are a number of historical and religious places and towns around
Varanasi that are worth visiting. Some of the important and famous are
Sarnath, Chunar, Jaunpur, Kaushambi, Kushinagar and Vindhaychal. Sarnath
is about 10 km from Varanasi and is famous for being the place where
Lord Buddha preached his first sermon after getting enlightenment.
Sarnath is an important pilgrimage place for the Buddhists as it was
here that the wheel of dharma was set in motion. Sarnath also boasts of
a number of monuments and edifices ranging from the Ashokan period to
the 12th century.
Chunar is about 40 km from Varanasi and is known for the Chunar fort.
The Chunar fort looks beautiful upon the Kaimur Hills that provides a
fantastic view of the meandering Ganga River. This is the same
'Churnargarh', on which the famous Hindi classical novelist Devinandan
Khatri based his renowned work 'Chandrakanta'. Another important and
historical place around Varanasi is Jaunpur. The Tughlaq ruler, Feroz
Shah built Jaunpur in 1360. It was built to guard the eastern frontier
of the kingdom. The town still has some of the beautiful monuments of
Vindhyachal is about 90 km from Varanasi and is one of the several
Shaktipeeths in India, which is believed to be the abode of Goddess
Durga. Besides these cities and towns, one may also visit the Kaimoor
Wildlife Sanctuary spread over an area of 500 sq km and the Chandra
Prabha Wildlife Sanctuary. Chandra Prabha Wildlife Sanctuary is situated
in the Chandauli district and has rich flora and fauna. Kushinagar is
yet another important excursion point around Varanasi. Lord Buddha
breathed his last at kushinagar.