Sravasti (Buddhist Pilgrimages )
About Sravasti : Sravasti has enjoyed a rich history which can be traced back to the Mahabharata, according to which it originally was the kingdom of king Shravasta. The Ramayana, however, states that Sravasti was the land king Kosala designated to his son Lava. Buddhist tradition suggests a third tangent entirely disconnected from the other two theories of the origin of Sravasti; it says the city was in actuality named after the sage Savattha who had lived there.
Geographical Information : Sravasti is located in Uttar Pradesh, India, in the Devipatan division. The area experiences intense summers April through June, followed by a monsoon that stays an average of three months. November till February, the area experiences pleasant winters that may occasionally get a chilly around the evenings, but the best time to visit Sravasti would indisputably be the window between October and March. The most popular languages are Hindi and English.
The geographical setting of Sravasti has always made it a land for great potential.
Buddhism in Sravasti : Buddha spent the maximum amount of his time in the duration after attaining Nirvana. He spent 25 years here. As a result, more than 850 suttas where delivered here, making it a site of prime importance to both,
Buddhist developmental history, as well as Buddhist pilgrims. It was also here that the Buddha supposedly performed miracles for fifteen days upon being challenged by the leading authorities on the six major schools of philosophy dominant in the country at the time. These miracles are said to include acts such as the sprouting of a bountiful tree from a toothpick the Buddha placed into the ground. The most glorious of all of these was when supposedly eighty four thousand rays of light burst forth, one from each pore of the Buddha’s skin. At the tip of each of these rays of light was a lotus, and resting on that lotus a Buddha, expounding the Dharma. It is said that the ninety thousand people gathered there by the six heretic representatives of the different schools of philosophy were instantaneously convinced of the Buddha’s divinity and joined the monkhood on the spot. It is also believed the heretics fled the scene of the miracles shortly after they began.
Country : India
State : Uttar Pradesh
Location : In Gonda district in the eastern Uttar Pradesh
Climate : Summer - April to June - Hot Winter - November to February - Cold Monsoon - July to September
Best Time to Visit : October to April
Significance : Lord Buddha spent 24 years in Sravasti
Language : Hindi and English
Festivals : Buddhist - Buddha Jayanti(April/May); Others - Mahavir Jayanti(Jains), Holi, Deepawali (Hindus).
Tourist Attraction in Sravasti:
Jetavana Vihara : this is the holy site of where the Buddha resided for more than two decades. It is said that the park was covered with gold coins by a rich merchant as an offering to the Buddha, who then used the coins to build the Vihara where he and his followers would live for twenty five years. Inside the Vihara, there is the Anandha Bodhi Tree.
Anandha Bodhi Tree : originally a branch of the Bodhi tree in Bodh Gaya , under which the Buddha attained Nirvana, it went on to grow into a magnificent tree that has over the centuries assumed an aura of inherent divinity, from the time when the Buddha himself sat and meditated under this tree.
Various Monasteries : the Chinese, Burmese, Sri Lankan, and Thai monasteries are all located within close vicinity of the Jetavana Vihara. These offer the facilitation of many Buddhist practices and meditation.
Places of interest near Sravasti:
Varanasi : approximately 280 km from Sravasti, Varanasi is one of the most important sites in the entire country for Hindu pilgrimage, so much so, that ritualistic practices and offerings are in full swing all year long in this part of India.
Kushingar :around 240 km away from Sravasti, Kushingar is the site of the Buddha’s last sermon and consequent attainment of parinirvana, and hence, of tremendous importance to Buddhist pilgrims, and in fact, one of the only four places intended by the Buddha himself to serve as sites for future pilgrimage.
How to reach Sravasti
Airways - the closest airport is at Luckhnow, which is at an approximate distance of 150 km from Sravasti, and there are the options of road transport as well as railway to cover this last stretch.
Railways - the railway station closest to Sravasti is Balrampur, at a distance of roughly 16 km, and roadways are the best way to cover this remaining distance.
Roadways - there is a well connected network of roads are available to link Sravasti to neighboring and major towns, as well as to places of importance such as Varanasi and Kushinagar. One has the options of taxis and buses for the most part, but public transport may prove more prudent in some cases.