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Sarnath Things to Do: 63 reviews and 117 photos
Located 13km (8 miles) north-east of Varanasi, Sarnath is one of the four holy places associated with the life of Lord Buddha. It is the deer park where Gautama Buddha first taught the Dharam, (the Way of the Higher Truths). At this time Sarnath, from Saranganath, meaning "Lord of the Deer", was called Isipatana which means "the place where holy men fell to earth" and was later known as Mrigadava or "deer-park". Buddha came here about 5 weeks after attaining enlightenment at Bodhgaya. It was here that he gave his first sermon to five monks and his preaching soon spread to a larger community of monks which numbered 1500 when the Chinese traveller Xuan Zang visited in AD 640. The spot where he preached his first sermon is marked with the magnificent Dharmekh Stupa which has carvings that date back to the 5th century AD. The area around this has unearthed several monasteries and other stupas that fell into ruin when Buddhism went into decline. There is a 3rd century BC Ashoka Pillar here that commemorates Emperor Ashoka's visit to Sarnath and his conversion to Buddhism. The ruins and stupas lie within an enclosed compound that you have to pay to enter. More photo's can be found in one of my travelogues.
Open: Sunrise to sunset. Admission: Rs100 for foreigners.
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