Sarnath, Uttar Pradesh, India  

The deer park where the Buddha preached his first sermon is now called Sarnath. It lay forgotten ... until a British amateur archaeologist excavated the site in the nineteenth century. He found stupas and a pillar originally erected by emperor Ashoka in the third century BC. The biggest stupa, called Dhamekh, was on the site where the Buddha supposedly gave his first sermon, sitting with the Brahmins from Kapilavastu. Later archaeologists discovered the shrine where the Buddha apparently had sheltered from the rains; they also found monasteries, which seemed to have been destroyed by a great fire. A temple built by the Sri Lankan Buddhist Anagarika Dharmapala now stands in place of the shrine. The ruins of the monasteries lie amid vast green lawns. The grounds also include a deer park and a zoo. 

[- From An End to Suffering: The Buddha in the World by Pankaj Mishra, pp 201-2]

First sermon of the Buddha

Dhamekh stupa

Site of Buddha's first sermon

Dhamekh stupa carvings

Ashoka's pillar

Dharmarajika stupa

Ruins of monasteries (more)

Ruins with Dhamekh stupa (more)

Dharma Chakra-Jin Vihara

Dharma Chakra-Jin Vihara

Gold leaf offering

Mulgandha Kuti (1, 2)

Shelter from rain

Girls chasing tourist groups

Once a monastery (more)

Meditating monks

Sri Lankan monks

Thai monks

Praying monks

Photographing monk

Deer Park denizens

Unhappy looking monk

Refreshment stalls

ASI museum at Sarnath

Mulgandha Kuty Vihara

Commissioned by Dharmapala

Temple interior with murals

Buddha's statue

The Buddha leaving home

On the left is a panel with the sights that supposedly led the Buddha's to renounce his station in life and begin a life of seeking.

The distractions of Mara

The legend of Angulimala

Death of the Buddha

The Buddha intended to die in Shravasti but ended up dying of blood dysentry en route, while he was in Kushinagar.

Mourning the Buddha's death


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