The Chaukhandi Stupa is believed to have originally built as a terraced temple during the Gupta period between 4th - 6th Century to mark the site where Lord Buddha and his first disciples met traveling from Bodh Gaya to Sarnath. Later Govardhan, the son of a Raja, modified the stupa to its present shape by building the octagonal tower.
Buddhists wordwide look upon India as the land of the Buddha and a visit to this country means a pilgrimage to those places sacred to the memory of the Enlightened One. Sarnath alongwith Lumbini, Bodh Gaya and Kushinagar is amongst the four cities declared sacred by Buddha to his followers. While we were appreciating the peaceful environment here, we found ourselves at the doors of celebrated "Sarnath Temple"
It was the time for praying and thanking the GODs for their benevolence on me and also seeking thier blessings for continuing my travels.
The walls of this temple are decotated by life paintings of Lord Buddha.
Lord Buddha is reforming a notorious savage:
This place where Lord Buddha delivered his first sermon was and still is a Deer Park. In the language of religions, Lord Buddha set in motion the wheel of Law (maha- Dharmachakra Pravartan).
Lets share the session of Lord Buddha teachings underneath the same tree, which has been actually the witness of that great session.
|Actual place where Lord Buddha gave his first teachings|
One of the greatest emperors of ancient India, King Ashoka, who dedicated his life in spreading the Buddha’s message of love and compassion throughout his vast empire, visited Sarnath around 234 BC 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.
Originally said to built by Emperor Ashoka. DHAMEK STUPA (Dharmarajika Stupa) is the most remarkable structure at Sarnath. The Stupa is a huge cylindrical structure, 28 m. in diameter at the base and 43.6 m. 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.
Adjacent to the Dhamekh Stupa is a beutiful temple dedicated to Lord Mahavira. The top of the main chamber where statue of Lord Mahavira rests is inscripted by a basic reality of life:
Most of the times we keep on living as if we are immortal and will stay on this earth for ever and on the day of our end we realise that we have never lived. However the truth is that we are just a visitor for a small time in this world. Walls of the temples too are decorated with paintings of various Tirthankars of the "Jainism" religion.
Sarnath is also sacred to the Jainism as Sarnath is looked as the site of asceticism and death of Sreyansantha the 11th Trithankara. Opposite to this temple their is park dedicated to Lord Mahavira:
Not to forget an exquisite museum dedicated to Lord Buddha, is the oldest site museum by Archaelogical survey of India displays grand panorama of Buddhist cultural wealth and the antiques ranging from 3rd Century B.C. - 12th Century A.D. found at Sarnath.
Since photography is "strictly" prohibited inside the temple premises, so I had to content with only a picture of the museum building from outside.
Some of the notable antiques/ statues are: Abacus, Giant Umbrella, Terracota figurines and Lord Shiva killing demon Andhak; all the antiques are dated around 1st century AD.
The Modern name Sarnath seems to be a contraction of Saraganatha (Lord of deer). Sarnath is an exceedingly tranquil place giving the universal message of peace and harmony to the entire World. With a peaceful mind and a contented soul it was the time to return to Varansi, however while humming within ourselves:
I go to the Buddha for refuge
I go to the Dhamma for refuge
Sangham saranam gacchami (संघम शरणम् गच्छामि)
Lets pledge to keep this earth a beautiful place with peaceful co-existence of every soul and form of life, because a life lived for others is truly a life lived.