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Sarnath || Buddha delivered his first sermon

About 13kms north-east of Varanasi, Sarnath is the site of the deer park where Gautama Buddha first gave his sermon after enlightenment 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 and also several other Buddhist structures that were added between the 3rd century BCE. The town is peaceful and green, as compared to Varanasi. Following sites can be seen at Sarnath. Dhamekh Stupa: Constructed by king Ashoka in 249 BCE to commemorate his pilgrimage to the Deer Park. It is believed that the stupa marks the exact spot where the Buddha taught his first five followers, the Four Noble Truths Chaukhandi Stupa: Constructed in the 5th century, the stupa marks the spot where the Buddha met the five ascetics. The octagonal tower is of Islamic origin and a later addition. Mulagandhakuti Vihara: The ruins of the temple where the Buddha spent his first rainy season. Ashoka Pillar: Only the base remains of this pillar. Sarnath Archeological Museum: this small museum has impressive collection of artifacts excavated from the site.