As a follower of Buddhism, you must be familiar with the Sarnath Buddha Temple and may have even visited it at some point in your life. Located roughly 10 kms away from Varanasi, Sarnath is an important buddhist pilgrim spot as it is believed that Gautama Buddha preached his first sermon at the deer park in Sarnath. This is why abuddhist circuit is incomplete without Sarnath. Want to know how you can undertake a pilgrimage tour in Sarnath? Well, you just have to get on The Buddhist Circuit Tourist Train by IRCTC. A special train, it covers not only Sarnath but also other places of significance such as Bodhgaya, Lumbini, Kushinagar and more. These are the places you can visit during your pilgrimage tour in Sarnath.
- Dhamek Stupa: After exploring places like Bodhgaya, Rajgir and Nalanda, you will arrive in Sarnath on the 4th day of your journey. Originally built in 249 BCE during the reign of king Ashoka, the Dhamek Stupa in Sarnath is quite famous as it marks the spot where Gautama Buddha preached his first sermon. Buddhist pilgrims from all over the world visit Sarnath to circumambulate this red brick and stone stupa and pay their respects to the founder of this noble religion. This is the place where Buddha set the ‘Wheel of Law’ in motion and founded the first ‘sangha’ of Buddhism.
- Sarnath Museum: The oldest site museum of the Archaeological Survey of India, it houses some of the finest specimens of Buddhist art. Constructed in the middle of beautiful natural surroundings, this museum exhibits a wealth of Buddhist culture that was recovered from the site of Buddha’s first sermon in the deer park in Sarnath. Be prepared to be floored by an exclusive collection of Buddhist scriptures, Bodhisattva images, artifacts, edifices and more. The single most famous exhibit in this museum is the Lion Capital of Ashoka.
- Ashokan Pillar: During his reign, the Mauryan emperor Ashoka, got a series of columns erected throughout the Indian subcontinent called the ‘Pillars of Ashoka’. All of these pillars were constricted at Buddhist monasteries or important sites related to the life of Buddha or pilgrimage spots. The most celebrated among these Ashokan pillars is the one in Sarnath that is preserved in a glass enclosure. Crafted as an impressive structure, it has four lions on top of the 50 m long pillar. The calm aura around this compound is perfect for meditation and contemplation.
- MulgandhaKutiVihar: Located near the main chowk of Sarnath, the MulgandhaKutiVihar monastery has a distinct architecture which makes it stand apart from all the other temples in Sarnath. Comparatively, a recent addition, it was constructed by the Maha Bodhi society in 1931. Its detailed design, the patterns of the interior, the beautiful murals and frescoes add a stunning visual appeal to this monument. It also has a famous huge bronze bell at the entrance that was gifted by the royal family of Japan. And you can’t miss the magnificent life-sized statue of Lord Buddha that decorates the sanctum. You can also pay your respects at the Bodhi tree, which is a sampling of the original Bodhi tree where the Buddha attained enlightenment. A buddha stupa Sarnath tour can be a very enriching experience, both spiritually and culturally. The Sarnath Buddha Temples, museums, monasteries and other places can be best explored on The Buddhist Circuit Tourist Train as it takes the travellers to all these places in utmost comfort. Want to book your journey today? Just visit www.irctcbuddhisttrain.com and you might even get an exciting deal!