Welcome to Sarnath

Today it’s one of the four key sites on the Buddhist circuit – along with Bodhgaya, Kushinagar and Lumbini in Nepal – and attracts followers from around the world, especially on Purnima (or, informally, Buddha's birthday), when Buddha's life, death and enlightenment are celebrated, usually in April or May.

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Sarnath activities

$1863.75 Cultural & Theme Tours

Private Tour: 5-Day Varanasi and Khajuraho from Delhi

Day 1: Delhi – VaranasiTransfer to the airport for your flight to Varanasi. On arrival, transfer to your hotel. In the afternoon enjoy a guided tour of Sarnath, one of the holiest Buddhist's sites. See the Dhamekha Stupa where the voice of Buddhism was first heard and many Buddhist dignitaries visit to pay homage to Buddha. Spend the rest of day exploring Sarnath at your leisure before returning to Varanasi. Overnight: VaranasiDay 2: Varanasi (B)Discover the holy city of Varanasi, an important pilgrimage destination for Hindus for thousands of years. Take an early morning boat cruise on the sacred Ganges River and witness the daily rituals. See the long string of ghats (steps) that line the river, where locals practice yoga and Hindus perform morning prayers before bathing in the river to wash away their sins. After breakfast, visit Bharat Mata temple, Banaras Hindu University, Vishwanath Temple, Hanuman Temple and Old City market. Overnight: VaranasiDay 3: Varanasi - Khajuraho (B) This morning, transfer to the airport for your flight to Khajuraho. On arrival you will be transferred to your hotel. Khajuraho is renowned for its erotic sculptures that adorn the many medieval Hindu and Jain temples. There are many interpretations of the risque carvings, and your guide will provide you with more insight into these architectural marvels. In the afternoon, visit the Chandela Temples. Overnight Khajuraho Day 4: Khajuraho – Delhi (B)For travel dates between May 1, 2013 and August 31, 2013:After breakfast, drive approximately 3 hours northwest to Jhansi. En-route, stop at Orccha, a medieval city that lies on the banks of the Betwa River. Here, your guide will lead you on an exploration of its forts, palaces and temples that still retained their ancient grandeur.At around 6pm, collect your packed dinner from your guide and board the train to Delhi. Arrive in Delhi at around 10:45 and be met by your driver, who will transfer you to your hotel. For travel dates before May 1, 2013 and after August 31, 2013:Explore Khajuraho at your leisure before transferring to the airport for your flight to Delhi. On arrival you'll be transferred to your hotel. The remainder of your day is free. Overnight Delhi Day 5: Delhi – Departure (B)Transfer to the Delhi airport where your tour concludes.

$68 Cruises, Sailing & Water Tours

Private Full-Day Varanasi Tour with Ganges River Boat Cruise

5:30am - Early Morning Sunrise Boat Ride on GangesAfter pickup from your hotel in Varanasi, proceed to your sunrise boat ride on the Ganges. See the early morning riverside rituals performed on the Ganges, which is a special experience. Observe people lost in prayer, washing themselves and doing their laundry. After the boat ride take a short walking tour of the back alleyways of the old city and have glimpse of Hindus holiest temple the Kashi Vishwanath. 8:30am - Break for Breakfast (at your own expense) 10:00am - Banaras Hindu University (BHU)Explore the biggest campus University in Asia, established in 1916, long regarded as a center of learning. On the campus is Bharat Kala Bhavan, a roomy museum with a wonderful collection of miniature paintings, as well as 12th-century palm-leaf manuscripts, sculptures and local historical displays. 10:30am - New Vishwanath TempleVisit the new Vishwanath Temple, also called the Birla Temple is also located inside the Banaras Hindu University. The temple is devoted to Lord Shiva and it is the exact copy of the original Vishwanath Temple. 11:30am - Mother India Temple (Bharat Mata Mandir)See the Bharat Mata Temple this the only temple dedicated to Mother India built in 1918. The temple has an unusual marble relief map of the Indian subcontinent inside. 12:30pm - Silk Weaving Art of VaranasiVaranasi is known throughout India for its production of very fine silk and Banarasi saris. Varanasi saris are adorned with intricate designs and embellishments making it popular during traditional functions and weddings. The city has flourished as the textile capital of the region and you will watch how this traditional silk work is produced.1:30pm - Lunch Break (at your own expense) Lunch at one of the best local restaurants in the area.2:30pm - Visit SarnathIn Sarnath visit Dhamekh Stupa and the monastery ruins. This where Lord Buddha gave his first sermon. Also, visit the Archaeological Museum, this fully modernized 100-year-old sandstone museum houses wonderfully displayed ancient treasures from the 3rd-century BC. Important: The Archaeological Museum in Sarnath is closed on Fridays. 5:00pm - Evening Aarti Ceremony at the Ganges RiverTake a boat to see the cremation ground then come back to Dashashwamedh Ghat to watch the nightly Ganga Aarti ceremony with fire  dancing performed right in front of you. 8pm - Return to Your Hotel

