A city of men in the land of Mnar
(initially situated in Lovecraft
but later and non-canonically placed by Brian Lumley
) adjoining a lake shared by the green moonly-descended being
s of Ib
(or Yb), inhuman worshippers of the water-lizard Bokrug
Apocryphally founded around 9550 B.C.E. by some accounts, by 9000 the human populace could or would no longer tolerate the egregious gibbering weirdness of their neighbours down the lakefront property, marching down and demolishing Ib, slaughtering all its inhabitants.
Over the course of the following millennium Sarnath, on account of mineral deposits and trade routes, grew to become the preeminent city of the ancient Dreamland, a place so grandiose the following passage only hints at its wonder:
The wonder of the world and the pride of all mankind was Sarnath the magnificent. Of polished desert-quarried marble were its walls, in height three hundred cubits and in breadth seventy-five, so that chariots might pass each other as men drove them along the top. For full five hundred stadia did they run, being open only on the side toward the lake where a green stone sea-wall kept back the waves that rose oddly once a year at the festival of the destroying of Ib. In Sarnath were fifty streets from the lake to the gates of the caravans, and fifty more intersecting them. With onyx were they paved, save those whereon the horses and camels and elephants trod, which were paved with granite. And the gates of Sarnath were as many as the landward ends of the streets, each of bronze, and flanked by the figures of lions and elephants carven from some stone no longer known among men. The houses of Sarnath were of glazed brick and chalcedony, each having its walled garden and crystal lakelet. With strange art were they builded, for no other city had houses like them; and travelers from Thraa and Ilarnek and Kadatheron marveled at the shining domes wherewith they were surmounted.
During this time of plenty Sarnath also became a religious site of sorts, acting as a home base to the cults of Great One
- semidivine beings who would unfortunately provide no protection for the big payback to smite the city on the eve of the millennial celebration of the destruction of Ib, c. 8000 BC, when Bokrug brought down another load of the green semihumans from the moon (or some would claim raised the spirits of the slain ones) and levelled Sarnath, scattering its people and leaving no structure standing save the long-ago stolen idol of Bokrug.
Lovecraft was reportedly surprised to find that the name "Sarnath" already belonged to an earthly location - its use here must then be considered coincidental and no religious symbolism or allegories to Buddhism should be read into the account.