Celebrate India - Buddha Jayanti

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It’s better to travel well than to arrive.’ This is one of the countless teachings of Gautama Buddha and it practically defines my entire lifestyle. Everything you need to know about me lies in those eight words. I guess it’s true for all honest travel aficionados in the world. Buddha made the statement thousands of years ago because he was also an avid traveller like us. In fact, he was one step ahead as he did it all on foot.

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Celebrate India - Buddha Jayanti

  1. 1. Celebrate India - Buddha JayantiIt’s better to travel well than to arrive.’ This is one of the countless teachings of GautamaBuddha and it practically defines my entire lifestyle. Everything you need to know about me liesin those eight words. I guess it’s true for all honest travel aficionados in theworld. Buddha made the statement thousands of years ago because he was also an avidtraveller like us. In fact, he was one stepahead as he did it all on foot.By the way, I chose to begin this post withone of Buddha’s quotes because I am aboutto share my experience of the BuddhaJayanti (birth anniversary) celebrations.And history says that he attainedenlightenment and nirvana on the sameday as his birthday. Therefore, this day alsomarks the death anniversary ofBuddha. Ihad the opportunity of celebrating thisfestival in Sarnath, one of the four mainBuddhist pilgrimage sites in the world.Sarnath is believed to be the site of thedeer park where Buddha started teachingthe five ascetics who were his first disciples. And, believe me, even after thousands of years themagic still lingers in the very air of Sarnath. On my first visit, I found the village so peaceful thatI understood why anyone would want to choose this site for meditation and contemplation.Sarnath is a small village in the state of Uttar Pradesh, located at a distance of 13 km from theholy city of Varanasi. There isn’t much to see in the village but during the festival, there areprayer meets, sermons on the life of Gautama Buddha, religious discourses and a procession inwhich the relics are carried out for public display. The village also holds a large fair. The mostprominent Buddhist structure in the village is the Dhamekha Stupa. It was built byemperor Ashoka to mark the exact spot where Lord Buddha taught his first disciples. Otherstructures of note include the Chaukhandi Stupa, whereBuddha first met theascetics, Mulagandhakuti Vihara, Ashoka pillar (only the base remains) andthe Sarnath Archaeological Museum which houses some interesting artefacts including the LionCapital of Ashoka, the national emblem of India.
  2. 2. That’s all there is for a tourist. But if you are looking for a little peace and quiet, Sarnath offerssuitable accommodation. For a regular visit, you could just stay in Varanasi and visit Sarnath fora day. But beware; the magic might just rub off on you too. Personally, I think city folks like usbadly need the village air to calm our nerves and anxiety.So here’s Joy, taking your leave and hoping that you discover the magic of Sarnath very soon.Until next time,Ciao!

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