Sarnath is the site of the deer park where Gautama Buddha first taught the Dharma and also where the original Sangha was formed. Consequently, it is a major Buddhist pilgrimage destination. Within the deer park complex is a large stupa (Dhamekha Stupa) constructed by the Emperor Ashoka in 249 BCE and also several other Buddhist structures that were added between the 3rd century BCE and the 11th century CE.
The town is relatively peaceful and green, and so also provides a welcome alternative to Varanasi (13kms) as a place to stay for people visiting the ghats along the Ganges.
Varanasi Airport (IATA: VNS) is 24kms from Sarnath and is the nearest airport. There are domestic flights from Delhi and Mumbai (Jet Air), and international flights from Kathmandu (Cosmic Air) and Bangkok (Thai Airways).
Nearest major station is Varanasi Cantt. (6kms). This is connected to most major cities in the country. Sarnath has a small train station, but very few trains stop here.
Buses stop at the bus station near the railway staion cantt.
From Varanasi, Sarnath is easily reached by taxi or auto rickshaw, but is too far to use a cycle rickshaw.
"The Golden Buddha Hotel" "Sarangnath Colony" arranges pick up from Varanasi airport & train staions. +91-9935039368. Probably the best hotel in town. Offers such facilities as ayurvedic massage, a restaurant serving Mediterranean dishes, a peaceful lawn, and outdoor hot tub. Prices from Rs.400 -1200. Special rates for backbacking grps. Its walking distance from the main temple.
The safest bet is at the Golden Buddha or Highway Inn restaurant at Ashapur crossing. 1 km away.
In the vicinity of sacred sites: