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Sarnath Buddhist Temples

Sarnath Tourist Attractions

Sarnath is a popular Buddhist pilgrimage site, located at 10kms from Varanasi. It is the sacred place for Buddhist and Jain devotees. Lord Buddha delivered his first sermon to the world at Sarnath due to which it is counted among must visit tourist destination for Buddhist followers. Eleventh Jain Tirthankar Shreyanshnath was also born near Sarnath which makes it sacred place for Jain religious devotees also. 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 Buddhist temples and other tourist attractions of Sarnath.

Tourist Attractions
Dhamekh Stupa: It is the most prominent structure in Sarnath. It is a massive Buddhist stupa made during rule of Mauryan emperor Ashoka who adopted Buddhism in later years of his life. It is 128 feet in height and have 93 feet diameter. Here bones of Lord Buddha & his disciples were kept along with Buddhist relics. Here Dhamekh 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 park of Sarnath where all important stupas and historical monumental ruins are present. When we enters, Sarnath, we first encounter Chaukhandi Stupa on right-handside, before Archaeological museum. It is counted among core tourist attractions 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.
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.
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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