Around 15 km from the city of Varanasi lies the serene city of Sarnath. Home to Hindu, Jain and Buddhist temples, Sarnath is one of the most famous pilgrimage destinations in India. It is known primarily to be the place where Buddha first taught Dharma. Next to Sarnath is Singhpur where the eleventh Tirthankara of Jainism, Shreyansnath was born. One of the oldest cities in India, it is one of the must-visit pilgrimage destinations for Buddhism and Jainism.
While the Mahabodhi temple in Gaya is considered to be the epicentre of Buddhism, it's Sarnath where Buddha first preached his idea of Dharma amongst his pupils. The Chaukhandi Stupa is believed to be the place where Buddha first met his 5 pupils. Dhamekh Stupa is the place where Buddha first discussed the preachings of Dharma.
Buddhism is one of the most followed religions in the world and its origin can be traced back to India. Being born in the foothills of Himalayas in Nepal, Lord Buddha travelled all over the country in his quest for knowledge and truth. From Bodhgaya in Bihar to Stupas in Madhya Pradesh, there are many religious pilgrimage destinations that have played a pivotal role in Buddha's journey to Nirvana.
Sarnath is one such destination, where Lord Buddha preached his idea of Dharma and he also said that Sarnath is one of the four holy sites for Buddhism that every devout now visits. Sarnath got its name from the word Mirgaeva, which was the former name of the region. Mrigadva means "deer park" and the word Isipatana means the place where holy men fell to Earth. The word Sarnath is derived from Saranganath which means lord of deer.
One of the most important pilgrimage destinations, Sarnath turns into a devotees’ haven every year during Buddha Purnima. Close to Dhamekh Stupa is the Dharmarajika Stupa, which is believed to be the place where bones of Lord Buddha remains. All these stupas were constructed by King Ashoka which were damaged by subsequent rulers. However, these religious shrines have withstood the test to time and today they are a major religious destination in Uttar Pradesh.
Next to Sarnath lies the town of Singhpur which hold a special place in Jainism. The 11th Tirthankara of Jainism, Shreyansnath was born in Singhpur. Apart from Buddhist temples, the city of Sarnath is also home to many Jain temples. Temples like Shri Digamber temple are the major Jain pilgrimage destination.
Although, a religious destination, the temples devoted to Lord Buddha are no less than an architectural marvel. From tall standing statues to the tranquilising temple complex, every structure is intricately designed to reflect the preachings of Buddha. Visit Sarnath to delve into the spirituality and preaching of Lord Buddha as you acquainted to the principles of Dharma.
A famous religious destination in Uttar Pradesh, Sarnath is famous for its pilgrimage spots for three major religions - Hindu, Jain and Buddhism. Religious sightseeing tour is one of the top things to do in the city. The two stupas and Golden temple are the most popular places to see in Sarnath.