The city of Varanasi is in the north Indian state of Uttar Pradesh. It is situated along the west bank of the Ganges. It is also famous by the name of Banaras as this name was given by the British. Especially for Hindus, Varanasi is an important centre of pilgrimage. It is an important city and you can find its importance in the great epics of Mahabharata and Ramayana. Sarnath is about 10 kms from Varanasi and when Buddha came to Sarnath, Varanasi was a flourishing trade center. They came to Sarnath in 500 BC to preach his first sermon.
It is said that Banaras is older than history. Right from the ancient times, Varanasi has preserved the traditions and rituals of Hindu philosophy. From the olden times, pilgrims from all distant lands came here in search of divine blessings.
Summers are very hot in Varanasi as the temperature goes up to 45 degree. Whereas winters are pleasant as the temperature of the day goes to maximum 20 degree. Sometimes the day can even remain enveloped in the fog. Monsoon season brings in the torrential rains and high humidity and it starts by late June or early July.
In this ancient city the major source of attractions are the famous temples. The other major sources of attractions are the Ghats built along the banks of the river. They were built for religious activity. The other places of attractions are Durga Temple, Vishwanat Temple, Alamgir Mosque, Bharat Mata Temple, Tulsi Manas Temple, Banaras Hindu University and the Archaeological Museum.
Sarnath is the holy city of Varanasi, which is about 10 km from Varanasi. This is the place which was chosen by Buddha to deliver his first sermon. Sarnath is the place which has the origin of the famous and celebrated mantra, ‘Buddham Sharanam Gachhami’. Apart from Buddhism, Sarnath is also connected with Jainism.
There are many large buildings and the Buddhist monuments in Sarnath. Some of the famous and important Buddhist monuments at Sarnath are the Dhamekha stupa, the Chaukhandi stupa and monasteries and temples of different schools of Buddhism from China, Japan, Thailand, Burma and others countries. The Indian Buddhist society which is known as Mahabodhi Society maintains a park around the temple of Buddha. Within the park premises, the Mahabodhi Temple has a tooth relic of the Buddha. The Ashoka pillar of Sarnath is very famous and it is the National emblem of India.