$325 Cultural & Theme Tours

3-Day Varanasi Exclusive Tour

Day 1: AartiBe picked-up at the airport or railway station and check in to hotel. In the evening, experience the Hindu ritual Aarti. Aartis also refer to the songs sung in praise of the deity, when offering of lamps is being offered. Hindus in India worship the river Ganges as goddess. Every evening in Varanasi, aarti is performed at the Dashashwamedh ghat. We can watch it from the Ghat or from the waterside in a boat. It is a beautiful, resonant, and majestic spectacle with a very precise choreography involving rituals performed by several priests with the sound of bells, drums, cymbals, and Sanskrit mantras.Day 2: Morning Boat RideStart your next day with a morning boat ride at the dawn. Boating in the Ganges at the sunrise in Varanasi is one of the main attractions. Observe Hindu’s way of life on the bank of the river Ganges. There are number of temples on the bank of the Ganges River in Varanasi. It is at the Ganga Ghats [Banaras Ghat] where you can see life and death together. There are numbers of Ghat alongside Ganges river in Varanasi where you can see Hindu cremation as well. Some of the prominent and popular Ghats at Varanasi are the Dasaswamedh Ghat, Manikarnika Ghat, Harischandra Ghat, Assi Ghat,Shivala Ghat, Man Mandir Ghat, Darbhanga Ghat, Ahilyabai Ghat and Kedar Ghat. After the boat ride take a small walk in to the oldest part of Varanasi, famous for its narrow street. Visit Kashi Vishwnath Temple area, also known as the Golden Temple. (The temple itself is open to Hindu only)After breakfast, drive to Sarnath, approximately 10km (6.2ml) from Varanasi City. Varanasi is where the Buddha chose to deliver his first sermon in a Deer Park. It makes Sarnath one of the most venerated Buddhist places. Besides Buddhism, Sarnath is also connected with Jainism. There are many Buddhist monuments and edifices at Sarnath.    The main attractions of Sarnath are Archaeological and Excavation Area (Sarnath, Deer park), Chaukhandi Stupa, Dhammek Stupa (Dhamekha Stupa), Dharmarajika Stupa, Mulagandhakuti Vihara, Ashoka Pillar (Ashokan Lion Pillar), Ashokan Lion-Capital (the national emblem of India) and the Archeological Museum.  Day 3: City TourAfter breakfast, drive to Banaras Hinu University, and visit the Indian art museum Bharat Kala Bhawan and New Kashi Vishwnath Temple. Other important points to see in city include the Durga Temple (monkey temple), Tulasi Manas Temple, Bharat Mata Temple (Mother India Temple).

$104 Tours & Sightseeing

Varanasi and Sarnath Full-Day Private Tour, Ganges Boat Cruise

ItineraryThis is a typical itinerary for this productPass By: Varanasi Cantt. Railway StationThe tour starts early in the morning, at 5am, where you will take a boat cruise on the river Ganges to observe the way of life of the pilgrims by the Ghats. You will rise before dawn and step gingerly onto a rickety boat as the boat coasts off. You will wait for the daily miracle to unfold as the sun rises over the horizon. The sounds of conchs and the temple bells ring in the pink fabric of the dawn. After breakfast, you will start the city tour of Varanasi around 9am where you visit the Bharat Mata Temple with a big relief map of India in marble. Then you will visit the Durga Temple, Tulsi Manas Mandir, the Banaras Hindu University which has an art gallery and the mosque of Moghul Emperor Aurangzeb. Afterward, you will head to Sarnath, an important pilgrimage center for Buddhists. This is where Buddha preached his first sermon after attaining enlightenment. Sarnath’s temples and archaeological museum are full of Buddhist art and treasures. Later in the evening, you will enjoy a rickshaw ride passing through the busy streets and bazaars of Varanasi that will take you to the holy river, the Ganges, where you will cruise to witness the Aarti ceremonies amidst hundreds of lighted candles and flower offerings. After your long day, you will be dropped off at your accommodation in Varanasi.

