Sarnath - A Buddhist Pilgrimage Center
Distance : 10km northeast of
Sarnath is a much-frequented pilgrim centre not only for the
Buddhists but for the Jains and Hindus as well. The site has some
Buddhist stupas ( hemispheric Buddhist funerary mound) which, albeit
in ruins now, must once have been imposing monuments.
¤ Major Attractions
Built in the 5th-6th century a.d., the Dhamekh Stupais the tallest
of them. The fine quality of brickwork is more than evident in this
stupa which has a high cylindrical dome.
At a short distance from the Dhamekh Stupa, is the Dharmarajika
Stupa, yet another important architectural marvel here. Built by
Ashoka in the 3rd century b.c., it underwent several
alterations till the 12th century a.d.
Not far from the stupa is the highly polished Ashokas Column,
with the four lions that are a sculptural delight to behold. These
lions have been removed to the Archaeological Museum near Sarnath, and
adopted as the emblem of the Indian Union.
Mulagandhakuti Vihara Temple
Besides the stupas, Sarnath has some Buddhist temples. The most
important amongst these is the Mulagandhakuti Vihara Temple. Built in
1931, the temple has fine mural paintings depicting the Buddhas
life-story. The Chinese and the Tibetan temples are also very
The Deer Park at Sarnath is sacred to the Jains, as it is the
birthplace of the 11th Jain Tirthankar, Shyeyanshnath. 18km from
Sarnath, a Jain temple has been built at Chandrapuri that was the
birthplace of the 8th Jain Tirthankar, Chandraprabhu.