Serene, green, enlightening Sarnath – famed Buddhist Destination

Readers you would recollect that my earlier post was on famous Buddhist Destination Sanchi Stupa in Madhya Pradesh, India where I had recollected my childhood memories of visit to Sanchi. Giving continuity to that, today I want to recollect my visit to Sarnath few years ago on a trip to Varanasi.

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While in Varanasi, I thought of visiting my cousin there and he insisted that we visit Sarnath which is around 10 Kms away from Varanasi. Reluctantly I and my mom agreed as I was already tired of visiting religious places of Varanasi. But it was to happen and it happened, but what a surprise it held for us. When we reached Sarnath, some excavacation was going on there which was very similar to the one I had read about in my History books.

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My cousin who was well versed with the place told me that it is a highly revered Buddhist pilgrimage centre. It is believed that after getting enlightenment at Bodh Gaya, Lord Buddha preached his first sermon, sanctified as Maha Dharm Chakra Parivartan, at Sarnath. They are digging the site to bring out more details about Gautam Buddha. It was the sprawling site with lush green facade and a stupa in the centre. “After his enlightenment in Bodhgaya, the Buddha went to Sarnath seeking his five former companions. He found them, taught them what he had learned, and they also became enlightened. This event is referred to as “the turning of the wheel of the Dharma” and also marks the founding of the Sangha, or the community of monks,” my cousin shared with us. I got more interested and came to know about it more through various books which I bought from Varanasi on Buddhism and Sarnath.

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The highlights of Sarnath are:

  • The great Dhamekh Stupa and several other structures stand testimony to the importance the place enjoyed at that time
  • The Chaukhandi Stupa is the place where, during his first visit to Sarnath, Lord Buddha met his first five disciples
  • The area is a treasure trove of archaeological findings such as Dharmrajika Stupa and Mulgandhkuti Vihar
  • The smooth glistening pillar established by Emperor Ashoka in 273-232 B.C. marks the foundation of the Buddhist Sangha, and the Lion Capital atop this pillar is now India’s National Emblem

Sarnath, located just 12 km from the Hindu holy city of Varanasi, is the site of the deer park where Gautama Buddha first taught the Dharma after his enlightenment. Sarnath is one of four holy Buddhist sites sanctioned by the Buddha himself for pilgrimage. The other three sites are: Lumbini (birth); Bodh Gaya (enlightenment); and Kushinagar (death).

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Sarnath has previously been known as Mrigadava, “deer park,” and Isipatana, meaning the place where holy men (Pali: isi) fell to earth. The latter name is based in the legend that when the Buddha was born, devas came down to announce it to 500 holy men. The holy men all rose into the air and disappeared and their relics fell to the ground.

The current name Sarnath, from Saranganath, means “Lord of the Deer” and relates to another old Buddhist story in which the Bodhisattva is a deer and offers his life to a king instead of the doe he is planning to kill. The king is so moved that he creates the park as a sanctuary for deer.

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What to See at Sarnath

All of the ancient buildings and structures at Sarnath were damaged or destroyed by the Turks. However, amongst the ruins the Dharmekh Stupa is impressive at 128 feet high, and 93 in diameter. This dates from around 200 BC and is the spot where the Buddha is said to have preached his first sermon.

Only the foundations remain of the Dharmarajika Stupa, but it is notable as a rare pre-Ashokan stupa.

The decaying ruins of the Mulagandhakuti Vihara mark the place where the Buddha spent his first rainy season in meditation. In the 7th century, a writer described it as 200 feet high and containing 100 niches containing a Buddha carving along each wall. A life-sized statue shows the Buddha turning the wheel of the law.

To the east is the modern Mulagandhakuti Vihara with its beautiful wall paintings; behind it is the Deer Park, which is maintained as an open animal park and still attracts deer.

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The Ashoka Pillar at Sarnath survived the Turkish invasion but was broken during excavations. The base still stands in its original spot and has some interesting carvings.

The splendid lion capital that topped the pillar, which thankfully survived its 45 foot drop to the ground is on display at the Sarnath Archeological Museum. The museum also houses some of the greatest treasures of Indian Buddhist art, including almost 300 images.

There is also a Bodhi tree planted by Anagarika Dharmapala which was grown from a cutting of the Bodhi tree at Bodh Gaya. It is located next to a Sri Lankan monastery.

Six national temples have been built by various Asian communities at Sarnath.

Six national temples have been built by various Asian communities at Sarnath since the site’s restoration, including a Tibetan temple and Sri Lankan temple.

