Saranath is a holy place for the Jains as the place of death of Sreyansanatha the eleventh Tirhankara.
Do not sure we can follow what local do? Just have a chill afternoon before you loop down to Madras....Please advice me?
Most people directly go to the river and go see everything there. It's true it's a must, but do walk into the streets as well. It's fun to see how everything works here, the traffic, the shops etc.
This temple most of the times is partly or fully under water. You can see it very closely when the dry season falls in. All the stairs are dried up too then.
Visit the barbershop. You will get tea and a nice haircut with headmassages too. If you are a guy you can get a shave here too ;) Always make sure the barber uses a clean shaving knife though.
The streets are always crowded. There is always soemthing to see or do here. Cows and dogs walk everywhere, people are busy selling things...