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Sarnath Travel Guide

10 kms north of Varanasi is Sarnath, one of the three holiest sites for Buddhists in India. It was here that after attaining enlightenment Buddha gave his first sermon in 528 BC. In 640 AD, the Chinese traveller Hiuen Tsang visited this pilgrimage site and recorded his impressions of Buddhist vihara (monasteries), a statue of the Buddha turning the wheel of law (Dharmachakra) and stupas of stone. With the resurgence of Hinduism and fading popularity of Buddhism, the site was ultimately abandoned around the 9th century AD and fell into ruins with the coming of Muslim invaders. Today, it has regained its importance in the Buddhist world and several institutions have their centres of learning at Sarnath and it is one of the most popular pilgrimage destinations among Buddhists.

Buddhism was founded as early as 520 BC. It is believed to be the fourth largest religion in the world with over 400 million followers.

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