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Sarnath in Varanasi to hold Buddha Mahotsava on Vesak
At Sarnath, near Varanasi, Buddha Purnima is going to be celebrated as Buddha Mahotsava that will attract followers of Buddhism from India and abroad. The festival at Sarnath is of great significance since Gautama Buddha gave his first sermon there and taught the Dharma that led to formation of the Buddhist Sangha.

On the evening of Buddha Purnima, decoration of the whole area at Sarnath with the lighted earthen lamps will take place as a spectacular sight. Lord Buddha had urged his followers saying 'Appo Deepo Bhava - Be your own lamp'. He had been of the view that seekers had to take up self-responsibility for their own enlightenment.

It is believed that Buddha went from Bodhgaya to Sarnath about five weeks after his enlightenment under Bodhi tree. The sermon Lord Buddha gave to the five monks is called the Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta.

Over the years, Sarnath has been developed as a place of Buddhist pilgrimage. Here, the festival of Buddha Purnima celebrates the birth enlightenment and death of Gautam Buddha in 563 BC as a spiritual teacher and the founder of Buddhism.

In Sarnath, the festival will be observed by lighting oil lamps before the image of the Buddha, by reciting prayers or reading from the Buddhist scriptures and worshipping the statue of Buddha. Meditation and offerings of flowers, silk scarves, incense and fruit will also be part of the worship rituals.

The Buddhist sermons and reading of the scriptures will be the other activities carried out by the devotees at Sarnath. They will offer fruits, flowers, candles, etc in front of the statues of the Lord Buddha according to their beliefs and customs.

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