Travel to Sarnath: Following Buddha near Varanasi

Traveling to Sarnath means giving yourself an influential archaeological travel. Sarnath is one of the four sacred pilgrimage sites of reference for Buddhists, where Buddha sang his first sermon.

They say, or say they said, that when Buddha was still unknown but he had already reached enlightenment he came to Sarnath and preached his message of the Middle Path as a way to reach nirvana. It was the first place in which the Oriental decided to communicate his message to anyone who would listen well. A place very close to Varanasi (Benares), just over a dozen kilometers to the northeast, considered one of the four sacred sites of Buddhism and on UNESCO’s list of attempts to become a World Heritage Site.

The recommended visit to this archaeological space is very simple, since just a small trip separates us from the well-known and unmissable Varanasi (Benares). Before telling the shocks that Sarnath has suffered throughout history, however, let’s get an idea of ​​what he receives the visitor who is approaching here. The most sacred place in the excavated area that Sarnath comprises is the Dhameka stupa. It is a circular structure of stone and brick more than forty meters high and around thirty wide where it is believed that Buddha gave that his first sermon. That is why it is important for a Buddhist to travel in search of this stupa, in Sarnath, to pray before Dhameka and show his respects to Buddha. Legend has it that this was a place where numerous deer grazed, and the engravings of the stupa base attest to the lush variety of species that should be found in this area.

Another striking construction nearby is the Chaukhandi stupa, a structure of stacked bricks on whose top stands an octagonal tower. The lower part is earlier, and its origins are not very clear, but it is known from the tower that it was built in the 16th century to celebrate the visit of the Mughal emperor Humayun.

But the remains of other buildings, temples and vestiges are numerous in Sarnath, this city rediscovered by British archaeologists in the mid-19th century. Until then he had fallen into oblivion as a result of the low hours of Buddhism and Muslim attacks. But before it had collected the majesty of such contingency that it was one of the areas in which one of the column of Ashoka was established, some columns that intended to commemorate the visit of this king in the third century BC That of Sarnath is the best preserved of the 19 that survive, and the four lions carved in stone that crown the column are so unique that, in fact, they were named the national emblem of the Indian nation.

So Sarnath and its archaeological vestige bring it all together: history, archeology, religion, legend, tradition, sacrifice, spirituality and calm. It is a perfect day trip having as a base camp Varanasi (Benares), where you will notice the smallest agglomeration of people who swarm through the sacred city of the Ganges. A perfect plan for pilgrimage in search of the teachings of the Buddha.

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