Sarnath Archaeological Site in India.

Sarnath ruins in India. The Ashokan Monolithic Pillar at Sarnath, India.

Touring the Dharmarajika Stupa, Dharmekh Stupa, Ashokan Pillar at Sarnath - Uttar Pradesh, India.

Sarnath is an archaeological site located around 8 kilometres to the north-east of Varanasi City and even less distance from the Cantonments. It is open daily with an admission price of 100 rupees for non-Indians - children up to 15 years old can go in free - even non-Indian children!. The entry price includes entrance to the Museum - this is very interesting and contains many artifacts.
Sarnath is easily reachable by auto-rickshaw - probably the best thing to do is agree a price with the driver where he will take you there and wait around for you. Once finished touring round Sarnath you can then perhaps go to look at some of the many colourful temples located outside of the complex before returning to Varanasi - around 600 rupees seems to be the going rate for this.
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The Ashokan Pillar at Sarnath in India.

Constructed by Ashoka the Great and made of Chunar sandstone the Ashokan Pillar is now just fragments of what was once a monolithic pillar some 15.25 meters high. The pillar retains three inscriptions, the earliest is an edict of Ashoka in Maryan Brahma script, the next mentions the 40th year of the Kushana King Asvaghosha and the third is early Gupta Brahma script and talks of the teachers of the Sammitiya sect.
Sarnath is a very important pilgrimage destination for Buddhists - the Buddha went to Sarnath to preach the Dharmachakra (means the wheel of law) at what is now a Stupa. Apart from the Stupa (and the remains of another) the main features of the site are the ruins of several monasteries.

The Dharmarajika Stupa at Sarnath in India.

India - Sarnath - Dharmarajika Stupa area Dhamekh Stupa - Sarnath, India
This old Indian Stupa was built by Ashoka the Great (Ashoka Maurya was one of India's greatest Emperors and controlled most of the Indian subcontinent between 269 and 232 BCE) to enshrine the relics of Lord Buddha which were intended to be enshrined in several stupas in various locations. Dharmarajika Stupa was originally constructed with a diameter of 13.49 metres but was over time enlarged in six different phases by raising it's height. The whole structure was ultimately pulled down by Jagatsingh who was a Diwan of Raja Chetsingh (King of Banaras) during 1794 A.D. so that the building materials could be used. During demolition a relic casket made of green marble was found inside a stone box. The box is now located at the Indian Museum in Calcutta whereas the casket was just thrown into the Ganges.
various ruins at Sarnath in India. Drawings/etchings on the Dharmekh Stupa at Sarnath, India. Sarnath building. Site of Dharmarajika Stupa, Sarnath, India
The area is set in quite extensive gardens and there are also quite a few trees around to get a little bit of shade since it can get very hot wandering around. Because of the low admission price for Indians (they are only charged rs 5) you can unfortunately expect to be pestered a little by beggars often clutching tiny children to try and get money from you.

Several very colourful and beautiful temples to see just outside of the Sarnath Complex in India.

Having had a wander around inside the Sarnath site it is worth noting that scattered around the immediate area are several temples from a variety of religions and races including a very colourfull Burmese Temple and a Chinese Temple.
Sri Digambar Jain Temple, Sarnath, India. A large Buddha statue at Sarnath, India. Malagandhi Kuty Bihara -Sarnath, India. Malagandhi Kuty Bihara, Sarnath, India
The Bodhi Tree at Sarnath, India. View inside of the Chinese Temple - Sarnath, India. The Japanese Temple, Sarnath, India. Inside the Japanese Temple at Sarnath, India.
Japanese Temple drum Burmese Temple, Sarnath, India. View of the inside of the Burmese Temple at Sarnath Inside the Burmese Temple, Sarnath, India.
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