Sravasti or Shrawasti is located at a distance of 40kms from Bahraich, on the North-Eastern Railway. The town located near the Rapti River in northeastern Uttar Pradesh is said to be have been founded by the mythological king, Sravast. The place bears immense historical significance and has a story linked to it. In the times of Sakyamuni, a wealthy and religious merchant by the name of Sudatta lived in Sravasti. He came to hear the Buddha preaching while on his way to a place called Rajgir and expressed his wish to become Buddha’s disciple but without doing away with worldly affairs. The Buddha agreed that he can do so if he carried out his profession honestly. Sudatta build a vihara in a park belonging to Jeta, son of King Prasenjit of Shrawasti, after paving the whole park with gold coins, as was demanded by Jeta. Jeta later donated woods for the building of the Vihara which was named the Jetavana Vihara, as a remembrance of the contribution of Jeta. It is believed that Shrawasti is the place where the Buddha converted the notorious dacoit Angulimal into a Buddhist monk. The place is also known for miracles performed by the Buddha, to the great astonishment of other teachers of his time.
One of the greatest attractions of the Sravasti town is the ruins and relics of Jain and Buddhist temples, forts and stupas. Sravasti town holds sheer importance for the devotees of Lord Buddha as this is the place where Lord Buddha spent 24 monsoons of his life. The other religious importance of this place is that Bhagwan Mahavir, during his penance and later as Tirthankar visited this town several times. It is believed that Lord Buddha performed many miracles in Sravasti. He showed a million manifestations of himself. He was seated on a lotus (with a thousand petals), and his body was oozing out fire and water. Such miraculous incidences are still narrated by the people of the town.
Jetavana Monastery – One of the major travel attraction of Sravasti, Jetavana monastery is where Lord Buddha used to stay during his time in Shrawasti has 2 pillars on either side built by emperor Ashoka. Jetavana Monastery in present days has two monasteries, six temples and five Stupas.
Shobhnath Temple – Sravasti is not only famous as a Buddhist Pilgrimage center but it is a major travel attractions of the Jains. The place was under the influence of Lord Mahavira, the last Jain Tirthankar. Thousand of Jain pilgrimage travel to this place to pay their respect to their Almighty. The Shobhnath Temple is believed to be the birthplace of the Jain Tirthankar Sambhavnath.
Temple No-2 – This temple bears the ruins of the Gandha-Kuti or Perfumed Chamber built by Anathapindika for the use of Lord Buddha. The original Kuti was made at the time of the Chinese pilgrims. Today, the lower walls and stone plinth of the original two storied brick building is to be found.
Temple No-3 – This is believed to be the site of the original Kosambi-Kuti. It was built by Anathapitaka and there was also a meditation chamber constructed for the Lord. A long platform marks the original promenade used by the Buddha for the walking meditation in complete silence.
Ananda Bodhi Tree : At the entrance of the Jetavana Garden, the Bodhi Tree was planted at the request of Anasthapitaka as a symbol of worship when Lord Buddha is not in Shrawasti. The Bodhi tree is famous for the tree under which the Lord took his enlightenment. This sacred tree was brought as a cutting from the Bodhi tree in Sri Lanka, which itself grew from a sapling of the original Bodhi tree in Bodh Gaya.
How to reach Shrawasti
By Road: Shrawasti is accessible by road from major cities of India like Lucknow (151 km), Kapilvastu (147 km) and Varanasi (401 km). For the comfort of the tourists, tourist coaches, taxis and buses are available.
By Rail: Balrampur, about 19 kilometers away, is the railway station that is nearest to Shrawasti. It is connected to some of the major cities.
By Air: The closest airport is at Lucknow, at a distance of about 151 kilometers from Shrawasti. Both domestic and International flights covering major cities operate from the airport at Lucknow.
Shrawasti map [mappress mapid=”63″]