Sarnath is a small village in Uttar Pradesh, situated about 13 km north-east of the holy city of Varanasi. Formerly known as Isipatana, it is famous as the site where Gautama Buddha first taught the Dharma, or where Buddha preached his first sermon. It is also the place where the original Sangha was formed. Hence, it is one of the four main Buddhist pilgrimage destinations.
Sarnath has been developed as a place of pilgrimage for Buddhists from India and abroad. A number of countries in which Buddhism is a major or dominant religion, like Thailand, Japan, Tibet, Sri Lanka and Myanmar, have established their temples and monasteries in Sarnath in architectural styles of their respective countries. The impressive Dhamek stupa is extremely popular among tourists.
BEST PLACES TO STAY IN SARNATH
The numerous temples and their ashrams offer very cheap but bare accommodation as does Jain Paying Guest House, which even includes breakfast and lunch in the tariff. There is a government-run establishment which is a little dingy but conveniently located.
There are very few mid-range hotels in town and they offer facilities like Ayurvedic massage, a restaurant serving fresh Indian food, a beautiful lawn and outdoor hot tub. Offering special rates for backpackers, these are mostly located at walking distances from the main temple. The hotels also arrange pick-ups from the railway station or airport.
BEST PLACES TO EAT IN SARNATH
There are some good restaurants around the Sarnath temple which offer good food at reasonable prices. However, they remain open for limited hours and are closed for holidays, weddings, etc.
BEST TIME TO VISIT SARNATH
The average minimum and maximum temperature of Sarnath is as given below. The best time to visit Sarnath is also specified.