$36 Tours & Sightseeing

Varanasi Private Day Tour with Sarnath and Evening Ganga Aarti

Get picked up from your centrally located hotel in Varanasi at 10am. Meet your local guide and proceed on an extraordinary expedition around the city. Drive to Sarnath where Buddha delivered his first sermon after attaining enlightenment. It is believed that Buddha traveled to Sarnath to meet his five companions - Koudanna, Vappa, Bhaddiya, Mahanama and Asvajiya and with whom he shared his new found knowledge.Your guide will tell you about the significance of various places in the holy city of Sarnath as you proceed first to visit the Chaukhandi Stupa, built originally in the 4th century during the Gupta Dynasty. Visit the Dhamekha Stupa, located at a deer park, believed to have been constructed by King Ashoka in 249bce. Proceed to visit the significant ruins of Dharmarajika Stupa, the exact spot that contained the bones of Buddha before it was destroyed by Jagat Singh in 1794. Catch a glimpse of the great Ashoka pillar and explore Buddhism in a unique archeological museum built to commemorate the culture and religion. Listen as your guide narrates the legends and stories about Buddhism and proceed to Mulagandhakuti Vihara Temple. This exquisite temple was built by the Sri Lankan Mahabodhi Society and is one of the most famous Buddhist temples in the city. Catch a glimpse of the standing Buddha statue and drive back to Varanasi. As the evening arrives, the city will begin its preparations for the Ganga Aarti ceremony, a highly choreographed ritual preformed on the Daswamedha Ghat, celebrating the existence of River Ganges. Burning lamps, flowers and scented sticks fill the ambiance with peace. Experience this age-old tradition as your local guide tells you all about Hindu mythology. As the ceremony ends, you will be dropped back to your hotel.

$55 Tours & Sightseeing

Private Full-Day Tour of Varanasi including the Kashi Darshan

Early morning, our tourist guide will meet you in hotel/Resident and give brief about today's Kashi Darshan tour. Tour start with drive towards Holy river Ganga at about 6 AM in Morning in Summer and 7 AM in Winter. It depends if client wish for morning boat ride. In case evening boat ride, Guide will meet at 8 AM in summer and 9 AM in winter.Your tour will begin in the early morning with a boat ride at dawn. Boating in the Ganges at the sunrise in Varanasi is one of the main attractions of this tour. It will take around 1 hr.Observe the Hindu way of life on the bank of the River Ganges (Ganga). There are a number of temples on the bank of the Ganges River in Varanasi. It is at the Ganga Ghats (Banaras Ghat) where you see life and death together. There are numbers of Ghat alongside the Ganges River in Varanasi. Some of the most prominent and popular Ghats at Varanasi are the Dasaswamedh Ghat, Manikarnika Ghat, Harischandra Ghat, Assi Ghat,Shivala Ghat, Man Mandir Ghat, Darbhanga Ghat, Ahilyabai Ghat and Kedar Ghat.Later, you will experience a fabulous temple tour for about 3-4 hrs which covers the most religious Kashi Vishwanath temple, also known as the Golden Temple, as well as the Annapurna Temple, Manas Mandir, Sankat Mochan (Hanuman temple), Durga Temple( Monkey Temple), BHU and Bharat Mata Temple.  You will have lunch en-route.You will also visit Sarnath, the place where the Lord Buddha delivered his first sermon to his disciples in deer park. The attractions at Sarnath are the Buddha temples, the Dhamekha stupa, Chaukhandi stupa and the archaeological museum. Besides Buddhism, Sarnath is also connected with Jainism. There are many Buddhist monuments and edifices at Sarnath.It takes around 1 hr. Half hr in museum and half hr in deer park and various temples.If you do not take the boat ride in morning, you will take one in the evening( it will also be about 1 hr). You will later enjoy a mystical and spiritual experience as you watch  Ganga Aarti. Aartis also refer to the songs sung in praise of the deity, when offering of lamps is being offered. Hindus in India worship the river Ganges as a goddess. Every evening in Varanasi, the aarti is performed at the Dashashwamedh Ghat. You can get a glimpse of the spiritualism at the Ganga Ghats (the riverfront also from a boat). It takes around 1 hr. Tour will end at about 7 PM in Winter and 8 PM in Summer.Latter drop to Hotel/Resident from where we have picked you up.