A major centre of Buddhist pilgrimage, Sravasti in Uttar Pradesh is known for being the place where the Buddha spent the major portion of his missionary life. In fact he passed as many as 25 rainy seasons of life here. Needless to say, a large number of his sermons were delivered in Sravasti which served as the ancient capital of Kosala during the reign of king Presenajit. It ranked among the six main cities during the time of Buddha’s death. This can be ascertained form Buddha’s disciple Ananda’s disappointment t that his teacher should have chosen to die in Sravasti instead of a small place like Kusinagar.
It was at Sravasti where the Buddha is said to have performed feats of levitation and other miracles due to challenge from his rivals, though he disapproved their performance by his monks and disciples.
Sravasti finds mention in the in the travelogues of Fa-hsien who came to India in the fifth century AD to obtain authentic copies of the Buddhist texts. Though he found monasteries full of spiritual activities the city was losing its prosperity.
Sravasti continue to be a Buddhist centre till the 9th century. However the place began to lose its importance and after the 12th century AD, nothing much is known about Sravasti. Excavations at this site have unearthed the remains of five brick-built monasteries together with a shrine and a stupa.
Places of attraction
Donated to Buddha by his devotee Sudatta or Anathapindika, a rich banker of Sravasti, this magnificent monastery consisted of a very large complex of buildings including dwelling rooms, bathrooms, halls of meditation and ponds. Anandabodhi tree and the Gandhakuti (Buddha’s hut) are located within the site of Jetavana Vihara.
The second most spiritually important monastery in Sravasti was Pubbarama on the premises of which was located magnificent two-storeyed building known as Migaramatupasada. The Buddha had spent six rainy seasons in Pubbarama monastery.
This was built by king Presenajit who was a contemporary and devotee of the Buddha. Here Buddha is said to have preached the Nandakovida Sutta and several sermons contained in the Saihyutta Nikaya.
Other important places of attractions in Sravasti are Stupa of Angulimala, Place (Stupa) of the Twin Miracle.
How to Reach Sravasti
By Air- The nearest airport to Sravasti is Amausi Airport at Lucknow, which is 151 kilometers away from Sravasti. The airport is connected by flights from major cities and places in India.
By rail: Balrampur, 19 kilometers from Sravasti, is the nearest rail head. From Balrampur, it is most convenient to travel by taxi to Sravasti.
By Road: Sravasti is connected by road to several major cities and towns. Some of the major road distances are: Ayodhya (109 km), Kushinagar (253 km) and Lucknow (151km).
Best time to visit Sravasti
The best time to visit Sravasti is from November to February. The temperature remains mild and pleasant during the winter season. Sravasti receives heavy rainfall during the monsoon season that lasts from July to September.