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Tourist Places To Visit In Sarnath
Sarnath, a renowned site where Gautam Buddha delivered his first teachings about Dharma and gave his first sermon, is located in a small town in Uttar Pradesh. The town has a lot of religious significance to Buddhists and seeks to visit Sarnath at least once in their lifetime. Sarnath is home to several Buddhist and Hindu temples, museums that reveal the rich culture of the region, the Ashoka Pillar and many more attractions that are absolutely amazing. Don’t know what to visit? Here’s a list of tourist places to visit in Sarnath that may help you plan your trip better.
The Chaukhandi Stupa is built in a place where Gautam Buddha first met his five disciples to whom he later on gave his first sermon to; the monument has been built in commemoration of that event. The Chaukhandi Stupa is located on the way to the Deer Park. When you enter Sarnath, this structure is the first monument you will see and is said that it was originally constructed as a temple in the Gupta Era between the 4th and 6th Century. The structure is an important monument and is visited by many tourists every year.
The Ashoka Pillar or the Sarnath Pillar is one of the most visited monuments in Sarnath and has an impressive structure. The structure marks the national emblem of India and stands about 12 m -15 m tall. You can see several monks meditating around the vicinity, giving serene vibrations. The monument has a tall pillar with four lions on top of it and then at the bottom you can see the famous Ashoka Chakra. The Ashoka Pillar is made of sandstone rock and gives you a glimpse of the bygone eras.
The Tibetan Temple is a traditional Tibetan Buddhist Monastery which is absolutely peaceful. The entrance of the temple has two lions on either side, designed beautifully and inside you can see an open, large compound. The temple is bright looking and is located close to the main market in Sarnath. In the large compound you can see a stupa which is light pink in colour and was built to give asylum to Dalai Lama. The art inside the stupa is beautiful; the walls are painted with artistic frescoes and the door of the temple is painted in bright red. Inside the stupa sits Sakyamuni, a different form of Buddha.
The Deer Park is an attraction that is often visited by tourists, especially nature lovers. It is a park that is made for deer, so that they can roam around freely in their natural habitat. Animal and nature enthusiasts will love the place and it can be quite calming to sit and relax at the park. The name Sarnath, originated from Saranganath that actually means ‘Lord of the Deer’ and is located right behind the Mulagandha Kuti Vihar. The park is maintained by the forest department and one can see beautiful array of trees, flowers and relaxing picnic spots.
One of the more recent additions in the sites for popular Buddhist pilgrimages, the Thai Temple is one that is quite popular amongst the tourists. Some Thai dignitaries had visited Sarnath in 1993 and they were the ones who built this beautiful temple which is adorned with manicured gardens, making it one of the most visited religious sites in Sarnath. One of the characteristics of this temple site is the huge 80 foot statue of Buddha, in standing position, right beside the Thai Temple. There are three other statues of Buddha in the vicinity in different postures under a tree. The Thai Temple is beautiful and absolutely worth visiting.
The Sarnath Museum is an interesting place to visit in Sarnath. This archeological museum has a rich collection of archeological ruins from the bygone era; sculptures, artefacts, images of Buddha and Bodhisatva. After excavating for years, all of these artifacts were housed inside the Sarnath Museum and now are a set of exhibits for people who come and visit. The museum holds a collection of Buddhist artifacts that include a cross legged sculpture of Buddha from the 5th Century, in deep meditation with his eyes closed. Other artifacts include a life-size Bodhisattva with several arms. This museum catches the eye of visitors who have a keen interest in studying the Buddhist culture.
The Dhamek Stupa is one of the most revered Buddhist sites in the world. The structure is famous as this was the place where Buddha delivered his first sermon to his disciples and is considered holy. The Stupa was built in 249 B.C by the great King Ashoka and has a profound architectural design. The structure is cylindrical in shape and 43.6 m high, with a diameter of 28 m. It is built of stones and bricks and is the biggest structure in Sarnath. The borders of this massive structure have intricate carving of humans, birds and a band of swastikas in various geometrical patterns. The Dhamek Stupa is something you cannot miss when you are in Sarnath.
Mulagandha Kuti Vihar
The temple of Mulagandha Kuti Vihar is set in Sarnathand has a very distinct and unique structure from the other temples in the vicinity due to more recent architectural additions. The Mulagandha Kuti Vihar was established by Maha Bodi Society in 1931 and is characterized by detailed patterns in the interiors. It consists of murals and frescoes that are beautifully made by Kosetsu Nosu, a Japanese painter. At the entrance of the temple, you can see a huge bronze bell and houses a big golden statue of Buddha. Overall, due to its architectural excellence, the temple is very engulfing for any one visiting it, making it a must do in Sarnath.