Capital of ancient Kosala kingdom, Sravasti is located on the banks of Rapti river in Uttar Pradesh. It is one of the sacred Buddhist places and popular for its association with Gautam Buddha.
According to Mahabharata, legendary king Shravasta founded the city. However, Buddhists believe the city was called as Savatthi as the sage Savatthi lived in the city.
Gautam Buddha spent most of his monastic life in Sravasti. His first visit to the city was at the invitation of Anthapindika. As per legend, Buddha spent 25 seasons in the city, among them 19 seasons he spent in Jetavana monastery and six years in Pubbarama monastery.
It is also the place where Gautam Buddha performed miracles to silence his critics. These miracles include Buddha creating multiple images of himself. One of the popular miracle include Buddha seated on a thousand-petalled lotus, as fire and water emanated from his body.
Sravasti was also the place where Buddha gave the largest amount of discourse and instructions. Renowned Chinese pilgrim and traveler Xuanzang found the city in ruins, but recorded the sites of various structures.
During Buddha years in Sravasti, several monasteries, stupas and shrines were built. However, only a few have survived the vagaries of nature.
The Jetavana monastery located in Saheth is one of the prime tourist attractions. One gets to see remains of Gautam Buddha’s hut Anandakuti and Gandhakuti in the monastery. Other attractions of the city are the Anathapindika’s (Sudatta), Angulimala’s stupa and Shobnath temple, dedicated to the Jain Tirthankar Sambhavnath.
Buddhist monasteries constructed by Thailand, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Myanmar and China at Sravasti are also worth a visit.
Buddha Purnima is celebrated on a grand scale in Sravasti.
There are many budget hotels in the city. One can also opt to stay at the Tourist Bunglow, run by the state tourism department or else at Inspection Bungalow maintained by the PWD. There are hardly any restaurants at Sravasti. Restaurants attached to hotels are the best options. The best time to visit the place is between October and May.