Buddhist Pilgrimage Site – Sarnath | Thai Temples, Ashoka Pillar etc

Sarnath, 10 Kms. from Varanasi is the fabled place, which bears testimony to its great past where Lord Buddha delivered his first sermon to his disciples, expounding the principles of Buddhism. The remains date back to as far as the 3rd Century BC when emperor Ashoka founded various institutions, Stupas, monasteries and pillar edicts.


Before you plan a trip, get all the details of Sarnath.


  • Currency – Indian Rupee
  • Location – Located in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh
  • Best Time to Visit – October to March

How to Reach


By Air


Sarnath has no airport. However, the nearest airport to Sarnath is Varanasi Airport (9 km away).


By Train


You can get regular trains from other major cities of the country to Sarnath.

Railway Station(s): Sarnath


By Road


Instead of Sarnath, you can get regular buses to Varanasi (9 kms away).

Buddhist Pilgrimage – Places to Visit in Sarnath


1. Ashoka Pillar


Ashoka Pillar at Sarnath is one of the most famous and the most visited tourist spot in India. The pillar is 50m in height. Moreover, it is the National Emblem of India. It marks the visit of Ashoka to Sarnath. Surprisingly, it is carved beautifully with four lions on top.


Ashoka Pillar depicts the life the Gautama Buddha. It symbolizes four different phases of his life including a bull, a lion, an elephant and a horse.

2. Dhamekh Stupa & Monastery


After attaining enlightenment, “revealing his Eightfold Path leading to nirvana”, Buddha gave the first sermon to his first five Brahmin disciples at Dhamek Stupa.

The stupa is a solid cylinder of bricks and stone reaching a height of 43.6 meters. In addition, it is known to bemost massive structures in Sarnath.


Entry Fees:  INR 15 (Indians) and INR 200 (Foreigner Visitors)


Opening Hours: 6 am to 6 pm


Nearby Places to Eat:

Holi Day Inn Family Restaurant, Sameeksha Restaurant, brown Curries, Friend’s Corner Tibetan Restaurant, Lazania Restaurant

3. Sarnath Museum/ Archaeological Museum


Sarnath Museum houses some of the finest illustrations of Buddha art and other significant remains.


Fact: to display all the things and illustrations ranging from 3rd century B.C. to 12th century A.D., the museum has built five galleries and two Verandahs.


Entry Fees: INR 5 (Indians), INR 100 (Foreigners)


Opening Hours: 6 am to 6 pm


Nearby Places to Eat:

Green Hut Restaurant, Brownie Restaurant, Friend’s Corner Tibetan Restaurant, Vaishali Restaurant, Mirchi café & Restaurant

4. Thai Temple & Monastery


With the unique red-walled design that the temple has, it is worth a look. But the real reasons to visit are the peaceful gardens and large standing Buddha that surround it.


Opening Hours:

6:30 am to 6 pm (Apr-Sep),

7:15 am to 5 pm (Oct-Mar)


Nearby Places to Eat:

Banaras Café and Restaurant, Sarnath Highway Inn Restaurant, Holi Day Inn Family Restaurant, Shaakya Restaurant, Raju Restaurant

5. Chaukhandi Stupa


Chaukhandi Stupa is the very first monument you’ll see when you enter Sarnath.


Fun Fact: the stupa was originally built as a terraced garden during Gupta period (4th to 6th centuries), but then later on, Govardhan – son of a local king, converted into its present form (erecting an octagonal Mughal tower).


Opening Hours: 6 am to 6 pm


Nearby Places to Eat:

Raju Restaurant, Shaakya Restaurant, Rangoli Garden Restaurant, Dilip Egg Corner, Om Sai Restaurant

Shopping Places



What to Expect? / Tips


  • You must visit Sarnath city in the winter months as the weather is very pleasant.
  • Do not show too much skin, as India is a very conservative country.
  • Be careful of the vendors on the streets as they might con you.

Where to stay?


There are great accommodation options throughout Sarnath.

Some of them are as follows-

  • Rahi Tourist Bungalow
  • Lotus International Inn
  • Buddha International Hotel
  • Sterling Membership
  • Sarnath Indian Homestay

“I am that person who dropped her B.Tech (really!) and chose to travel, specifically travel blogging. I’m Manmeet Kaur, a crazy, fun loving and adventurous person from Delhi. I knew I had an interest in writing since I was in school. I didn’t want to be an engineer, doctor or I would say a teacher. My plans were different. I wanted to travel which I guess no one,  specially girl had chosen to do in my family for a living. And like other human beings on this planet I have big dreams too. But my ultimate dream is to travel the world and share my experiences through writing and blogging.” 🙂

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