IRCTC Buddhist Temple takes you to Sarnath Buddha Temple and other destinations. It is the land where Buddha taught his first sermon and preached how to attain nirvana through the middle path. It has a lot of historical significance as Buddha’s first discourse known as Dhammacakka Pa. Other than this the four noble truths which concern about the meaning of life and the Noble Eightfold path which helps one understand the right way to live was also established by Buddha here while teaching.
Buddhism was supported both by kings and wealthy merchants in the region which helped it thrive. There were over 30 active monasteries and 3000 living monks in Sarnath at one point of time in the 7th Century. Below are the places to visit
Buddhist Temple Tour: Dhamekh Stupa
Dhamekh Stupa which comes across as two-tiered linga is 34 metres high and stands as a magnificent monument that devotees flock to. There is an all-encompassing positive vibe that surrounds it which is the result of hundreds of pilgrims paying their respects to this Buddha Stupa. It is partly made of stone and somewhat of brick. There are beautiful floral carvings at the bottom and in the middle of the stupa.
Buddhist Temple Tour: Mulagandha Kuti Vihara
Mulagandha Kuti Vihara is a Tibetan Buddhist Monastery which was built in 1930. It treasures sacred antique treasures along with shrines and a golden Buddha statue. It contains a lot of inscriptions, scriptures and popular shlokas from the Buddhist period. There are a few Chinese and Jain temples in the region. The stupa is adorned in Japanese art style frescoes and within the campus is a Bodhi tree which is said to be the direct descendant of the one under which Lord Buddha attained enlightenment.
Buddhist Temple Tour: Sarnath Museum
Sarnath Museum preserves and displays riches from the Buddhist Period of Buddhist Monastery,Buddhist Temple Stupa and Sarnath Buddha Temple. The museum is very simple and modest on the outside giving no hint of the treasures it stores within. It holds the original Ashoka Pillar with strands of lions mane and whiskers strutting out along with other ornate artifacts and impressive relics from the Gupta Dynasty.
Buddhist Temple Tour: Sacred Ruins
Digging has been going on since the 19th Century when a British officer discovered an image of Buddha and a stone chest. After that, it has been a highly excavated site unearthing marvellous stupas, shrines, monasteries that are looked after by Archaeological Survey India. The policy of the site is also visitor friendly with most sandstone and brick structures not condoned. There is an overall sense of calm as people quietly walk on the mud pathways. Most monks and visitors circle at the base of the Stupas with metal ornaments in their hands chanting in a clockwise direction. This signifies that they acknowledge Buddha as the centre of the Universe. Sticking incense sticks or golden leaves in between bricks or anywhere else on the site is strictly prohibited. One familiar chant on the Buddhist Temple Tour is ‘I seek refuge at the feet of the Buddha, I seek refuge in reality, and I seek refuge in the order of monks.’
Buddhist Temple Tour: Wat Thai
Wat Thai is a famous Buddhist Temple known for its large Buddha Stupa. Its design weaves the five elements of fire, earth, water, space and air in the 80 ft high statue. In the centre of the temple is a courtyard wrapped in a sparkling shawl of Gold Leaf. It is also renowned for its lush and manicured gardens. The Buddhist temple timing is from 8AM to 5:30PM in the morning. A ritual burning of offering takes place in front of a giant Buddha stupa head shimmering with golden leaves with a friendly face that is common in Buddha’s Monastery.