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Sarnath Tourist Attractions

Sarnath Tourism

Sarnath is a popular pilgrimage site and tourist destination. It is located at 10 kms from Varanasi. It is the sacred place for Buddhist and Jain devotees due to which it registers tourists arrival in all seasons of a year. It is must visit Buddhist pilgrimage destination as Lord Buddha delivered his first sermon to the world at Sarnath. Similarly Eleventh Jain Tirthankar Shreyanshnath was also born in a village near Sarnath which makes it sacred place for Jain religious devotees also. It is very clean, green and peaceful place near Varanasi. While visiting Sarnath, we will notice many beautiful Buddhist temples, monasteries, open garden places, ancient stupas etc. Here we have tried to gather short information of all prominent tourist attractions of Sarnath which includes Buddhist temples, Jain temples, Hindu temples, monasteries, archaeological sites etc.

Tourist Attractions
Dhamekh Stupa: It is the most prominent structure in Sarnath archaeological park. It is counted among popular tourist attractions of Sarnath. Dhamekh Stupa is a massive Buddhist stupa made during rule of Mauryan emperor Ashoka, who adopted Buddhism in later years of his life. Overall height of Dhamekh stupa is 128 feet and have diameter of 93 feet. Here bones of Lord Buddha & his disciples were kept along with Buddhist relics. It is believed that stupa is standing at the spot where Buddha gave its first sermon to its first five disciples. At present it is maintained by Archaeological Survey of India.
Mulagandha Kuti Vihar (Mahabodhi Temple): It is a Buddhist temple built in year 1931 by Anagarik Dharampalji (1864-1933). He was from Ceylon in Sri Lanka. At present it is looked after by Maha Bodhi Society of India. it is also referred as Srilankan Mahabodhi Temple. It is open for visitors from 4:00 hrs to 11:30 hrs and later from 13:30 hrs to 20:00 hrs. Here will will find life size Buddha statues made of white marble in asan mudra means doing meditation pose. Here we will find Gautam Buddha's holy relics are kept on display in the shrine. In addition to Buddha statues, we will find wall superb painting work on walls of temple showing life-cycle of lord Buddha. It is located on east of Dhamekh Stupa.
Dharamarajika Stupa: Close to Dhamek stupa, it is another popular stupa site at Sarnath archaeological park. Here only remains of stupa is left to see. In 18th century, its bricks and other materials was used in construction by local Diwan and thus we are not able to see the actual stupa. Stupa was build during rule of Mauryan emperor Ashoka (304-232 BCE) to keep relics of lord Buddha. It is located close to Dhamekh stupa in same excavation site complex. At present it is maintained by Archaeological Survey of India.
Chaukhandi Stupa: It is located on the way to archaeological museum and park of Sarnath are situated. When we enters into Sarnath and moving towards Sarnath Archaeological Museum, just before, about 620 meters, we can see prominently visit Chaukhandi stupa on our right-handside. It is included among must see tourist attraction of Sarnath, located about 10 kms from Varanasi city. Chaukhandi Stupa is constructed in 5 A.D. in memory of the place where Lord Buddha met his first five disciples, after attaining enlightenment. These five disciples are: Kondanna, Bhaddiya, Vappa, Mahanama and Assaji. They left Buddha earlier when he is not enlightened. Earlier it is suppose to be built as terraced temple but later in 16th century, Raja's son Govardhan made him built in its present look. Top octagonal tower is part of Islamic architecture, added in 16th century (year 1588) to commemorate the visit of Mughal Emperor Humayun visit. At present Chaukhandi Stupa is maintained by Archaeological Survey of India.
