Dharmarajika Stupa

Founded to enshrine the remains of Lord Buddha, this ancient monument forms part of a Buddhist pilgrimage site home to monasteries, shrines and temples.

Visit the Dharmarajika Stupa to discover the ruins of an archaeological wonder and the place where Lord Buddha’s remains were enshrined. Mingle with Buddhist followers who come to worship the life and teachings of Buddha. Dharmarajika Stupa dates back to the 3rd century B.C., when it was built by the Mauryan dynasty emperor Ashoka. It is part of the sacred pilgrimage site of Sarnath, which has temples, shrines and an informative museum, all set amid beautiful gardens.

Now only the foundations of this imposing stupa are visible today. It still bears historical significance. Imagine the tall structure that stood proud in picturesque gardens and held the relics of Lord Buddha. Check out the stone pillars and walls surrounding the stupa. Watch as monks and pilgrims sit quietly on the surrounding lawns while meditating and gazing in awe at the ruins.

Follow the paths that lead from the stupa and pass pristine lawns to other ancient religious sites. Marvel at the 112-foot-tall (34-meter) Damekh Stupa, adorned with intricate 5th-century carvings. Set in the grounds of a ruined monastery, it’s the place where Buddha supposedly gave his first sermon. Don’t miss the Chaukhandi Stupa, where Buddha met his disciples. Go to the Mulaganda Kuti Vihara Monastery to hear monks chant Buddhist sermons.

Take time to explore the exhibits of the Sarnath Museum. Find exquisitely carved images of Brahmin and Hindu gods plus one of the oldest depictions of Buddha. Admire the Lion Capital of Ashoka, a sculpture of four lions standing back to back. An adaptation of the sculpture is today’s national emblem of India.

Located in the town of Sarnath, Dharmarajika Stupa and its accompanying attractions are about a 30-minute drive from Varanasi. Public buses travel between Sarnath and Varanasi. Alternatively, get here via tuk-tuk or taxi.

Sarnath’s attractions, including Dharmarajika Stupa, are open daily and many have admission fees. The museum is open from Saturday to Thursday and also has an admission fee. Signs in English provide information about the various sights. Remember to dress appropriately, be respectful of worshippers and walk around the stupas in a clockwise direction.

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