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Sarnath Tourism And Travel Guide
17° C / 62.6° F
October to March
1 to 2 Days
Lal Bahadur Shastri International Airport (26.2 kms)
Sarnath Railway Station (2.1 kms)
Situated very close to Varanasi, Sarnath in Uttar Pradesh is a holy place for Buddhists and people interested in learning about Buddhism. This was the place where Lord Buddha first gave his teachings of the Four Noble Truths, making Sarnath one of the world’s most visited pilgrim site. The small town can be reached through Varanasi, as it is the closest and easily accessible through it. You can reach the airport or railway station at Varanasi and then go to Sarnath from there. Tourism in Sarnath is affected by the climate in the region; summers in Sarnath are hot and humid while winters are the best time to visit and the most pleasant time in the year.
There are several beautiful parks that are well maintained, excavated ruins that explain the history of the place, the famous Deer Park and a number of monasteries and temples with highly detailed architecture. Overall, there are quite a few things to see and do in Sarnath; here’s our travel guide to Sarnath that might help to plan your itinerary for the trip.
How to Reach
The closest airport to get to Sarnath is in Varanasi as the town does not have an airport of its own. The Lal Bahadur Shastri International Airport in Varanasi is the main airport that serves the passengers of Sarnath and it is distanced at 26.2 km from Sarnath.
Sarnath is linked well with other cities in Uttar Pradesh, but the best way to reach is by going through Varanasi. There are several national and interstate highways that will easily take you to your destination. Also, you can find frequent busses from Varanasi and a few from adjacent cities as well and these will take you comfortably to Sarnath.
Sarnath has its own railways station which is 2.1 km from the main part of town. However, not a lot of trains go back and forth from this railways station. Hence, the closest important station is in Varanasi, known as the Varanasi Junction Railway Station, from where on you can take another train to Sarnath.
The roads in Sarnath are quite narrow and are mostly not discoverable by autos or busses. Although you may find cycle auto rickshaws or busses, the backstreets of Sarnath cannot be entered by bigger vehicles and hence, you may have to walk to certain places that are inaccessible.
Weather and Best Time to Visit
Summers have the hottest months with temperatures ranging from 30°C to 45°C during the entire season. With hot winds or 'loo' blowing all throughout the summer, the climate becomes absolutely intolerable for people who are not used to the heat.
The rains bring down the scalding heat and bless the region with showers, making the climate pleasant and cold. Temperatures during this time range from 22°C to 30°C, with a decent amount of precipitation that makes the land much cooler.
Winters are a great time, in fact one of the best times to visit Sarnath. The temperatures during this time go low ranging from 5°C to 15°C. The climatic conditions are perfect to sightsee and engage in other activities.
Things to Do
Visit Mulagandha Kuti Vihar:
This temple is unique and has its own charm. The style of architecture both on the exterior and the interior has a different feel to it. Established by the Maha Bodhi Society, this temple is an example of architectural excellence.
Ruins of the Monastery:
The ruins of the monastery built by the great King Ashoka is something you must do in Sarnath. These ruins are interesting to see and give visitors more knowledge of the culture. In the same vicinity, you will find other ruins that have intriguing facts and findings.
Celebrate Buddha Purnima:
The Buddha Purnima is celebrated in respect to Lord Buddha and his life. Sarnath being an important Buddhist pilgrimage spot, celebrates the life of Buddha with a lot of enthusiasm and taking part in the festivities is something you can indulge in.
Visit Dhamek Stupa:
The largest monument in Sarnath is the Dhamek Stupa, this is something you cannot miss due to it being so huge. The structure has intricate designing done on the borders and is made of bricks and stones, an example of great architecture by King Ashoka.
Relax at the Deer Park:
The Deer Park is one of the most famous attractions of Sarnath and is one of the most relaxing ones too. If you have had a long few days of sightseeing, spend a day at the deer park to relax and be close to nature. You will get to see some beautiful flora and a lot of deer, in their natural habitat.
Since Sarnath is a small place, it does not have too many restaurants to eat from, but the few that exist sell some of the most delicious food in the region. The food there is predominantly north Indian in style along with some places selling Chinese and Tibetan dishes. The best known restaurant in town is Vaishali Restaurant, which is large and modern in décor; they sell Indian as well as Chinese food. Other restaurants in the vicinity include Green Hut, Friend’s Corner Tibetan Restaurant and a few others within close proximity. You can also find food junctions or stalls that sell street food that are absolutely delicious and a treat after being tired from sightseeing all day.
Since Sarnath is a hub for maintaining and spreading the religion of Buddhism, the place will have different kinds of things to sell that are religious and can be used as souvenirs for people back home. You can buy things like Astha-Dhatu busts of Lord Buddha and other Gods and Goddesses that are sold in various street stores in Sarnath. You can also buy saffron robes, the ones that are worm by the monks in Sarnath and other items like beads, Buddhist prayer wheel, rugs, rosary and many more items from kiosks that are set up on the streets of the town.