Location: Sarnath, Uttar Pradesh
Best Time to Visit: Throughout the year
Timings: From Sunrise to Sunset
Dhamekh Stupa is situated in Sarnath, near the Varanasi city of India.
One of the most revered as well as most frequented Buddhist pilgrim
sites in India; the stupa is cylindrical in shape. Dhamekha Stupa was
built on the site where Lord Buddha preached his first sermon, after
attaining Enlightened in Bodh Gaya. The stupa is the most impressive as
well as the most famous structures in Sarnath and is quite similar in
its architecture to the stupas built during that period. The base of the
stupa is more than 28 m in diameter and it rises to a height of 31.3 m.
Dhamek Stupa stands on a pedestal and has an entrance, which measures
43.6 m on its feet. The stupa was initially founded during the Mauryan
period and has been partly constructed out of red bricks and stones.
Colonel Cunningham of Royal British Army carried out the first
excavation connected with the stupa, in the early 20th century. Since
that time, numerous digging expeditions have taken place in and around
the same site. The trunk of the Dhamekh Stupa stands adorned with
The patterns include geometric and floral designs, along with a broad
band of Swastika (fylfot). The Swastika has been carved in different
geometrical patterns, with a finely chiseled lotus wreath that runs over
and below it. It is said that, in the past, as many as 12 expansions
have been carried out at the Dhamekh Stupa. The main area of the Sarnath
stupa has been enclosed and comprises of a maze of half-ruined
monasteries and votive stupas, making it the most conspicuous structure
of the city.
When the initial excavations were carried out at the site, a stone
tablet was discovered. It was written on the tablet that the name of the
stupa is Dhamekha Stupa and it marks the place where Lord Buddha gave
his first sermon. Almost all the historians agree to the view that the
stupa is nothing but a distorted form of Dharma Chakra. Some of the
historians, who have taken recourse to Prakrit sources, allege that the
stupa marks the hutments of the five ascetics, who abandoned Gautam
Buddha in Bodh Gaya.