Shravasti - Eight Important Pilgrimage Site
Lord Buddha had spent most of his monastic life in the Gangetic plains of Northern India and Southern Nepal and its surrounding areas. Thus, these places are deemed most important since these places had experienced some of the great events of Lord Buddha. Thus, four sites are most worthy of pilgrimage of Buddhist followers and Gautama Buddha is said to have identified these four sites most worthy and these sites are called Four Most Important Pilgrimage Sites. They are Lumbini, Bodh Gaya, Sarnath, Kushinagar. But in later Buddhist tradition, other four sites were given a special status since these sites had experienced some certain miracles by Lord Buddha. Thus, these eight sites are known as “The Eight Great Places” or Attha-mahathanani. These four sites are Shravasti, Rajgir, Sankassa and Vaishali.
Shravasti is an ancient kingdom located in the Gangetic Plains of Ancient India and is sacred to the Buddhists all around the globe. Shravasti is also known as the place of Twin Miracle since Lord Buddha showed his supernatural abilities in performing miracles. Shravasti was believed to be one of the six largest cities in ancient India during the lifetime of Gautama Buddha. Shravasti is closely associated with the life of Gautama Buddha because it is the place where Lord Buddha stunned the non-believers with a million fold manifestation of himself, seated on the thousand-petaled lotus and emanated fire and water from his body and thus Shravasti became popular as it experienced the Twin Miracle. It is also believed that Gautama Buddha spends 24 Chaturmases in Shravasti. It is also an important center for the believers of Jain religion since Sobhanath temple is believed to be the birthplace of Tirthankara Sambhavanath of Jainism.
According to Buddhist tradition, the city was called Savatthi since Sage Savatthi used to live there. Shravasti was one of the developed cities in ancient India and was the capital city of Kingdom of Kosala. It was said that the city of Shravasti was located on the bank of river Aciravati which is popularly known as Rapti River in the present and that was the reason the city was quite beautiful with diversity and vast amount of agriculture. During the lifetime of Lord Buddha, it is believed that around 180 million people used to reside in the city of Shravasti. King Pasenadi of Kingdom of Kosala was the disciple of Lord Buddha and was one of the chief patrons of Gautama Buddha. Other chief patrons of Shravasti were Visakha ,Suppavasa and Anathapindika.
Gautama Buddha had spent most of his monastic life in Shravasti. Gautama Buddha first visited Shravasti on the invitation of Anathapindika. The main monasteries of Shravasti are Jetavana and thePubbarama. King Pasenadi commissioned the construction of another famous monastery of Shravasti, the monastery of Rajakarama which is an exact opposite of the Jetavana. It is said that out of four Nikayas of Buddhism, around 871 suttas were preached in Shravasti. Around 844 suttas were preached in the monastery of Jetavana, 23 suttas were preached in the monastery of Pubbarama and remaining 4 suttas were preached in the suburbs of Shravasti. Thus, Shravasti became the place where the largest amounts of suttas, instruction were taught by Lord Buddha.
Popular attraction of Shravasti
Shravasti is believed to possess a magical charm that enlivens tired tourists instantly. There are many attractions in Shravasti which possess quite a history on the life of Buddha and teachings of Buddha .
1. Jetavana Monastery
Jetavana Monastery is one of the most famous Buddhist monasteries of India. It is the second monastery that was donated in respect to Lord Buddha.
2. Place of Twin Miracle
This is the place where Lord Buddha is believed to emanated fire and water out of his body and the place where Twin Miracle took place.
3. Shobhanath Temple
This old temple located at Shravasti is dedicated to Jain Tirthankara and is quite popular among Jain people.
4. The Anandabodhi Tree
It is believed that Gautama Buddha meditated under this tree for a night and blessed all those devotees who meditate under this tree.