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Dhamek Stupa, India: Believed Lord Buddha gave his first sermon here after attaining enlightenment

David Goran

Dhamek Stupa is a massive stupa located at Sarnath, 13 km away from Varanasi in the state of Uttar Pradesh, India. It is the most remarkable and massive structure at Sarnath and it is one of the most visited and most revered Buddhist structures in the world.

Sarnath is famous as the place where Lord Buddha had delivered his first sermon after attaining enlightenment at Bodhgaya.

Left - Stupa in 1891. Photo Credit. Right - History of Dhamekh Stupa on stone. Photo Credit

Left – Stupa in 1891. Photo Credit. Right – History of Dhamekh Stupa on stone. Photo Credit

 

 

It is the most massive structure in Sarnath. Photo Credit

It is the most massive structure in Sarnath, circa 1858. Photo Credit

 

 

The present name Dhamekh proves that it certainly has some connection with Buddha's Dharma. Photo Credit

The present name Dhamekh proves that it certainly has some connection with Buddha’s Dharma. Photo Credit

 

 

The lower part of the tower is built entirely of stone to a height of forty-three feet.

The lower part of the tower is built entirely of stone to a height of forty-three feet. Photo Credit

This stupa is a circular mound that is encircled by large stones. Built partly of stone and partly of brick, the Dhamekh Stupa is 28 meters in diameter at the base and 43.6 meters in height.

The borders of Dhamekh Stupa have delicately carved geometrical and floral designs depicting the figures of humans and birds.

The lower portion of the stupa is covered with stones that are chiseled with exquisite floral carvings of the Gupta period. Throughout history, this stupa has been enlarged six times, however, the upper part is incomplete.

The stupa was enlarged on six occasions but the upper part is still unfinished. Photo Credit

The stupa was enlarged on six occasions but the upper part is still unfinished. Photo Credit

 

 

The whole area to the east of the buddhist site. Photo Credit

The whole area to the east of the Buddhist site. Photo Credit

 

 

Built by the great Mauryan king Ashoka in 249 B.C.E. Photo Credit

Built by the great Mauryan king Ashoka in 249 B.C.E. Photo Credit

 

The Dhamek Stupa was built in 500 CE to replace an earlier structure commissioned by the great Mauryan king Ashoka in 249 BCE.

History mentions that Emperor Ashoka (273-232 B.C.) was a staunch follower of Buddhism and visited Sarnath, laying the foundation of the Buddhist Sangha here.

It is believed that Lord Buddha delivered his first sermon here. Photo Credit

It is believed that Lord Buddha delivered his first sermon here. Photo Credit

 

 

Dhamekh Stupa close-up. Photo Credit

Dhamekh Stupa close-up. Photo Credit

 

 

Mini stupas. Photo Credit

Mini stupas. Photo Credit

The Dhamek Stupa is said to mark the spot (Rishipattana, which can be translated as “where the Rishi arrived”) where the Buddha gave the first sermon to his five disciples after attaining enlightenment “revealing his Eightfold Path leading to nirvana”.

 

Decoration. Photo Credit

Decoration. Photo Credit

 

 

The lotus flower can be seen on all the sides except the south-west. Photo Credit

The lotus flower can be seen on all the sides except the southwest. Photo Credit

The stupa carries special significance for devout Buddhist as it marks the ‘seat of the holy Buddha’ as he proclaimed his faith.

Buddhist pilgrims belonging to different countries visit this place for circumambulation of this sacred Stupa and to offer worship to Buddha.