One of the joys of spending a day at Sarnath is the amount of variety that is on offer. Whilst most of the visitors probably restrict themselves to the ancient Buddhist complex, archaeological museum and the giant Buddha Statue, there are a number of more modern temples dotted around the vicinity, each representing a country that is dominated by the Buddhist traditions, beliefs and spiritual practices.
I spent a few hours trying to seek some of these places out, if you’re determined to see all of them I would suggest spending an additional day in Sarnath for that specific purpose.
The Chinese Temple is located about 650m east of the main entrance to the ancient Buddhist complex, not far from the Mulagandha Kuti Vihara. It’s a relatively simple structure, but immensely peaceful and tranquil, a calming factor that you will find in all these temples as they are not frequently visited.
The temple was established in 1939 by the abbot of Beijing, Tao-Kai, and the president of the Eastern Asian Buddhist association, Fa-Yuan-Tsu. The plot of land on which this temple was built was previously a vegetable plot and mangrove.
One nice addition to the temple is an information board detailing the route taken by the famous Chinese Buddhist monk-scholar Hiuen T’sang (also known as Husan Tsang and Xuanzang). He embarked on his journey from China in 629 A.D. and traveled extensively throughout northern India between 634 and 645 A.D, documenting his experiences in a series of journals that have been an invaluable source of information for scholars.
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