An ancient city located in the Gangetic plains of Northern India, Shravasti (or Sravasti) is revered as a Buddhist pilgrimage in India site due to its close association with the life of Gautam Buddha. According to Buddhist history, Shravasti was one of the ‘Eight Great Places’ or ‘Atthamahathanani’ where Lord Buddha delivered sermons and performed miracles during the course of his monastic life.
Located on the banks of river Rapti or Aciravati as it was known back then, Shravasti was the capital of the kingdom of Kosala. It was known to be the sixth-largest city at the time and was prosperous due to its abundant agriculture. Gautam Buddha arrived at the site on the invitation of Anathapindika, an influential merchant who was also a disciple of Lord Buddha. As per historical data, Buddha spent 24 rainy seasons in Shravasti where he stayed at the Jetavana monastery to spread the knowledge he attained through nirvana.
Of all the things Shravasti is known for, the most significant one has to be the Twin Miracles performed by Buddha. According to the legend, Buddha silenced his critics by displaying his psychic powers by emitting water and fire from his body. With the conclusion of this miracle, Gautam Buddha gained respect even from his harshest critics and the city of Shravasti got its name written permanently in history.
Places to Visit in Shravasti
Sanchi is a land with a rich history. It has numerous interesting sights that proudly tell its past glory. It is a popular Buddhist destination housing some of the most famous structures dedicated to Gautam Buddha. However, with the rule of Mughals, the place lost its lustre and vanished in history until its rediscovery in the 19th Century. Declared as the World Heritage Site by UNESCO, Sanchi attracts travelers and pilgrims from around the world.
Perhaps the place that holds most significance for Buddhist pilgrims in Shravasti is the Jetavana monastery. It is spread over four hundred acres of land and houses Gandhakuti which are known to be the Buddha’s quarters. The Anandabodhi tree under which Buddha delivered sermons is also located within the Jetavana complex. The tree is considered holy as it was planted from the same bodhi tree under which Buddha attained enlightenment.
The Miracle Stupa
Constructed in 2004, the Miracle stupa was erected to commemorate the twin miracles of Buddha. A short distance away from the new structure are the ruins of the old stupa that marks the spot of the miracles.
Stupa of Angulimala
This stupa is dedicated to the merciless robber Angulimala whose life turned around after meeting Buddha. He gave up his violent ways and led the righteous life of a Buddhist monk until his death. The Angulimala stupa reminds us that all forms of violence can be overcome by the peaceful teachings of Lord Buddha.
This Jain temple is regarded as one of the most important places of pilgrimage within the Jain community. Marking the birthplace of the third Tirthankara Shobnath, the temple offers insights into early Jain architecture and history.
Amongst other places of significance in Shravasti, the ruins at Orajhar, The World Peace Bell, Kachchi Kuti, and Pakki Kuti at Mahet are also worth a visit.
How to reach Shravasti?
Modern-day Shravasti is a district within the North Indian state of Uttar Pradesh. Located 175 kilometers from the state capital Lucknow, travelers can easily reach Shravasti using the many means of available transport.
By Air: The nearest airport is located in Lucknow which is well connected to all the major cities of India. It also offers international flights from Bangkok, Dubai, and Muscat.
By Rail: The city of Gonda has the nearest (50 Km) railway station from Shravasti. With regular trains from New Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and other cities within Uttar Pradesh the railway station offers seamless connectivity to Shravasti.
By Road: The vast network of National and State highways in Uttar Pradesh ensures that Shravasti is well connected if you decide to travel by road. Buses from the state-owned transport corporation or private operators can drop you off at the Gonda Bus Station from where Shravasti is a short taxi ride away.