Sarnath Tourism: History, Places to visit, Attractions Nearby, How to Reach, best Time to Visit Sarnath (2021)
An Introduction to Sarnath
Sarnath is a city known for its religious culture and rich historical events in the scriptures of Buddhism. The city is full of monuments and tourist attractions associated with the life of Gautama Buddha, the founder of Buddhism. Since the city of Sarnath, located close to one of the most celebrated tourist attractions of North India – Varanasi, it witnesses a good influx of tourists during round the year.
Before getting on to some of the major tourist and religious attractions of Sarnath, let’s take a look at the history of Sarnath, it’s connectivity and contribution to Buddhism and what makes this place this much auspicious.
History of Sarnath
The glorious past and the timeline of the city of Sarnath or previously known as the city of Isipatana begins with the arrival of Lord Gautama Buddha, just days before he attained enlightenment. Lord Buddha left everything, even his acquaintances in Sarnath and travelled to Bodh Gaya. Nearly two months after attaining enlightenment, he journeyed back to Sarnath to meet them.
Sarnath witnessed another important event which formed its glorious history after the return of Lord Buddha. The five of his acquaintances were the first chosen ones by Lord Buddha to learn and spread the teachings of Dharma. Later more monks joined Lord Buddha who were also taught by him to take forward the teachings to enlighten this world. These set of first monks were numbered to sixty and were named as Arhats.
4 Amazing Places to Visit in Sarnath
1. Dhamek Stupa
Dhamek Stupa can be described as the heart of the Buddhist religion, culture, and history in the city of Sarnath. Just like its name suggests, this is one of the gigantic Stupas constructed in India which is also a major monument and place of attraction among the worshippers of Lord Buddha. The Dhamek Stupa is surrounded by a beautiful lush garden which also makes this a wonderful place to hang out. This Stupa, which is said to be constructed in the 5th century, underwent multiple renovations due to the attack of Sultans.
2. Buddha Fountain
Buddha fountain is undoubtedly a must-visit place of attraction in the city of Sarnath, which you shouldn’t miss at any cost. A Wat Thai temple in the middle, surrounded by some lush garden and greenery along with some beautiful fountains and waterworks. This is a wonderful option you can consider to spend some leisure time during your stay at Sarnath and take a lousy evening stroll to enjoy. The divinity of the place is simply something worth remembering for a lifetime.
3. Garden of Spiritual Wisdom
This newly developed place of attraction for both pilgrims and tourists is also one of the best places to visit in Sarnath. This is not just a garden, but it attracts the tourists for their sculpture works and beautiful statues that tell you about the history, culture and traditions of Buddhism. Apart from these carvings, the sight of the giant Chaukhandi Stupa is simply majestic, especially when standing in the garden, surrounded by these beautiful elements. Garden of Spiritual Wisdom also has a garden full of Ayurvedic herbs which adds to the beauty and eminence of this tourist attraction.
4. Mulagandha Kuti Vihar
Mulagandha Kuti Vihar is one of the most beautiful temples of the country which is dedicated to Lord Gautama Buddha. This temple is famous for its mural paintings which depict the story of Lord Buddha and preaches the teachings and morals of Buddhism. This temple also maintains a close connection to the Japanese traditions in following Buddhism. The temple also has a spectacular garden with a Bodhi tree. You can also find a big bronze bell and a wonderful statue of Lord Buddha when he is teaching his disciples about the Dharma for the first time in Sarnath.
How To Reach Sarnath?
By Road: Varanasi is one of the major cities of Uttar Pradesh, and Sarnath makes the best use of its proximity to the city of Varanasi. Varanasi is well connected via road to all major cities of Uttar Pradesh and hence reaching Sarnath by road is easy and convenient, taking the distance between Sarnath and Varanasi into consideration. You can also find a variety of modes of transportation like Public buses, availability of cab services to and from Sarnath via Varanasi.
By Rail: The central railway station of Sarnath is indeed well connected to all the major railway stations of most of the parts of North India. If you are travelling a long distance, it is advised to pick the Varanasi railway central as your destination as the railway junction has wider and broader connectivity to the other states of India. Also, you can easily avail the services of any local transport to reach Sarnath from Varanasi.
By Air: Since there are no airports in the city of Sarnath, the nearest airport located in Varanasi is the best option available. The airport of Varanasi is just 25 km away from Sarnath, and you will get a lot of cab or rickshaw services from Varanasi to reach Sarnath. Since a lot of public bus services are available for local transport, you can also make use of them to travel around the city.
Attractions to Visit Nearby Sarnath
If you are planning for a trip to Sarnath, the best places you get to visit near Sarnath are located in the temple city of Varanasi. Varanasi is very well known for a number of tourist and pilgrim attractions. Just like Sarnath is a city devoted to the teachings and presence of Lord Gautama Buddha, Varanasi is known for its temples, monuments and divinity dedicated to the religion, culture, mythology and traditions of Hinduism.
Most of the temples here are dedicated to the worship of Lord Shiva, one of the most worshipped Hindu deities. The city of Varanasi is also famous for its magnificent Ghats and the breathtaking sceneries from out there. The boat rides in these Ghats are also one of the most enjoyed activity. Some of the most preferred and most visited tourist attractions and places of interest for pilgrims include:
- Shri Kashi Vishwanath Temple
- Dashashwamedh Ghat
- Manikarnika Ghat
- Assi Ghat
- Ramnagar Fort
- Bharat Mata Temple
Best Time To Visit Sarnath
Sarnath is undoubtedly one of the major tourist attractions in North India, which is also an important place of interest for the pilgrims and followers of both Buddhism and Jainism. The stats show that millions of tourist visit Sarnath, which is glorified by its immense cultural heritage and religious eminence.
The winters are the best time to visit Sarnath as the other weather conditions may prove to be disadvantageous and not so appreciable. The summers can be terrible with the maximum heat crossing 45 degrees. The monsoon season is also preferred as the gardens, and the parks all over the city give a refreshing and completely different ambience.
During the winters, which lasts for nearly six months, the temperature drops down to an average of 10 degrees, and it will be a great time to visit the city where you can enjoy your stay to its fullest.
As you have seen, the city of Sarnath is a great location for a simple weekend getaway or a long vacation covering Sarnath and Varanasi. With a great number of temples, gardens and parks which are simply some wonderful places to hangout, Sarnath makes it into the list of some of the best places to visit for a peaceful vacation. Keep an eye on the must-visit places of attractions and pack your bags when it is safe to travel again.