SARNATH Travel Guide, Tourist places, Sarnath Hotels, Sarnath Tourism
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, Uttar Pradesh

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On this page: History, Travel within city
Lord Buddha got enlightment here
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Fast Facts
State: Uttar Pradesh
District: Varanasi
Famous for/as: Pilgrim
Languages: Hindi, English
Best Season: Oct - Mar
Weather: Summer 30 to 43°C, Winter 3 to 25°C
Altitude: 80 m
Pincode: 22100x
STD code: 0542
Sarnath, formally Isipathana, is a famous city near to the important religious place Varanasi. Buddhism rules Sarnath because this is where Buddha preached his first Sermon and which thus making it one of the four holiest places to the Buddhist world. Sarnath got its name from Saranganatha (God of Deer). The original sangha of Budhhism was born in deer park, a site in Sarnath and it is in this place Gautama Buddha first preached the Dharma. It is a major buddhist pilgimage destination. This is a pleasant place to meditate, take a retreat and move around the well-maintained gardens and Sarnath's ruins. The main attractions are Asoka's pillar, the ruins of the Mulagandhakuti and the huge second century old Dharma Stupa, also known as Dhamekha Stupa, built by the Emperor Ashoka.

Buddhism flourished in Sarnath till the sixth century and then the Huns caused a trail of devastation and were followed by Mahmud of Ghazni and Qutub-ud-din Aibak who virtually razed Sarnath to the ground whatever was left by the Huns. The British archaeologists dug out the site, which heard the path to enlightenment from Buddha, stayed hidden amidst ruins, during 19th century. The place bears three fold values archeological, historical and religious. It is a worth place to visit and to see the cultural and religious heritage of India and Buddhism.

Sarnath is an important temple city of India. The town is relatively peaceful and green, and so also provides a welcome alternative to Varanasi as a place to stay for people visiting the ghats along the Ganges. There are many imposing temples to visit, which are constructed in modern times, for example Thai temples, the Burmese, Korean and Chinese temples, have all been built recently. Apart from these, there are three Tibetan temples and a Japanese temple. Sarnath is in general quiet and clean and has a definite Buddhist atmosphere. On the weekends there are big and very noisy crowds, mainly the tourists booking cheap tour packages and visiting this historicaland religious place.
To visit and experience Uttar Pradesh hassle-free, view uttar pradesh tour packages.


The Buddhist town of Sarnath boasts of a history that goes back to the ancient times. This is one of the most important pilgrim centers for Buddhists. Sarnath’s history began from the year 528 B.C., when Lord Buddha visited this city just 5 weeks after attaining salvation in Bodh Gaya.

According to the memoirs of Huien Tsang, the famed Deer park at Sarnath was built by the Jataka king of Banaras. It was then that the name ‘Migadaya’ was given to the present day Sarnath. The present day name of the city appears to have been derived from Saranganath (the lord of deer).

The invasion of Muhammad Ghazni in 1026 AD had a very bad impact on the archaeological monuments of the city. Various historical findings confirm Sarnath to be a major center of the Sammatiya school of Buddhism.

The history of Sarnath from 13th century onwards remained into stupor till the year 1798, when the resident of Benaras, Mr. Duncan discovered a green marble casket that was recovered during the expedition conducted by the workmen of Jagat Singh.

Since then, many archaeological excavation have been conducted at Sarnath, linking the history of the city to the Shunga Period (2nd to 1sy century BC), Kushans (1-2nd century AD), and the Gupta Period (from 4th- 6th century AD).

Travel within city

Sarnath is a very popular tourist destination in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh. The travel options available in the village of Sarnath are limited and some of them are buses, auto rickshaws and getting around on foot.


Buses run from the town of Varanasi and they pass through the center of Sarnath, and they also serve as a means of public transport in the village. Charges may range from around 5 Rs to 10 Rs in order to get around the place. Buses are the cheapest mode of travel available.

Auto Rickshaws

There are no auto rickshaws in the town itself and it is advisable to hire one from Varanasi and use it for local transport. Prices are varied and they need to be negotiated. There are no special night fares.

On Foot

Getting around the town on foot is also an option as the town is quiet small.
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