Timings : 8am - 6pm, Open Daily
Tickets : INR 20 (Indians), INR 100 (Non-Indians)
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Located near the confluences of Ganga and Varuna Rivers in Varanasi, Sarnath archaeological site is the first place where Buddha began to preach his sermons. The site is built around the main Dhamek Stupa and its verdant gardens. It is also home to the legendary lion capital memorial pillar built by King Ashoka, the current Indian national emblem. Both of these are now maintained by the ASI in Sarnath Museum across the road.
Over the centuries, various Buddhist kings have added small and large temples built with exceptionally well-preserved Chunar sandstone. Buddhist monks would worship the exquisite statue of seated Buddha, the first idol of him ever built. When villagers in the area started stealing bricks and stones from this seemingly endless source, British officials decided to protect the area in 1904. Today, the ruins are coveted by scholars, pilgrims and visitors worldwide.
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