Tourism & Travel

    Varanasi's Buddhist pilgrimage site Sarnath sees huge boost in domestic tourism

    The Hawk
    May23/ 2024
    Last Updated:

    Known as the birthplace of Buddhism, Sarnath has seen improved infrastructure and facilities, attracting more local tourists. Developments like better roads, online ticketing, and amenities have bolstered tourism, enhancing the experiences for visitors.

    Varanasi's Buddhist pilgrimage

    Sarnath (Uttar Pradesh): Domestic tourism at Varanasi's Buddhist pilgrimage site Sarnath has witnessed a significant boost in tourism due to development initiatives taken up under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Sarnath is one of the four important places associated with Lord Buddha and is called the birthplace of Buddhism.
    "Sarnath has developed a lot since Narendra Modi was elected Prime Minister in 2014. Earlier, mostly foreign tourists used to visit Sarnath but now, domestic tourism has also witnessed a boost thanks to initiatives taken under the leadership of PM Modi," said Vinod Singh, a tourist guide.
    "Tourists who come to see the Ganga Ghat, Kashi Vishwanath Corridor, should also visit Sarnath. Domestic tourism has been increasing since 2014. Infrastructure development has taken place. A lot of development works were done in the G20. If PM Modi gets another term, Sarnath will be known as an international tourism site in the coming years," the tourist guide added.
    "The roads, which had no boundary wall earlier, have been developed. Facilities like an online ticketing system, washrooms, and drinking water supply system have been developed. Both the Centre and state government organize several activities to promote tourism," he said.
    Naman, a tourist, said, "There are a lot of local tourists in Sarnath. Tourism has increased not only in Sarnath but also in Varanasi, because of good infrastructure facilities."
    "Nearly 15 lakh devotees visited Vishwanath temple in a single day, a day after Dev Deepawali, Chita Bhasma Holi or Masan Holi was celebrated in Varanasi," he claimed.
    "In the last 10 years, there has been a boom in tourism due to the development of infrastructure. I was born here and I used to come here. Now, roads have been developed. Earlier, heavy congestion was being witnessed due to the bad condition of roads and narrow lanes. I never imagined this Banaras," he pointed out.
    Santosh Kumar, a local vendor, said, "I have had a shop in Sarnath for the last 20 years. The number of tourists has increased as compared to before. PM Modi has done great work here. The vendors have been given facilities under the Swanidhi scheme."
    "Roads, water, and all other facilities are available here. Even in summer, tourists from different parts of the country come here. Our livelihood has also increased; earlier, we were forced to close our shops during summer. Earlier, we had to set up carts, but now there is no need to close shops as tourism has been increasing day by day," he claimed.
    Nestled in the northeastern part of Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh, Sarnath is a revered religious city, commanding respect from Buddhist followers worldwide. Sarnath contains a stupa (shrine) called the Dhamek Stupa, which marks the place where the Buddha gave his first sermon.
    This place is directly associated with the life and teachings of Lord Buddha. From this place, Lord Buddha started the journey of 'Dhamma' by giving his first sermon. The history of Sarnath is deeply linked to the rise and spread of Buddhism.
    Sarnath, located in the ancient city of Varanasi in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, is an unparalleled destination for those embarking on India tours seeking to delve into the rich tapestry of Buddhist history and spirituality.