Sarnath, India - November 12, 2015. Entrance to Mulagandha Kuti Vihar, a monastery and temple built in 1931, part of the historic Sarnath Temple complex, where the Buddha delivered his first sermon after achieving enlightenment.

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Buddha came to Sarnath to preach his message of the middle way to nirvana after he achieved enlightenment at Bodhgaya, and gave his famous first sermon at the deer park here in Isipatana. In the 3rd century BC, Emperor Ashoka erected magnificent stupas and monasteries here, as well as an engraved pillar. When Chinese traveler Xuan Zang dropped by in AD 640, Sarnath boasted a 328ft-high stupa (100m) and 1500 monks living in large monasteries. However, soon after, Buddhism went into decline, and when Muslim invaders sacked the city in the late 12th century, Sarnath disappeared altogether. It was only ‘rediscovered’ by British archaeologists in 1835.

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