Anagarika Dharmapala Road, Near Dhamek Stupa, Sarnath, Varanasi, U.P., India
10am-5pm, closed on Friday
Rs. 2, Free below 15 YearsHow to reach
By taxi, auto rickshaw from Varanasi/cycle rickshaw/on foot from any part of the town
The Archaeological museum of Sarnath, a must visit in Sarnath, was constructed in 1909 but was opened to public in 1912. The initiative of the construction was taken by Sir John Marshall, the then Director General of Archaeological Survey of India. The museum has a rich collection of fine rare specimen (more than 2500 objects) of Buddha artifacts, manuscripts & statues in its galleries, viz., Tathagath, Tiratha, Shakyasimha, Trimurti, Ashutosh & two Varandahs- Shilparatana. The museum of Sarnath also houses an excellent collection of figures & sculptures from Maurya, Kushana & Gupta dynasty. Of all these sculptures of Sarnath School of Arts, lodged in the museum the best one is the idol of Buddha in Dharma Chakra Mudra- preaching his first sermon. The statue is 1.6 mts. high & .79 mts. at the base & is made up of Chunar sandstone. The other attraction of the museum is lustrously polished Ashoka Lion Capital measuring 2.3 mts. high and excavated from Sarnath. The capital consists of an inverted lotus, circular abacus & the crowning of four addorsed lions and wheel having 24 spokes with four animals (an elephant, a bull, a horse and a lion) and has the proud distinction of being the national emblem of India. The wheel down the base adorns the Indian national flag. The unique specimen of Mathura School of Arts is the standing statue of Bodhisatva in Abhay Mudra, displayed in the Central Hall. Monk Bala dedicated this idol to Kushan a ruler Kaniksha. Apart from Buddhist sculptures many Hindu deities from 9th -12th century are also displayed in the museum.