Visit Chaukhandi Stupa in Sarnath, Uttar Pradesh (2023)
About Chaukhandi Stupa
Lord Gautama Buddha was undoubtedly one of the biggest philosophers and visionaries of his time. There are many such tourist attractions and pilgrim destinations all over Uttar Pradesh, which is dedicated to Lord Gautama Buddha and Buddhism. Regardless of the religion, they are following, the messages of Lord Buddha are accepted and admired by the world, and it has approvers from all the religions. Since Buddha spent a good time of his life in India and Nepal, most of these pilgrim destinations are related to his life itself. We are now going to take a look at one of these wonderful tourist and pilgrim attractions, which is closely associated with Buddhism-Chaukhandi Stupa. Image Source
An Overview of Chaukhandi Stupa
Chaukhandi Stupa is one of the most famous stupas established, commemorating the messages of Lord Buddha to the world. The Chaukhandi Stupa is situated at Sarnath, one of the most popular tourist sites associated with Lord Gautama Buddha. It is believed that the Stupas act as a shrine, which beholds the remains of the idol, which are buried on the ground. The Chaukhandi Stupa, too, is believed to be established over a part of the remains of Lord Gautama Buddha. Sarnath is located nearby Varanasi too, which is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Uttar Pradesh, making it another popular attraction nearby for the tourists and pilgrims.
Last year, the Chaukhandi Stupa was also declared as a monument of national importance.
The Story Behind Chaukhandi Stupa
The Chaukhandi Stupa falls as one of the first stupas built as a part of Buddhism. It is believed to be established in the Gupta regime when they found the site where Lord Gautama Buddha met his first disciples during the 5th century. Lord Gautama Buddha, after achieving enlightenment, was on his way to Sarnath from Bodh Gaya, and that is how he met his first set of disciples. The Stupa looked quite different upon the time of establishment, and only after the visit of the Mughal ruler Humayun the Stupa was modified to its present structure by Govardhan Todar Mal during his regime.
The addition was the tower to the Chaukhandi Stupa, which was in an octagonal shape. There we can find the mention of the Mughal ruler Humayun and his visit to the Chaukhandi Stupa.
Even now, the tower in the octagonal shape, which is on the top of the Stupa, is visible from even a long distance. Unlike other Stupas, the Chaukhandi Stupa has a top layer made of normal brickworks.
How to Reach Chaukhandi Stupa
By Road: Even though Sarnath is located a bit away from the central cities of Uttar Pradesh, being a wonderful tourist site with a lot of Buddhist pilgrim destinations, the road network is one of the most preferred modes of transportation to travel to and around the city of Sarnath.
By Rail: The central railway station of Sarnath is very close to the Chaukhandi Stupa, which is just 1.6 km away. Moreover, if you are facing complexities with reaching the Sarnath Railway station, then you can go with the Cantt railway central of Varanasi, the next biggest city nearby.
By Air: The Lal Bahadur Shastri International airport is the one convenient option the tourists can go with as it has excellent connectivity to all parts of India. Although the airport is located at quite a distance from the Stupa, road connectivity is also equally good.
Uttar Pradesh tourism and the role played by Buddhism and its associated places of worship are undoubtedly large. If you are ever in Uttar Pradesh, do visit all these major centers of worship dedicated to Buddhism when you get a chance.