One of the most visited and most revered Buddhist structures in the world, Dhamek Stupa Sarnath lies at Sarnath in Uttar Pradesh state of India. One of the holiest sites for Buddhist pilgrimage in India, Sarnath is famous as the place where Lord Buddha had delivered his first sermon after attaining enlightenment at Bodhgaya. Dhamek Stupa Sarnath marks the spot where the Buddha preached his first message. Built by the great Mauryan king Ashoka in 249 B.C.E., Dhamek Stupa lies inside the Deer park in Sarnath.
Home to the most extensive ruins among sacred Buddhist destinations in the Indian subcontinent, Sarnath houses several stupas, excavated ruins of age old monasteries, temples, museums, gardens and various other interesting sites. Prominent among the Buddhist structures in Sarnath is the Dhamek Stupa Sarnath – one of the finest Monuments in Sarnath.
Dhamekh Stupa in Sarnath Uttar Pradesh is one of the most significant Buddhist monuments in India. Built in 249 B.C.E. by the great Mauryan king Ashoka, Dhamek stupa boasts of a distinct architectural pattern in itself. History mentions that Emperor Ashoka who took several measures to spread the Buddha’s message of love and compassion throughout his vast empire, had embarked on a tour to Sarnath around 234 B.C. and thereupon he erected the Dhamek Stupa Sarnath. It was around that time that he built the Dhamek Stupa Sarnath and several other monuments to commemorate his pilgrimage at Sarnath.
It is widely believed that Lord Buddha preached his first sermon to his five disciples at the Dhamek Stupa in Sarnath, and thus was set in motion the Wheel of Dharma. The stupa bears special significance for devout Buddhist as it marks the ‘seat of the holy Buddha’ as he proclaimed his faith.
The Dhamek Stupa Sarnath is a cylindrical tower, 43.6 m high and 28 m in diameter. Built of bricks and stone, it is the most massive structure in Sarnath. The lower portion of the stupa is covered with stones that are chiseled with exquisite floral carvings of the Gupta period. The borders of the stupa bear delicately carved figures of humans and birds.
The panels of Dhamek Stupa Sarnath also consist of a broad band of ‘Swastikas’ (fylfot). These Swastikas were carved in various geometrical patterns, with an intricately chiseled lotus wreath running over and below the carvings. The structure of the stupa was supposedly expanded and enlarged as many as 12 times in the course of history. Each successive patron of the Dhamek Stupa Sarnath had in turn added and beautified the original shrine.
The main area of Dhamek Stupa in Uttar Pradesh India has been enclosed, and it consists of a labyrinth of ruined monasteries and stupas.
Numerous dignitaries as well as devout Buddhist pilgrims from far and wide visit the Dhamek Stupa Sarnath for circumambulation of this sacred stupa.