Sravasti is a district situated on the banks of river Rapti. Located approximately 176 km far from Lucknow, it is named after King Sharavasta and is a part of the Buddhist Circuit which also includes Bihar, Nepal and states of Uttar Pradesh. Being once the capital of Kosala Kingdom the place has many temples, stupas and grand viharas in proximity to the town of Sahet- Mahet creating Lord Buddha’s connection with Shravasti. Capital of the Kosala emperor in the old times, it is believed that the place was created by Vedic Bharat King. This magnificent city is the place where Lord Buddha would love to spend his monsoons which led him to spending 25 rainy seasons .It is also a place where Lord Buddha performed many miracles to silence his critics. One of the popular miracle include Buddha seated on a thousand-petalled lotus, as fire and water emanated from his body making it one of the major interest destination for Buddhists.
The rainy season is known as Vassavasa in Buddhist which refers to the monsoon months when the entire Buddhist Sangha congregated in one place since the monks could not travel during that time due to inclement weather. Shravasti has a magical charm and pious atmosphere that energizes the drained travellers. Lord Buddha’s first visit to Shravasti was at the invitation of Anathapindika, whom he met in Rajagaha. While accepting his invitation, Buddha had uttered these words– “the Tathāgatas, o householder, take pleasure in solitude.” I understand, o Blessed One, I understand.” The chief patrons of the Buddha in Savatthi were Anathapindika, Visakha, Suppavasa and Pasenadi. Known as the place of Twin Miracle since Lord Buddha showed his supernatural abilities in performing miracles, Shravasti is closely associated with the life of Gautama Buddha.
There are many sights which are worth seeing at Shravasti like the beautiful Jetavana garden which is huge and is named after local prince Jeetakumar who gave up place to Anathapindaka, a local merchant and ardent disciple of Lord Buddha in return of a gold coins that would cover the entire place. Then, there is Shobhanath Temple which is a Jain Shrine, it is said to be the origin of Jain prophet Sambhavanatha, Anathapindika Stupa which is said to have been erected by Anathapindika. The Stupa is a much admired site among Buddhists and is 9 mile from the district of Sravasti, Balrampur is known for a shrine constructed in contemporary architectural style. Besides all these places there is also a huge World Peace Bell. It stands in the grounds of the Burmese Temple near the entrance to the Jetavana with the motive to convey Buddha’s message of humanity through its toll.
The best time to visit Shravasti is during the month of November to April. It is the perfect place for a weekend trip to unwind and find peace in the beauty and serenity. With beautiful and lush green landscapes it’s a treat for the eyes and heart for every kind of traveller in the world who would be instantly transported to thousands of years in the past, when a prince renounced all worldly pleasures to turn into an ascetic and preached the Dharma.