A Buddhist monk:
A religious gathering:
Then we went to see the archaeological museum. This is the oldest site museum of the Archaeological Survey of India. In order to preserve the antiquities found from this site, a decision was taken in 1904 by the Government to construct a site museum adjacent to the excavated site at Sarnath. The building was completed in 1910 to house, display and study the antiquities. The building forms half of a monastery (Sangharama) in plan. There are five galleries and two verandahs. The antiquities in the museum are datable from 3rd century BC to 12th century AD. The galleries have been christened on the basis of their contents, the northern most gallery is Tathagata while next one is Triratna. The main hall is known as Shakyasimha gallery and adjacent to it on south is named as Trimurti. The southern most is Ashutosh gallery, the verandahs on northern and southern side are named as Vastumandana and shilparatna respectively.
While the single most famous exhibit of this museum is the Lion Capital of Asoka, the Sarnath museum has a small but awe-inspiring collection of Buddhist artifacts. Among the things to see is a beautiful sculpture of the Buddha from the fifth century. The Buddha sits cross-legged, with eyes downcast in deep meditation, and a halo around his head. Also worth exploring are several beautiful figures of the bodhisattvas. Of other Buddhist remains there is an impressive and amazingly beautiful, life-size standing Bodhisattva and a delicate image of the Bodhisattva with a lotus and yet another bronze sculpture showing the Bodhisattva with multiple arms. The museum at Sarnath also houses an excellent collection of figures and sculptures from the Mauryan, the Kushana and the Gupta periods. Prominent of them is the earliest Buddha image found at Sarnath and many images of Hindu Gods dating from the 9th to 12th centuries. The main attraction of the Sarnath Archaeological Museum is the superb Ashokan Pillar. It has four back-to-back lions, which has been adopted as the National symbol of India. Below this are representations of a lion, an elephant, horse and the bull. Photography is prohibited inside the museum.