legends say that before the Buddha was born, devas assured the birth of some 500 holy men, whose relics fell onto the ground, and they disappeared supernaturally into the air) . And Lastly, Sarnath comes out from the word Sarangnath which means (Deer God).
Sarnath is also well renowned as the Jain Pilgrimage site, the birthplace of the 11th Tirthankara of Jainism, Shri Shreyansanatha Bhagwan, a 2200 years old ‘ashtakood’ and a temple is also present dedicated to him.
In the history of Sarnath, there are myriad consequential events occurred that has flourished and ruined the city over the period of time. By the 3rd century, the city has proliferated as a major centre for arts, and architecture as well, King Ashoka has contributed in establishing many structures in Sarnath which included the Ashokan Pillar located near the main shrine, the pillar has a four-lion capital, which was later adopted as the national emblem of India. He built thousands of Stupas and Viharas, monasteries for Buddhist followers and monks. The town reached its pinnacle of success during the Gupta reign (4th -6th century A.D.).
Entailing the captivating and exciting Buddhist tale again, when the Chinese traveller Hsuan Tsang visited in the 7th century, the city was boasted with 30 monasteries and 3000 Buddhist monks living in Sarnath.
The city was ransacked by Turkish Muslims and utterly lost its prestige by the end of 12th century. After that, Sarnath remained abandoned entirely until 1836, when some British archaeologists began excavations and restoration of this historic city.
What you will like
Serenity, and simplicity among the localities. Far from the main cities hustle bustle, a place to refresh your mind and heart.
What you might not like
There is no luxe facilities for the tourist. Avoid visiting Sarnath in peak summers.
One of the famous Buddhist pilgrim site around the world, it is ideal for the followers of Lord Buddha, also for the travellers who are agog to learn about the realms, and principles preached by their disciples at Sarnath.
Eateries in Sarnath
Being the part of Varanasi, tourists may found the same cuisine over Sarnath too; there are some food joints where one can relish the vegetarian cuisines at an affordable price at Sarnath Café. The place is run by some authorities of Buddha’s Smile School.
Another place is Restaurant Up-65 which is an open-air restaurant that is remarked as the gem by the visitors, here you will get the city’s best tandoori momos, with the great and amiable ambience and interesting interior designed with the clever use of bamboo and recycled items and off course you will be served the tasty heavenly food.
Sarnath is a small pleasant town, well renowned as the one of the eminent Buddha centre. It is suggested to stay at Varanasi, and have a day road trip to Sarnath. Visit the Dhamekh Stupa, the Thai temple, Tibetan temple, Chaukhandi Stupa and don’t forget to visit the Bodhi Tree and Deer Park.
History buffs, Archeological museum, is an ideal spot for you to explore Buddhist arts, images of Hindu Gods, etc.