Sravasti is one of the important Buddhist pilgrimage centres of India which during the lifetime of Buddha was one of the sixth largest cities of India and served as the capital of Kosala Kingdom. Not only this, it was also one of the prominent trading centre and centre of religious activities including Lord Buddha. Presently, the city of Sravasti is located in the Gonda district near the Rapti River in northeastern Uttar Pradesh. However, number of legends is associated with this place, according to history of Ramayana the city of Sravasti was created by Rama who had divided the Kingdom of Kosala into two parts and installed his son Lava at Sravasti and Kusha at Kushavasti. According to the legend of Mahabharata Sravasti is associated with the king Shravasta whereas the Buddhist tradition called this place as Savatthi after the name of the Buddhist sage.
Sravasti - Centre of Buddha's Miracle
According to the history of Buddhism, it was here at Sravasti Lord Buddha performed many miracles to confound his critics. As per legend, Lord Buddha was sitting on the thousand-petal manifesting himself in million-fold as fire and water emanated from his body. According to another legend, Lord Buddha in search of Nirvana and preaching his gospel to his pupil he wandered from place to place and left his footsteps, Sravasti is one among such place which is revered till today. According to one of the Commentaries Buddha spent 25 rainy seasons in Sravasti out of which 19 were spent in the monastery called Jetavana and 6 in the monastery called Pubbarama. Even Ashoka the Great visited this place which was revealed after an excavation where two Ashoka pillars were found that lie at the eastern gate of Jetavana.
Importance of Sravasti during Buddha's Time
During the lifetime of Gautam Buddha, Sravasti was the capital of Kosala Kingdom under the rule of Pasenadi who was one of the disciples of Buddha. According to the Indian Theravadin Buddhist commentator and scholar Buddhaghosa, during the lifetime of Buddha the city of Sravasti was prosperous in the sense that the city was well inhabited by fifty seven thousand families and had eighty thousand villages with the population of 180 million! During his lifetime many monasteries had been built like Jetavana, Pubbarama and Rajakarama which was built by Pasenadi, opposite Jetavana. Near the capital city of Sravasti, there was a dark forest known as ‘Andhavana' where the monks and nun used to live. There was one more village mentioned which was composed of five hundred fishermen's families. Thus, the importance of Sravasti can be analyzed from the fact that it was here where Buddha spent the longest amount of time with the largest amount of discourses and instructions leading to the path of Nirvana.
Other Temples nearby Sravasti
Besides the Buddhist temples at Sravasti, the place is also surrounded by the other temples like Devi Patan Temple which is 28 Km, Shobhanath Temple an important centre for the Jains, Maheth a testimony to the prosperity of ancient Sravasti spread in the area of about 400 acres, Saheth is Jetavana monastery, spread in an area of 32 acres, 3 ancient buildings of Angulimala's stupa, Anathapindika's stupa, and an old temple dedicated to a Jain Tirthankara.