Sarnath is a very popular place of Varanasi where Lord Buddha preached his first sermon. Sarnath is also known as Rishipatana, Mrigdava, and Mrigdaya. Lord Buddha takes the decision after attaining Enlightenment at Bodhgaya, Bihar that he should lecture his dharma for the benefit of all human being. He came to Sarnath, Varanasi to know that his five former companions were then staying at Sarnath. Here he gave first lecture. Buddhist called it dharma chakra pravartan (Turning of the wheel of Law). Here Lord Buddha expounded the four Noble truths:
- First truth is that there is sorrow in the world.
- Second truth relates the cause and origin of sorrow.
- Third explain the termination of sorrow.
- Fourth explain the Eightfold Noble Path which leads to end of sorrow.
At the Sarnath Lord Buddha laid the establishment of his sangha. Yasa, whose belong to a rich family of Varanasi, together with his fifty four friends, was attracted with teaching of Lord Buddha. These fifty five group and first five monks Lord Buddha sent to various places to lecture his dharma.
Two hundreds years later after the nirvana of Lord Buddha, king Ashoka came. After the war of Kalinga, Ashoka suffering by deep guilt and he decided to abstain from war. After that king Ashoka follow the Buddhism and spend his life in spread the message of Lord Buddha. King Ashoka built various monuments at Sarnath, one of which is 30.4 m height stupa (Dharamjajika stupa). One of the important monuments is huge pillar surmounted by the four wonderful lions. Right now this pillar is placed in museum and taken by Government of India as symbol. Dhamekh stup is also built by king Ashoka.