The Sarnath museum is an asset to the holy destination Sarnath, where the Buddha delivered his first sermon in 528 BCE. The museum presents an excellent collection of the artifacts related to the Maurayan, Guptan and Kushana era. Besides, the earliest image of the Buddha, found at Sarnath and images of several Hindu Gods and Goddesses are other belongings of the museum.
But the crown of the complex lies in the Ashokan lion capital, which has the four symbols of back-to-back lions. At the bottom of the 2.31 meter high capital are representations of a lion, an elephant, horse and a bull. The lion symbolises bravery, the elephant - dream, seen by the Buddha's mother before His birth, and horse - the Buddha's abandonment of family life on a horse. Once used as a mark of the place of the Buddha's first sermon, the capital is now the proud state emblem of India.
The archaeological museum of Sarnath is open every day for the visitors from 10 a.m. to 4.30 a.m., but remains closed on the Fridays.
Sarnath is one of the major sacred places for the Buddists all around the world as the Lord Buddha, after attaining the divine light of enlightenment, preached His first sermon here in 528 BCE. 10 kilometers from the holy city of Varanasi, Sarnath is also important for the Buddhist world for its Buddhist learning centres.
Sarnath is a major celebrated Buddhist destination with its monasteries, stupas and temples.
Stupa : Dhamekha Stupa, which signifies 'the seat of the holy
Buddha', is the largest and holiest Buddhist structure in Sarnath as it
is the spot where the Buddha is believed to have preached His first
sermon. The size of the Stupa is 31.3 meter in height and 28.3 meter in
diameter, while its lower part has been beautifully carved with stones
and decorated with foliage, birds, flowers and other pictures.
- Choukhandi Stupa : The Choukhandi Stupa is believed to be the
spot where the Buddha met His first five disciples, including his
favourite one, Ananda.
- Ashoka Pillar : After becoming a Buddhist, the great Indian
emperor, Ashoka paid a visit to the holy place of Sarnath. His visit of
Sarnath has been commemorated by a stone pillar, better known as the
- Bodhi Tree : Bodhi tree is another sacred place for the
Buddhists as it originated from the sapling of the Sri Lankan Bodhi
tree, which is also a branch of the original Bodhi tree(Bodh Gaya) under
which the Buddha attained enlightenment in 528 BCE.
- Shreyanshnath Temple : A Jain temple, which dates back to the
19th century CE is a sacred destination for the Jains.
Apart from these holy sites, there are several missions from different Buddhist countries such as the Central Institute of Tibetan Studies, the Mahabodhi society, the Chinese temple, the Burmese temple, the Japanese temple and the Thai temple.
Accessibility -Sarnath, which is 10 kilometers away from Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh is easily accessible by air, road or rail route. The nearest airport from Sarnath is at Varanasi(Babatpur) from where one can hire a taxi or auto-rickshaw or can ride a bus to cover a short journey of 20 minutes to reach Sarnath. One can take a train to Varanasi which is linked to all major cities of India by rail networks. On the other hand, taking up roadways is another major way to reach Sarnath, as it is well connected to Varanasi(10 km) and Gorakhpur by National Highway number 29.
Best Time to VisitOctober to February.