Located 10km north of Varanasi, the famous site of Sarnath is a Buddhist attraction not to be missed. It was at Sarnath where in Deer Park the Buddha delivered his first sermon after the attainment of enlightenment under the tree of wisdom at Bodh Gaya, the event known in the Buddhist tradition as the turning of the wheel of Sacred Law or “Dharmachakra Privartan”.
The Buddha journeyed to Sarnath to preach his first sermon to those five ascetics who were his disciples but had left him in disgust when they found that the Buddha became convinced that rigorous self mortification is not the way to obtain final bliss. These five ascetics were so impressed by Buddha’s sermon that they became his disciples once again and stopped practising austerities.
In contrast to the hustle and bustle of hectic Varanasi, Sarnath, previously known as Isipatana, is a serene place where one can wander around the grassy gardens and explore the Buddhist ruins.
Places of attractions
The most important highlight of a trip to Sarnath is the Dharmekh Stupa a major tourist attraction in India. Dating back to the 3rd century AD, the stupa, which is now in ruins, is impressive at 31.3 meter high, and 28.3 in diameter. It marks the spot where the Buddha is said to have delivered his first sermon.
Erected by Emperor Ashoka in the 3rd century BC, the Ashoka Pillar at Sarnath is an important attraction in Sarnath. The splendid lion capital which was once placed on top of the pillar can be seen in the Sarnath Archeological Museum which also possesses some of the most beautiful images of the Buddha. The capital has been adopted by India as its national emblem.
How to reach Sarnath
Sarnath is well connected by rail, road and airways. Hence getting there is not an issue at all.
Road: Sarnath is located at a distance of 10 kms from Varanasi, one of the most famous travel destinations in India. Sarnath is easily accessible by road and you could get here either by the State Transport buses, private taxis and buses
Rail: Varanasi is a major railway station closest to Sarnath. A bus or taxi from the Varanasi Railway Station, connected with all the major railway stations in India, would get you easily to Sarnath.
Air: The closest airport at Varanasi is located a distance of 29 kms from Sarnath.
Best Time to visit Sarnath
In Sarnath temperatures in winters and summers are extreme. In summers temperature of Sarnath ranges between 30°C and 45°C.The best time to visit Sarnath is from October – March.