MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA JULY 04 , 2012 01.05 A.M.
On the morning of June 17 , 2012 , I started for my native place Deoria from Varanasi . I decide to visit Sarnath , which is world-famous centre of Buddhist religion and is just 13 km. away from Varanasi on Varanasi – Gorakhpur national highway . This was my second visit of Sarnath . I had earlier visited this place almost 30 years back .
It is here in the Mrigadava [ deer park ] , Gautam Buddha gave his first sermon after attaining enlightenment in Bodh Gaya . According to Buddhist folklore , Lumbini , Bodh Gaya , Sarnath and Kushinagar are the four most important places connected with the life of Gautam Buddha . Lumbini [ Place of his Birth ] , Bodh Gaya [ Place of his Enlightenment ] , Sarnath [ Place of his First Sermon or Dhammachakkappavattan ] and Kushinagar [ Place of his Nirvana ] are pilgrimage centre and visited by devout Buddhists .
Out of these 4 holy cities of Buddhist religion , I have visited 2 cities . Kushinagar was a tehsil headquarter in Deoria district and now it is a separate district . It is 34 km. away from Deoria . I have visited it many times . And this time it was my second visit to Sarnath .
Buddha gave his first sermon or Dhammachakkappavattan in Sarnath . He also spent his first rainy season at Mulagandha Kuti .
Two pillars at the two sides of the road indicate the starting of the boundary of Sarnath .
Mulagandhakuti Vihara is a modern monastery built in 1930 by king of Sri Lanka Anagarika Dharamapala . It has a golden statue of Gautam Buddha and beautiful murals on the inner walls .
Dhamek Stupa is another important shrine . It is 128 feet high and 93 feet in diameter .
Very close to Dhamek Stupa , in Singhpur village , there is birthplace of Shreyansnatha , the 11th Tirthankara of Jainism . A temple is built on that holy place .
The latest in the list of temple is a Thai temple . It has a gigantic statue of Gautam Buddha .
Sarnath is a small town . I completed my visit within few hours and after visiting local museum proceeded for Markandeya Mahadev temple in Aundihar . I have written about that temple in my travel diary of Varanasi .
Like Varanasi , Sarnath is also not a remote place . I intend to visit it again in winters . But again the same feeling ; who knows ?
पार्श्व गिरि का नम्र चीड़ों में , डगर चढ़ती उमंगों सी ;
MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA
- Buddhist Places of Interest in India (relijournal.com)
- Learning from Buddha at Sarnath (rveblade.xanga.com)
- The Jewel in the Lotus (richardgilliveronbuddhism.wordpress.com)
- In the land of the Buddha (thehindu.com)
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