Situated around 10 km away from the ancient city of Varanasi, Sarnath is an important and a sacred place associated with Buddhist religion. Sarnath is the place where Gautam Buddha gave his first sermon after attaining enlightenment.
Here are some scenes from my trip to Sarnath back in 2012:
Apart from many Ashokan-era ruins of monasteries, Dhamek Stupa is one of the main attractions.
In its current form, the stupa is a solid cylinder of bricks and stone that stands 43.6 meters tall and has a diameter of 28 meters.
Sarnath has grown as a pilgrimage site for Buddhists from India and beyond the world.
A 24-meter-tall (80-foot) Buddha statue was built by combined Indo-Thai efforts over a 14-year period (1997-2011). It is supposed to have been influenced by the Bamiyan Buddhas.
The Buddha mentions Sarnath as one of the four pilgrimage sites that his devout followers should visit. The other three holy sites are Kushinagar, Bodh Gaya, and Lumbini.