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Chaukhandi Stupa is a popular Buddhist stupa in the city of Sarnath, Varanasi. Stupas are not burial mounds anymore but are now shrines for the historic relics of Buddha. This site has been considered to be a monument of national significance by the Archaeological Survey of India, since June 2019. The Chaukhandi Stupa was believed to have been first constructed as a temple with a terrace ( 7th & 8th century) to preserve the place where Buddha and his first disciples had met while travelling from BodhGaya towards Sarnath. Later on, the son of Raja Todar Mal made changes to the stupa by constructing the octagonal tower to mark the visit of Humayun, the Mughal emperor. This site is now well-managed by the Archaeological Survey of India.

Planning A Visit To Chaukhandi Stupa For A Spectacular Trip To Varanasi

Here’s an account of elaborate information about Chaukhandi Stupa in Varanasi in order to have the best experience in the city.

Chaukhandi Stupa History

Chaukhandi stupa mark some important significance with Buddhism

Image Credit: David Castor for Wikimedia Commons 

Chaukhandi Stupa, a temple with tiers also called a ‘Pagoda,’ was constructed during the Gupta Empire between the 4th and 6th centuries to mark the event of Buddha meeting his first Panchavargiya Bhikshus as they travelled from Bodhgaya to Sarnath.
It was named ‘Chaukhandi’ since the stupa comprises four arms. It is also mentioned in the works of Hiuen Tsang, a Chinese traveller during the 7th century AD. However, over time, the stupa underwent several modifications and additions. Govardhan, the son of the Mughal Finance Minister, made many changes to Chaukhandi Stupa, which was later built again by Emperor Akbar.

In June 2019, the Archaeological Survey of India ordained Chaukhandi Stupa, a monument of national importance.

Must Read: Things To Do In Sarnath

Chaukhandi Stupa Location And Timings

Chaukhandi stupa located in Sarnath, varanasi

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It is a Buddhist stupa in Sarnath situated 8 km from the Cantt Railway Station, Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh. The Chaukhandi Stupa is thought to have been first built as a temple during the 7th and 8th centuries to mark the site where Buddha and his first disciples met, travelling from Bodh Gaya to Sarnath. It lies at a distance of 2 km from Sarnath Railway Station and about 8 km from Varanasi Junction. Chaukhandi Stupa is an ancient monument located in the heart of Sarnath. It is one of the most visited monuments of Buddhism. The time to visit Chaukhandi Stupa is from 6 a.m. to 5 p.m. However, the exact timings can change, so it’s better to check with the authorities or guides beforehand.

Chaukhandi Stupa Activities

Explore the historical insights in chaukhandi stupa

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Experienced tour guides at Chaukhandi Stupa will provide detailed historical insights into the site’s significance. You can also take a walk inside the premises and read the information provided, admiring the stupa’s Buddhist architecture. Sarnath itself is a popular religious area with several monasteries and temple shrines. Visitors are always welcome to spend time here and respect all the practices carried out.

Suggested Read: Places To Visit In Sarnath

Places To Visit Near Chaukhandi Stupa

There are many places to visit during your trip to Chaukhandi Stupa. These places are as follows:

1. Dhamek Stupa

Dhamek Stupa in Sarnath

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Dhamek Stupa is a large stupa located at the heritage site of Sarnath in Uttar Pradesh. This stupa is a remembrance of the location where Buddha first preached his teachings to his first five disciples and where all five eventually became fully enlightened.

It is located 180 m to the east of Dharmarajika Stupa. Dhamek Stupa is considered to be the largest structure in the entire city of Sarnath. In its current state, the stupa is a solid cylindrical shape made of bricks and stone, reaching a height of 43.6 meters and 28 m in diameter. The basement has survived due to Ashoka’s pillar. It is a very popular tourist destination in Sarnath.

2. Sarnath Archaeological Site

Sarnath Archaeological Museum near Chaukhandi stupa

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Sarnath is a place located 10 km northeast of the city of Varanasi, near the confluence of the Ganges and the Varuna rivers in Uttar Pradesh, India. According to Buddhist tradition, Gautama Buddha taught his first sermon after attaining enlightenment at Bodh Gaya at the age of 35. It is also historically considered the place where the Buddhist sangha first came into being after the enlightenment of his first five disciples. Sarnath is also where Ashoka, the Mauryan emperor, made a memorial pillar with a capital at the top consisting of four lion heads. This is known as the ‘Lion Capital of Ashoka’, and is the emblem of India.

Suggested Read: Things To Do In Varanasi

3. Ashoka Pillar

Ashoka Pillar, Prayagraj

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Ashoka Pillar is 10.5 m and one of the best three spots in the Prayagraj Fort that visitors can see. Prayagraj played a significant role in Buddhism, as seen in inscriptions on the pillar from 232 BCE. As per the old lore among the locals, the structure was constructed of polished sandstone in the ancient city of Kaushambi and then taken to Prayagraj. Besides the inscriptions, the pillar also features some of Samudragupta of the Gupta empire (330-380 CE) and the Mughal emperor Jehangir. The fort is now utilised by the Indian Army, and even though the pillar is accessible to tourists, it is necessary to get permission to visit first.

Chaukhandi Stupa Travel Routes

Chaukhandi stupa is Accessible by various modes of transportation, one way via Varanasi Airport

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Sarnath is a destination for devotees and tourists alike as the travel facilities are also convenient.

By Road: It is 13 km from Varanasi, a 20-minute drive. You can hire a taxi or a rickshaw from any part of the city to get here.

By Air: The nearest airport is at Varanasi, Babatpur, about 30 km from Sarnath.

Further Read: Places To Visit In Varanasi

Now that you have the best informative guide to plan the next best experience of your life, it is time to book the tickets for your trip to Varanasi. Hurry now!

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Frequently Asked Questions About Chaukhandi Stupa

How much time does it take to cover the monument?

It takes approximately 1 to 2 hours to explore the entire premises. Everyone can take a seat enjoy the general splendour and meditate. If you are a Buddhist you can take part in the religious activities there.

Is there any entry fee to enter the stupa?

For Indians, the entry fee is Rs 5, for foreign nationals, it is Rs 100 and for children (below 15 years) it is free entry.

What are some tips to keep in mind while visiting the stupa?

Carry a few essentials like proper shoes and footwear, caps/hat, umbrella, water bottle and a ticket. Carry some sunscreen and moisturiser if you are visiting during the summer as it can get hot.

What are the essentials to carry when visiting the stupa?

Carry a few essentials like proper shoes and footwear, caps/hat, umbrella, water bottle and a ticket. Carry some sunscreen and moisturiser if you are visiting during the summer as it can get hot.

What is the best time to visit the stupa?

The best time to visit Chaukhandi Stupa is from October to March when the weather is pleasant and conducive for sightseeing. The summers can be really hot, and the monsoons see heavy rains which become inconvenient to travel at that time.

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