Sravasti, located in the state of Uttar Pradesh, about 176 km from Lucknow, is a famous site for Buddhist pilgrimage. This city, also called Savatthi after the sage Savattha who lived here, was the capital city of the kingdom of Kosala. It was one of the six largest Indian cities of that time. The king was a great disciple of the Buddha and he built monasteries in the city to promote Buddhism. Its fame arises from the legend that here, Lord Buddha displayed a million fold manifestation of himself, seated on a thousand-petalled lotus, as fire and water emanated from his body. Lord Buddha resided in this ancient city for 25 years, helping all those who would come to him seeking help. Sravasti is the place where Buddha lived the longest amount of time, and gave the largest number of discourses and instructions. Stories of his magical feats are well known and tourists from all over the world visit this site, seeking peace and solace. The charm of this place invigorates tourists instantly, reaffirming their faith in the Lord Buddha. This city has been mentioned not only in many Pali Buddhist literatures, but also in Hindu epics of the Ramayana and Mahabharat.
Major attractions –
- The Ananda Bodhi tree – Lord Buddha is said to have meditated under this tree for a night. Devotees who do the same will be blessed as this tree was chosen by the Lord himself.
- Jetavana Vihara – It is the holy place where the Buddha resided for 24 years. It was finally donated to the sangha by the Sravasti Prince Prasanjit. The first statue of Buddha is said to have been built in this location. The Anadabodhi tree located inside the vihara which originated from a sapling of the original Bodhi tree in Bodh Gaya, is a sublime spot and is a major tourist attraction.
- Monasteries – There are a large number of monasteries in the area which practice Buddhism and meditation. These monasteries are Sri Lankan, Myanmarese or Thai in origin. These monasteries are a must visit for all tourists who visit Sravasti.
- Varanasi – Varanasi is actually the base for tourists coming to visit Sravasti since it is located not too far from Sravasti. The holy city of Varanasi holds great importance in the hearts of Hindus who associate the city with religion and mythology. The Banaras Hindu University is centre for the study of Hindu art and Culture. The ghats of the river Ganga, evening aartis, boat rides are the major attractions of this city. Tourists soak in this holy atmosphere and pay homage to their ancestors on the banks of the mighty river Ganga.
- Sankisa – This is the place where the Buddha descended to earth accompanied bythe Hindu Lord Brahma and Devraj Indra after giving a discourse to His mother, Mayadevi. Sansika is a Buddhist attraction situated close to Sravasti and is situated on the banks of the river Kali.