- Do not confuse with Sharnoth.
Sarnath was founded when dark skinned explorers ventured out past the Ai River and came to a quiet lake "fed by no stream and out of which no stream flows." The men of Mnar built Sarnath not far from Ib, hating the beings of Ib they marched on the city and destroyed it. Sarnath was by far the richest of the cities of Mnar, and traded precious metals and gems with Thraa, Ilarnek and Kadatheron. Ilarnek is the closest city to Sarnath.
Sarnath was surrounded by chiseled marble walls 450 feet (137 meters) high and wide enough that two chariots could pass each other on the top. The wall surrounded the city and was open to the lake where a giant sea wall stopped freak waves that occur once a year.The city streets were paved in onyx or granite. The fifty streets running from the lake to the wall each ends with a bronze gate topped with statues of lions and elephants.
Houses in Sarnath featured shining domes, walled gardens, and "lakelets." They were constructed of glazed bricks and quartz and featured types of construction not found anywhere else in the Dreamlands. Large palaces and mansions were also common, built very tall with massive paintings of armies and kings. the largest of these was the palace of the kings of Mnar. The throne was carved from a sold piece of ivory, though what source such a large piece was from has been lost, and two golden lions sat astride the throne. The palace also contained many amphitheaters where men and lions fought.
Some of the largest buildings in Sarnath were the seventeen tower temples all built from multi colored stone. The largest of these was a full 1500 feet (457 meters) tall. Within each tower the head priests lived in splendor to rival that of the kings. Below each tower were massive halls where worshippers prayed to Zo-Kalar and Tamash and Lobon the gods of Sarnath. In the highest tower was also kept a chrysolite altar from Sarnath's founding on which the symbol of DOOM was carved by the first head priest Taran-Ish.
Equally splendid were the gardens constructed by Zokkar the olden king. The entire gardens were walled off and topped with a glass dome. The gardens were artificially kept spring like with the use of concealed fans and fires to adjust the temperature. Images of the sun, moon, and stars were hung whenever it wasn't clear enough to see the real thing. Between the ordered terraces and waterfalls were many small altars and shrines.
Religion and Festivals
Zo-Kalar and Tamash and Lobon are the chief gods of Sarnath, though many gods, large and small were worshipped there. Seventeen of these were worshipped in the huge towered temples while many of the smaller gods were worshipped in shrines in the gardens. The chief gods had huge altars and gold thrones were incense was burned. The gods were considered so close to life that many thought they actually sat in their thrones. They are depicted as bearded and graceful.
Many of the religious rites enacted by the high priests reflect the hatred of the Great Old One Bokrug. Bokrug was once worshipped in nearby Ib which the armies of Sarnath destroyed. At the time a carved green stone image of Bokrug was taken into Sarnath as a trophy and left on a crystallite altar. The same night the statue disappeared. Taran-Ish the first head priest was found dead of terror having carved the symbol of DOOM on the altar.
Once a year the people of Sarnath celebrate the destruction of Ib a neighboring city once populated by flabby green creatures. Great orgies were had with much food and wine. The kings of Mnar looked out over the lake and cursed the bones of the deab people of Ib while paying honor to the shades of those who slay them. At first the priests of Sarnath looked down on the celebrations worried by the stories of Taran-Ish and the occasional lights seen in the lake.
The Destruction of Sarnath
On the thousandth festival of the destruction of Ib Sarnath itself disappeared.
The celebration was the biggest and most rich ever held, many princes and travelers visited during the festival. The head priest Gnai-Kah spied dark shadows flowing off the moon into the lake and a mass of green mist issuing from the lake and towards the city. The mist filled the city and terror reigned. The many visitors to Sarnath fled in horror claiming that ghosts of the flabby beings of Ib had come as ghosts bearing platters of burning rubies. No trade ever came from Sarnath again.
For five hundred years no one visited the lake until explorers from Falona came. No city remained. A green stone statue of a lizard was found buried in the swampy shore. The statue was taken to Ilarnek where it became the chief god for all of Mnar, worshipped under the gibbous moon.