Dhamek Stupa - History, Timings & Entry Fee

Historical | Pilgrimage

Photo Credit: Flickr

Distance (From Sarnath Railway Station): 1.5 Kms

Trip Duration (Including Travel): 15 Mins or Less

Place Location: Within The Complex Of Archaeological Remains

Transportation Options: Walk/Trek

Travel Tips: The entry ticket provides combined entry to the Archaeological Ruins complex, Dhamek Stupa, and Archeological Museum.

At a distance of 1 km from Chaukandi Stupa, 1.5 km from Sarnath Railway Station, and 9 km from Varanasi Junction, Dhamek Stupa, also spelled Dhamekh and Dhamekha, is a massive stupa located at Sarnath in the state of Uttar Pradesh, India. Within the complex of Archaeological Remains of Sarnath, it is one of the popular Buddhist monuments in Sarnath and among the must-visit places as part of Varanasi Tour Packages.

Dhamek Stupa is one of the most important sights in Sarnath as it marks the exact spot where Lord Buddha preached the first sermon to His five disciples after attaining enlightenment in Bodh Gaya. In several of the ancient sources, the site of the first sermon is mentioned to have been at a ??Mriga-Dayaa-Vanam?? or a sanctuary for animals. After the parinirvana of Lord Buddha, his mortal remains were cremated and the ashes divided and buried under eight mounds with two further mounds encasing the urn and the embers. Little is known about these early stupas, particularly since it has not been possible to identify the original 10 monuments. However, some later stupas, such as at Sarnath and Sanchi, seem to be embellishments of earlier mounds.

The Dhamek Stupa was commissioned by the great Mauryan king Ashoka in 249 BCE, along with several other stupas, consisting of relics of Lord Buddha and His disciples across India in his pursuit to spread Buddhism. Later, it was reconstructed in 500 CE along with the construction of various other structures in Sarnath. The stupa was enlarged on six occasions but the upper part is still unfinished. While visiting Sarnath in 640 CE, Xuanzang, a Chinese Buddhist monk and traveler, recorded that the colony had over 1,500 priests and the main stupa was nearly 300 feet (91 m) high.

Stands at a height of 43.6 m with a diameter of 28 m, the Dhamek Stupa is the most massive structure in Sarnath. This solid cylindrical shaped stupa is made of red bricks and stone. The basement seems to have survived from Ashoka's structure while the stone facing is chiseled and displays delicate floral carvings of the Gupta origin. The wall is covered with exquisitely carved figures of humans and birds, as well as inscriptions in the Brahmi script. Buddhist pilgrims from around the world including many national and international dignitaries visit the Stupa to circumambulate it and offer prayer to Lord Buddha. An Ashoka pillar with an edict engraved on it stands near the site.

Timings: 6 AM - 5 PM

Entry: Rs. 25 for Indians & Rs. 100 for Foreigners