Saturday, April 13, 2024


Sarnath Temple is an ancient city situated 10 km from Varanasi and is one of the four most revered Buddhist pilgrimage centers in India. It is believed that after attaining the Enlightenment at Bodh Gaya Lord Buddha came here and preached his first sermon to his disciples.

Sarnath derives from the Sanskrit Sāranganātha, which translates to “Lord of the Deer”​ it relates to the famous old Buddhist story in which the Bodhisattva is a deer and offers his life to a king instead of the doe he is planning to kill. This moves the king and he decides to make a sanctuary for deers.

Sarnath is the place where Lord Buddha after attaining enlightenment in Bodh Gaya came here in search of his pupils and passed on his knowledge to them. Buddha taught and preached Dharma for the first time here . This is the reason why this place is regarded as one of the holiest places on the earth.

While staying in Sarnath, Buddha delivered a number of important and significant discourses known as the Suttas in Pali Language.

Sarnath has multiple other names like Mrigadava and Isiaptana. The latter term is more important and has a story related to it. It is said that when lord Buddha was born, the gods came down to the earth to announce this holy event to 500 holy men.

These men rose up to the sky and disappeared. Then their relics fell down to the earth. Isi means holy men in the Pali language. This is the reason why this land is recognized as the place where holy men fell to earth. 

Buddha spent his first rainy season in Sarnath at the Mulagandhakuti Vihara. He spent the whole season in meditation inside this place.


One can see a Bodhi tree in Sarnath. This tree was grown from a cutting of the original Bodhi tree under which Buddha attained his enlightenment. Anagarika Dharmapala brought the cutting to Sarnath and planted it. It now represents the original Bodhi tree of Bodhgaya.

Quick Facts

  • District: Varanasi
  • State: Uttar Pradesh
  • Entry Fee: 0 INR for Temple, 20 INR for Stupa and 50 INR for Museum
  • Photography: Allowed everywhere except in Museum
  • Festivals: Buddh Purnima
  • Dress Code: Nil
  • COVID-19 Restrictions: Masks are compulsory and you cannot go inside the temple due to COVID restrictions.

Astonishing Facts about Sarnath Temple

  • The great Dhamekh Stupa and several other structures stand testimony to the importance the place enjoyed at that period.
  • The Chaukhandi Stupa is the place where Lord Buddha after attaining enlightment in Bodh Gaya made  his 1st visit to Sarnath where he met his 1st 5 disciples.
  • The area could be a hoarded wealth of archeologic findings like Dharmrajika Stupa and Mulgandhkuti Vihar.
  • The smooth shiny pillar established by Emperor Ashoka in 273-232 B.C. marks the muse of the Buddhist Sangha, and also the Lion Capital atop this pillar is currently India’s National Emblem.
  • Sarnath Temple is the resting place of Lord Buddha his mortal remains have been preserved here and every year on Buddh Purnima a notable person is called and his remains are taken out for public.


Must See Buddhist Temples and Monasteries in Sarnath :

  • Mahabodhi Society of India( Sri Lanka)
  • Tibetan Temple
  • Thai Temple
  • Japanese Temple
  • Indo Sri Lankan Temple
  • Myanmar Temple
  • Chinese temple
  • Cambodian Temple
  • Shakyata Buddhist Monastery
  • Dhamma Loving Monastery
  • Sarnath International Ninmaya
  • Vietnam Monastery
  • Nyangna Monastery
  • Bodhi Dhamm Monastery
  • Vajra Vidya Sansthan
  • Korean Temple
  • Vipashyana

How To Reach?

By Air

The nearest airport to Sarnath is Lal Bahadur Shastri International Airport located in Varanasi which is about 23 km from the temple. One can take a taxi from there.

By Rail

Sarnath has its own Railway Station with connectivity to all major Indian cities.

By Road

Sarnath is well well connected with roads. State owned Uttar Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation (UPSRTC) buses and some private travel services to ply from major cities .

Where To Stay?

There are a lot of options when it comes to accommodation at a budget price. So, it’s better to reach the place and then hire a hotel.

Note: We don’t make any guarantees if the above-stated facts are not correctIf you think any information provided by us is wrong then contact us.


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