Sarnath is a small village in Uttar Pradesh, India. Other name of this place is Isipatana. This place is most famous among the followers of Lord Buddha. At this place, Gautam Buddha first taught the Dharma. Original Sangha was formed at this place. It is one of the 4 major Buddhist destinations. People from Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Tibet, Japan, Thailand comes to this place. Deer Park is the major attraction of this place. This was built by Jataka King of Benaras. Major festivals celebrates at this place are Buddha Poornima, Basant Panchami, Maha Shivarathri and Makara Sankranti.
What to see in Sarnath:
Ashoka Pillar: This is one of the major attractions of this place. Height of this pillar is 50meters. This pillar is carved out of stone. On the top of the pillar 4 lions are situated. All are standing back to back. Pillar also consists of a horse, an elephant, a lion and a bull. This are symbols for the 4 different phases of life of Lord Buddha.
Archaeological Museum: This is famous for best collection of artifacts which are excavated from Archaeologists at this site. It was built in 1910 with 5 galleries. Those galleries are Ashutosh Gallery, Trimurti, Shakyasimha, Triratna and Tathagata Galleries. In this museum one can see the images of Lord Krishna, Lord Buddha, lord Ganesha etc.
Chaukhandi Stupa: This was built by Gupta dynasty in 5th century. This was built to mark the visit of Buddha to this place and he visited his first disciple at this place.
Deer Park: It is believed that at this place Lord Buddha proclaimed Dharma. King of Baneras gifted this forest area to build a park. Buddha taught two discourses at this place. They are Anattalakhana Sutta and Dhammacakkapavathana Sutta.
Thai Temple: This was built in Thai architectural style and it is surrounded by extensive gardens. It is administered by Thai Buddhist monks.
Tibetan Temple: Tibetan architectural style can be seen on this temple. Statue of Shakyamuni is situated here.
Mulagandha Kuti Vihar: This is the modern temple which was built by Mahabodhi Society. This is well known for frescoes from Buddhist literature.
Dhammek Stupa: It was built during Maurya Dynasty. Height is 43.6m. Floral carvings can be seen at the lower part of this stupa.
What to see around Sarnath:
Varanasi: This is most sacred place to Jains and Hindus. Varanasi exists before 3000 years ago. This place is famous for its Ghats and temples. Varanasi Attractions are Jantar Mantar, Bharat Mata Temple, Kashi Vishwanath Temple, Manikarnika Ghat, Durga Temple, Ramnagar Fort, Alamgir Mosque. It is located 11kms away from Sarnath.
Ramnagar: It is located 15kms away from Sarnath. This place is famous for fort museum. It consists of royal collections like antique clocks, ivory works, royal armour, royal palanquins, vintage cars.
Chunars: It is located 43kms away from Sarnath. This was famous for Chunars fort. It was built by Maharaja Vikramaditya. Major attractions of this fort are huge well, sun dial and Sonwa Mandap.
Getting to Sarnath: Sarnath is well connected with road. From Allahabad, Agra, Mathura, Kanpur, Lucknow buses come to this place. Nearest railway station is located at Varanasi which is 11kms away from Sarnath. Varanasi is well connected with all the major cities of India. Nearest domestic airport is located at Varanasi which is located 30kms away from Sarnath.
Getting around Sarnath: To explore the village there is no means of transport. One has to explore on foot. Taxis can hire from Varanasi to visit the places of Sarnath. Buses and taxis are available to visit the surrounding places of Sarnath.
Best time to visit Sarnath: Best time to visit this place is between October to March.
Where to stay in Sarnath: only budget and midrange hotels are available at this place. Ashrams provide accommodations along with food facility.
Where to eat in Sarnath: Good restaurants are available around the Sarnath temple.