In Search of Secret India….Saranath
Saranath,near Varanasi,is the place where Lord Budha gave His First Sermon after His enlightement at Budh gaya!
Buddhists wordwide look upon India as the land of Tranquility and a visit to this country means a pilgrimage to those places sacred to the memory of the Enlightened Ones.
Here in the Deer Park, he delivered his first sermon, or in religious language, set in motion the wheel of Law (maha- Dharmachakra Pravartan). On the day before his death Buddha included Sarnath along with Lumbini, Bodh Gaya and Kushinagar as the four places he thought to be sacred to his followers.
The Emperor Ashoka, who spread the Buddha’s message of love and compassion throughout his vast empire, visited Sarnath around 234BC,and erected a stupa here.
Several Buddhist structures were raised at Sarnath between the 3rd century BC and the 11th century AD, and today it presents the most expansive ruins amongst places on the Buddhist trail.
The ruins, the museum and temple are all within walking distance.
PLACES OF INTEREST
CHAUKHANDI STUPA Chaukhandi is the first monument one encounters as one enters Sanath. It is a lofty mound of brick –work whose square endifice is surrounded by a octagonal tower. Originally said to built by Emperor Ashoka.
DHAMEK STUPA The most remarkable structure at Sarnath, is the cylindrical Dhamek Stupa, 28 mts in diameter at the base and 43.6 mts in height, built partly of stone and partly of brick. The stone facing the lower part is adorned with delicate floral carvings of Gupta origin.
MULAGANDHA KUTI VIHAR This mordern temple has been erected by the Mahabodhi Society. It has excellent frescoes by Kosetsu Nosu japan’s foremost painter and is a rich repository of Buddhist literature. The ancient Mulagandha Kuti temple is among the brick ruins of Sarnath.
Sarnath yielded a rich collection of sculptures comprising numerous Buddha and Bodhisattva images. Considerde amongst the finest specimens of Buddhist art, these have been housed at the museum, adjiacent to the site. The magnificent Lion capital, India’s National Emblem at Sarnath museumis a must for Visitors, near the Saddharmachakra Vihar’s at excavated ruins.