Pilgrimage to Saranath
The Importance of Sarnath:
Sarnath is a city located 13 kilometres north-east of Varanasi near the confluence of the Ganges and the Varuna rivers in Uttar Pradesh, India. The deer park in Sarnath is where Gautama Buddha first taught the Dharma, and where the Buddhist Sangha came into existence through the enlightenment of Kondanna.
Sarnath also referred to as Isipatana, is mentioned by the Buddha as one of the four places of pilgrimage to which his devout followers should visit.
After breakfast we will visit Sarnath, where Lord Buddha first taught the Dharma, delivering his first sermon to his five disciples. The places you will see here would include The DhamekStupa, The DharmarajikaStupa, The ChaukhandiStupa, The Mulagandhakutivihara Temple, The Ashoka Pillar & The Lion Capital and The Sarnath Archeological Museum.
After visiting Sarnath we will have lunch, checkout from the Hotel and proceed from Varanasi to Bodh Gaya by Luxury Air Conditioned Mini Bus, the Distance between Varanasi to Bodh Gaya is approximately 255 kilometers and will take travel time of approximately 5 to 6 hours depending on traffic condition.
Upon Arrival in Bodh Gaya Tour will complete Hotel check-in, do some evening sightseeing and retire for the night.
Boat cruise: at the river Ganges to observe the way of life of pilgrims by the Ghats.
Places you will see At Sarnath:
DhamekStupa the seat of the holy 'Buddha':
It is an impressive 128 feet high and 93 feet in diamete. The DhamekStupa was constructed by the emperor Ashoka in the 3rd century B.C. But original Stupa was a smaller and it is inside. According to Archeological survey of India (ASI, Department of Indian Government) and Chinese Buddhist pilgrim Xuanzang, it is the original place where Lord Buddha delivered his first sermon to his five disciples. In present India, the Stupa is surrounded by ruins of monasteries, which was build by around 640 AD.
TheDharmarajika Stupa was build during rule of Mauryan emperor Ashoka (304-232 BCE) to keep relics of lord Buddha. It is located close to Dhamekhstupa in same excavation site complex.
This Stupacommemorates the spot where the Buddha met his first disciples, dating back to the fifth century or earlier, it is thought originally to have been built as a terraced temple during the Gupta period between the 4th and 6th centuries to mark the site where Lord Buddha and his first disciples met traveling from Bodh Gaya to Sarnath.
This is the site where Lord Buddha is said to have rested and meditated while in Sarnath. The modern MulagandhakutiVihara is a monastery built in the 1930s by the Sri Lankan Mahabodhi Society, with beautiful wall paintings. Behind it is the Deer Park (where deer are still to be seen).
The Ashoka Pillar:
Erected here, originally surmounted by the Lion Capital of Asoka, where Four lions are seated back to back (presently on display at the Sarnath Museum), was broken during Turk invasions but the base still stands at the original location.The Lion Capital is at the Sarnath Museum. This Lion Capital of Ashoka from Sarnath has been adopted as the National Emblem of India and the wheel “Ashoka Chakra” from its base was placed onto the centre of the flag of India. The lions probably originally supported a Dharma Chakra wheel with 24 spokes, such as is preserved in the 13th century Lion Capital replica erected at WatUmong near Chiang Mai, Thailand by Thai king Mangrai.
Sarnath Archeological Museum:
This houses the famous Ashokan lion capital, which miraculously survived its 45-foot drop to the ground (from the top of the Ashokan Pillar), and became the National Emblem of India and national symbol on the Indian flag. The museum also houses a famous and refined Buddha-image of the Buddha in Dharmachakra-posture.
There is also a Bodhi tree planted by Anagarika Dharmapala which was grown from a cutting of the Bodhi Tree at Bodh Gaya.