Must visit Sarnath, when you plan to visit Sarnath.

Sanchi Ka Stupa – Fond Childhood Memory!


I visited Sanchi many many years ago as a child  with my uncle (Chote Chacha) without any understanding of where I was going. The only happiness was about missing school for those two days…

…but recently I saw a program on Travel XP on Sanchi ka Stupa and vivid memories of visit rolled before my eyes. I could not resist myself writing and exploring more about it. Now I realise what a place it was…

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So for the unitiated, the Buddhist vihara at Sanchi, famous for its Great Stupa is located at Sanchi Town in Raisen District of the state of Madhya Pradesh, India, it is 46 km north-east of Bhopal.

Sanchi, variously known as Kakanaya, Kakanava, Kakanadabota and Bota-Sriparvata in ancient times, has a singular distinction of having remarkable specimen of Buddhist art and architecture right from the early Mauryan period (c. third century BC to twelfth century AD). Sanchi is famous in the world for stupas, monolithic Asokan pillar, temples, monasteries and sculptural wealth.

It was Emperor Asoka who laid the foundations of a religious centre at Sanchi fascinated probably by the location of the hill or because of his Queen Devi, who was the daughter of a merchant of Vidisha. He erected the Great Stupa (Stupa 1) here after redistribution of mortal remains of Lord Buddha for erecting several stupas all over the country in order to spread Buddhism. This stupa was originally a low structure of brick, half the diameter of the present edifice hemispherical in shape with raised terraces at the base. It was enclosed by a wooden railing and a stone umbrella at the top. This Great Stupa served as a nucleus to the large Buddhist establishment during the later period.

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During Sunga times, several edifices were raised at Sanchi and its surrounding hills. The Asokan stupa was enlarged and faced with stones and decorated with balustrades, staircases and a harmika on the top.


In the first century BC the Andhra-Satavahanas, who had extended their sway over the eastern Malwa, caused the elaborately carved gateways to Stupa 1. The Great Stupa of Sanchi displays an austere grandeur and the exquisite carvings of the doorway depict in detail the significant episodes and miracles from Lord Buddha’s life and events depicted in the Buddhist Jataka stories.


From the second to fourth century AD Sanchi and Vidisha came under the Kushanas and Kshatrapas and subsequently passed on to the hands of the Guptas.


During the Gupta period some temples were also built and sculptures were added displaying the classical grace and simplicity of the era. Further, statues of Lord Buddha seated in the canopies facing the four entrances of the Great Stupa were also added. Sanchi also flourished during the 7th – 12th centuries A.D. when shrines and monasteries were continued to be added. Thus Sanchi displays harmonious co-existence of Hindu and Buddhist faiths.

Book Review: The Book of Intents – for bringing in Positive Change!

I received the books “The Book of Intents” – Intentions and Affirmations for positive change and “Love Your Life” with the Power of Intention from Author herself – Shilpi J Chawla. By the very look of the cover, I sensed that these must be real serious titles coming from a seasoned author. But as my habit goes, I turned towards back cover only to find young & charming Shilpi J Chawla with seriously impressive credentials.

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Review: The Book of Intents – Intentions and Affirmations

A cursory glance at the book, and it captured my attention immediately owing to it beautifully designed interior pages. It looked like poetry in prose and it turned out just that only.  I must say it is a masterpiece on ‘Positivity’ which would inspire every reader to be ‘Positive’ come what may. Going by the negative streak of mine…it came as a breeze of fresh air. While reading the book I was thinking if ever I have to write a book on these lines, it would be just reverse of this one. Ha ha…just kidding!


Author Shilpi has classified book into as many as 32 Intents and mentioned some real gems in them.  Once I took the book in my hand, I couldn’t leave without finishing it. So it was read in one go on one Sunday afternoon. Several places I had to read it again for better understanding of what has been written.

Reproduced below few pearls of wisdom which would inspire readers beyond measure:

  1. My focus and attention is on joy, play and happiness
  2. I am secure in my self-worth
  3. I trust myself to be the perfect being that God created
  4. I enjoy every moment wherever in the world I may be
  5. I trust my instinct and my intuition
  6. I accept all opportunities for me to blossom and bloom
  7. I feel excitement that is gushing and genuine
  8. It is my intent to enjoy the breeze that life is.

The book covers various Intents like: Love, Secure, Appreciate, Power, Victorious, Authentic, Accept, Free, Bless and many more. The book is like a breeze on positivity and negative people should definitely read it and read it again and again to inculcate positivity.  Excellent detailing has been done on all Intents as it has been written from the heart by Shilpi.