Sarnath Archaeological Museum: It is the oldest museum of Archaeological Survey of India. Sarnath Archaeological Museum is open for visitors from 9:00 Hrs to 17:00 Hrs and CLOSED on every Friday. It is located amid of natural surrounding and showcases Buddhist cultural wealth. Collection is derived from recovery at Deer park in Sarnath. Findings kept in museum at Sarnath covers a period range of 1500 years from 3rd to 12th century A.D. Sarnath Archaeological Museum was built on years from 1904 to 1910 and few changes were introduced in later years. Museum was the result of initiatives taken by that time Director General of Archaeology in India, Sir John Marshall. Museum have 5 galleries and 02 verandah in North & South. Museum is located adjacent to excavation site to make it easy to preserve the findings.
Ashoka Pillar: Ashoka pillar is standing in west of main shrine. This famous pillar was erected by Muryan emperor Ashoka in 250 BC. At present this pillar is under a flat roof and surrounded by iron-railing to ensure its protection and reduce chance of any damage. It is believed to be standing at the point where Buddha gave first sermon to first five disciples. Pillar bears 3 inscriptions. Its original height is 15.25 meters and base diameter is 0.71 meters which reduces consistently towards top up to 0.56 meters. At the top of pillar, we can see lion capitals facing four directions. It is also the national emblem of India.
Chinese Temple: This temple is built by Yut-Le-Yun Sen in year 1939. It is built in graceful Chinese style. It contains a beautiful image of Lord Buddha, carved out from pure white marble block. It is located on east of Sarnath square.
Thai Temple: It is dedicated to lord Buddha and was inaugurated in 1993. Here we can see tall statue of Lord Buddha and have meditation center also. Thai temple is open for visitors from 06:00 Hrs to 17:00 Hrs. It is located in sprawling campus near modern reception centre of Tourist Department, on Rajpath road in Sarnath. Here we will see sandstone statue of Buddha in Abhay Mudra in its sanctum.
Japanese Temple: It is also know by the name of Nichigatsuzan Horinji Temple. It is again a beautiful Buddha temple, developed in year 1992 in Japanese architecture style. It was opened for general public in 21/Nov/1992. It lies in south-east of Archaeological park of Sarnath. It is open for visitors from 05:00 Hrs to 18:00Hrs in all the days of week. Here prominent Buddha idol is shown in meditation posture along with some other idols of Bodhisatvas. At the temple entrance, we will see huge Buddha idol in pose of Mahaparinirvana.
Bodhi Tree: It is located near Mulagandha Kuti Vihar. It is part of same Bodhi tree at Bodh Gaya where under which lord Buddha attained enlightenment. It is carried from Bodh Gaya and planted here in 12/Nov/1931 by Sri Devamitta Dhammapala, founder of the Maha Bodhi Society of India, to mark the opening of the Mulagandha Kuti Vihara.
Shreyansh Nath Jain Temple: It is a Jain Temple located close to Sarnath Archaeological park, outside the enclosed area. It is very close to Dhamekh Stupa and prominently visible structure. It was developed in year 1824 and is dedicated to 11th Jain Tirthanker Shreyanshnath Ji. His image, built of black stone is installed at sanctum of temple. It is established in Sarnath as Shreyansh Nath was born in a village called Singhpur, close to Sarnath so it is also called Singhpuri Tirth or Digamber Temple. It is opened for visitors from 5:30 hrs to 20:30 hrs in all the days of a week.

Sarang Nath Temple: It is a old God Shiva temple located in Sarnath. Its name is related to Sarang Muni (saint) who is brother of God Shiva's wife Parvati. As per deity, during short stay of Shiva & Parvati in Kashi, Sarang Muni visited this place to meet them. He liked this place so much that he decided to stay here at Sarnath. It is believed that Lord Shiva promised him that he will visit his place in Shravan month (Hindu calender month, July to August). This temple houses two Shiv-lingas at its sanctum and statue of Nandi bull.
Matri Buddha Temple: It is a Japanese Buddhist temple built in year 1993 by queen of Japan. This temple have two statues in which one is of lord Buddha and second one is of Matri Buddha. It was believed that Buddha would reborn and future and have name of Matri (Maitreya) Buddha Temple.
Kittoe's Monastery: It was a monastery whose name is derived from Major Kottoe who carried out excavation work in 1834-77. At present, its foundation part is left and main building was destroyed in fire.

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