A city renowned for its profound association with Bhuddha, Shravasti is a modest spiritual city in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh.Cherishing the spiritual being and offering peace, this holy land holds immense importance to devotees from three religions – Buddhist, Jains, and Hindus. Dating back to the time of Gautama Buddha, the city was counted among the six largest cities in India. The pilgrim city has a diverse history dating back to the time of Ramayana and Mahabharata.
The facades of the primordial town stand intact and have been emanating equal grace and elegance since time immemorial. The city is sure to leave you in awe of its ancient edifices which have held their perseverance over time and portray the gigantism of the culture and traditions of the city. Nestled near the banks of River Rapti, Shravasti has substantial importance to Lord Buddha. The ancient city is an important spiritual site for Buddhists and Jains.
Shravasti being a significant historical town has in store ample of temples, shrines, stupas, monasteries, viharas and other religious attractions. Filled with peace and spirituality, the city houses various offbeat attractions to allure the visitors. For anyone with a desire to feel peace or devotion, there is no better place than the temples and worship places of this religious town.
Shravasti is endowed with several historical legends that speak of the historical importance of the city. The magnificent architecture and monuments tell the tales of this pious land way better than any person could. Shravasti is a town of religious significance which also finds its mention in the notable Indian literary works.
The city’s first legend dates back to the Buddhist Era. During the Buddhist Era, Shravasti was the capital of the Kosala Kingdom. The city was a preeminent center of trade and religion. Believed to be crafted by Vedic Bharat King, the land has ample stupas, shrines, viharas, and temples.
Another legend associated with this city paves its way from the Epic Ramayana. This version of the historical significance of the city recounts that Lord Rama split his Kingdom Kosala into two – Shravasti and Kushavati – for his twins. It is believed that Shravasti was created for Luv, while Kushavati was for Kush.
According to another Indian Epic, Mahabharata, the timeline of Shravasti dates back to the era of King Shravasti. It is said that the city was named after this legendary King. On the other hand there are few Buddhist legends which state that the city got its name from a sage Savattha who lived there.
Various folklore states that Gautama Buddha spent a brief part of his life as a monist on this sacred land. It is also said that Buddha loved the rainy season of the town to the extent that he spent 24 rainy seasons in Shravasti. The city is also reckoned to be the birthplace of Tirthankar – founder of Jainism.
The surreal city of Shravasti is sure to bestow inner peace upon you with its culture, architecture, and historical essence. The city houses numerous places of worship, monuments, monasteries and other spots of tourists interest. Some of the places that you shouldn’t miss while you are in and around Sarasvati are –
One of the most famous Buddhist monasteries of India, Jetavan Monastery attracts thousands of visitors throughout the year. This monastery is the place where Lord Buddha spent 24 of the 45 Vassas – more than any other place. He gave many teachings and discourses during this time. The main attractions of this place are the Anandabodhi tree, Anandakuti and Gandhakuti which should be explored during a visit to the Jetavana Monastery.
One amongst the sacred Hindu shrines, Vibhuti Nath Temple is dedicated to the worship of Lord Shiva. The history of the temple traces back to the time of the Epic Mahabharata. It is believed that the Pandavas laid the foundation stone of the temple. This temple is visited by millions of Hindu devotees to seek blessings from Lord Shiva. During the auspicious month of Savan, the number of pilgrims who come to visit the temple increases two folds.
Vipassana meditation center is one amongst the top spiritual sites in Shravasti. It is believed that Lord Buddha used to spend a lot of time in the spiritual ambiance of the place, making it a prominent tourist attractions of the region. This divine place is ideal for those tourists who want to learn meditation and detoxify themselves from stress.
Shravasti sees an equal amount of Jain devotees as it sees Buddhists. Sobhnath Temple is a highly spiritual Shrine for the Jain devotees. Sobhnath temple is believed to be the birthplace of the third Jain Tirthankar, Lord Sambhavnath. The major attraction of the Shrine is the Dome-shaped roof which is made up of Lakhori bricks. The temple has an enchanting interior and sculptures of the Jain Tirthankar.
Spread across an area of around 450 km square, Suhail Dev wildlife sanctuary was established in the year 2488. The Sanctuary is one of the major spots of tourism in Shravasti, Uttar Pradesh. Suhail Dev Wildlife Sanctuary has flourishing flora and fauna and few water bodies as well.
Pakki Kuti is the largest mound in Shravasti which was later identified as the Stupa of Angulimala by Chinese travelers and scholars. The now recovered sculpture was once believed to be a terraced stupa.
Another mound of Shravasti is the Kacchi Kuti. This prominent tourist place presents the surreal remains of bygone eras. Kacchi Kuti is an excavated sculpture of the town.
This splendid stupa was built by one of the leading disciples and greatest patron of Gautam Buddha, Anathapindika. He was known to be the wealthiest merchant during the time of Budhha and was known to help the needy. The literal meaning of Anathapindika is “one who feeds the helpless”. Though in ruins now, the magnificent architecture and stunning carvings of the stupa still attracts thousands of tourists all round the year.
Covering an area of around 8000 acres and 400 acres respectively, Saheth and Maheth are two clusters of shrines located in the heart of Sravasti. Sahet houses numerous monasteries, shrines and stupas related to Buddhism and is one of the most visited places in Shravasti. Maheth is another cluster with several shrines and stupas. Although most of these structures are in ruins, they still possess the charm and beauty required to attracts tourists from different corners of the world.
This city located in the state of Uttar Pradesh is a prominent Buddhist hub. The present-day Shravasti brings to life the history and architecture of a bygone era in the form of temples and stupas. Shravasti can be approached via all the major modes of transport. The well-connected networks make this place easily accessible.
By Air: If you plan to reach this city by air, the nearest airport is Chaudhary Charan Singh International Airport located in Lucknow. It is nearly 170 kilometers away from the city and is well connected by regular flights from various national and international destinations.
By Rail: The nearest railway station from Shravasti is at Balrampur, located 17 kilometers away from the city. Another railway station, Gonda railway station, is located 50 kilometers from Shravasti and is well connected from the major cities of the country.
By Road: Owing to the road network of Uttar Pradesh, Shravasti is well connected through Roadways. Several private and government buses, as well as taxis, ply on the route to Shravasti.
Any time is the best time for inner peace and spirituality but climatic conditions of the region also play a major role. Owing to its location, Shravasti is a land of tropical climatic conditions. The city experiences hot summers, cold winters and humid yet pleasant monsoons.
The best time to visit this place is between November to March because of the favourable weather conditions. Temperatures in summers can rise to 45 degrees Celsius making it a less desirable time to visit the city. On the other hand, during the monsoons, the increased humidity creates difficulties for the visitors.
On the contrary, the winter season is the ideal time to visit the city and enjoy sightseeing. January is the coldest month with temperatures falling down to 2-3 degrees Celsius. Pilgrims wishing to visit this region consider it an ideal time to explore the place with ease and comfort.
The spiritual land of Shravasti serves as a home to temples, monasteries/ viharas, and stupas for the Buddhist and Jain pilgrim flocks. The sacred land sings its legacy, culture, and history that enchants all visitors. A visit to this peaceful yet fascinating city will delight tourists to the core and leave them longing them to come back.
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