Why should you read this Book:  

  • Helps You Create Affirmations for Better Living
  • Get Rid Of Anxiety and Worry Manifest Your Desires
  • Engage In Positive Self Talk
  • Build Your Self – Esteem, Confidence and Belief
  • Unleash the Power of Your True Self

The book is a clear statement of what you choose to receive from the universe and an acknowledgement of its manifestation in your life. It is a declaration of your creative power. Once an intent is set into motion, it aligns with your higher self and what you experience is nothing short of magic. Intent is not a wish, because wishes don’t always come true. Even seemingly impossible tasks can be accomplished when backed by the power of intent. The purpose of this book is to make available to you, your own powerful ability the power of intention.

About the Author


Shilpi Chawla is an explorer of the unknown. She has been a seeker from childhood studying various practices right from Healing Art of Living Vipassana EFT Hypnosis Shamanism etc. Shilpi is a certified Angel Therapy practitioner. She is a certified Heal Your Life teacher for the philosophy of Louise Hay. She has conducted workshops on healing with the intention of making this a better world.

Published by: Embassy Books



New GoHawaii App Offers Travel, Safety Advice for Enjoying the Hawaiian Islands

Fun and vital travel information about the Hawaiian Islands is now a lot easier to find for visitors always on the go with the launch of the new GoHawaii mobile app.


Created by the Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA), tourism agency for the State of Hawaii, the GoHawaii app is a one-stop mobile reference guide for travelers wanting fast, accurate and trustworthy information while exploring all that Hawaii offers.

Randy Baldemor, HTA chief operating officer, noted the travel destination app is the first one produced by the State of Hawaii. “The GoHawaii app is a fun way to learn about Hawaii while having travel and safety information that people need to know about and have access to at all times.”

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The GoHawaii app offers valuable travel tips for each of the six major Hawaiian Islands: Kauai, Oahu, Maui, Molokai, Lanai and the Island of Hawaii. App users will discover useful information to help them enjoy Hawaii’s wide variety of sites, activities, special events and cultural festivals statewide. A listing of essential Hawaii websites and phone numbers is also provided to direct travelers to other reliable sources for information and assistance.

Helping visitors experience Hawaii safely is a significant aspect of the GoHawaii app, which contains important advice for ocean activities, hiking and weather conditions on each island. “Visitors are outdoors all the time in Hawaii. This app helps keep them safe while they enjoy the beauty of our Islands,” said Baldemor.

A special app feature is the “Locomoji” – Hawaii-inspired emojis that can be shared with family and friends. Locomojis include images of an ukulele, aloha shirt, erupting volcano, shave ice, and Spam musubi, among many others.

The GoHawaii app is free and may be downloaded in the Google Play Store and Apple iTunes Store. It is offered in English, German, Japanese, Korean, Simplified Chinese and Traditional Chinese. Searider Productions, a career development program in arts and communication at Waianae High School on Oahu, created a video about the new app. To see the video, click here.

Source: PR Newswire

Triveni’s Sentorini -2 drum rolls festive season!

Be a Senorita in Triveni’s Sentorini -2 this festive season…

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Surat based Triveni’s latest launch Sentorini-2 breezes in with unmatchable royalty and festive fervour providing new vitality and brightness to the collection. Thus declaring the onset of festival season and celebrations thereon. As the season of jubilations approach, the mood sets for festive shopping, fun and explorations.   Colorful rich sarees in charming prints, traditional outlay and latest surface works from the collection are ready to establish any woman as an ethnic diva.

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The bright palette of the collection comprises of Yellows, Oranges and Pinks in combination with Blues, Greens and Whites and to complete the look are printed base of Bandhni and Leheriya impressions. The occasional patch work of stone and embroidered laces add dazzle to the saree. Foil work, appliqué work, patch work on net fabric, gota and cut work on the borders of the saree provides it a regal look.

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Blouses are of rich brocades and viscose whereas Chunri print, net, Bhagalpuri printed fabric gives the collection a royal appeal. All these inputs enable providing saree a comfortable drape. Readymade laces and embroidered nets are a distinct feature of the blouses adding richness to the look.

You can complement the look with the Kundan jewellery. Heavy but minimalist jewellery shall hit the perfect ten! Well, guess what may just explode as a latest ethnic trend . . . try some Temple jewellery! Let the hair loose, spirits soar and mind refresh as we enter the festive season in the latter half of 2016.

You can order your Sentorini – 2 from But not before catching the look on my blog.