Sravasti, Uttar Pradesh

Located on the banks of the river Rapti, Sravasti or Savatthi, was the capital of the Kosala kingdom, and just outside of the city now lies Jetavana, the second monastery donated to Buddha. It is an important place of pilgrimage for Buddhists as Buddha used it as a monsoon retreat every year. It is also believed by many that this is where he gave most of his teachings.  

The main attraction of the place is the Anandabodhi tree, the second holiest tree in Buddhism. Jetavana monastery, which is home to the Anandabodhi tree is visited by thousands every year for its historic significance, now preserved by stupas and huts used by monks.

Shobhnath Temple is a holy site for Jains as it is known to be the site of origin of the Jain prophet, Sambhavnatha.

Anathapindika Stupa, erected by Anathapindika as a donation to Buddhism is another important tourist site for Buddhists.

Balrampur and Saheth are other sites tourist attraction is Sravasti, known for their beautiful shrines boasting of contemporary architectural style.

The city is well connected and is easy to travel to as there are convenient air and land routes.The best time of the year to visit Sravasti is between November and April.

Monuments:

The Ananthapindika Stupa: It is one of the major monuments of Sravasti and was built by Anathapindika who was the chief lay disciple of Buddha.It was a gift from him to Buddha who spent 24 monsoons in Sravasti and it is at this stupa where he preferred to stay. The old brick structure is however now in ruins and one can only see a plinth and a flight of stairs leading up to the stupa.

Angulimala Stupa: Angulimala Stupa is also called Pakki Kuti. as per the legends it was the home of a notorious dacoit who used to wear the chopped fingers of his victims as a garland. One day in a fit of rage as he was going to murder his mother, he was stopped and reformed by Buddha. This stupa however lies in utter ruin, with only a plinth and a flight of stairs leading up to the dilapidated structure remaining.

The Jetavana Monastery: It was donated to Buddha by a wealthy merchant known as Sudatta. According to Tibetan resources The Jetavana Monastery comprised of sixty large halls and sixty small halls. The monastery was forested, and also had a mango-grove nearby. Sudatta also planted a Bodhi tree from the sapling of Mahabodhi tree.

Kacchi Kuti: Kacchi Kuti is another interesting place to visit. It’s an excavated structure and has undergone many renovations. There are conflicting beliefs about the association of the structure. Some believe it to be a temple, whereas some believe it to be a monastery.

Vibhuti Nath Temple: Dedicated to Shiva the Vibhuti Nath Temple is one of the sacred Hindu shrines. Devotees flock to this temple especially in the month of savan.

Miracle Stupa: It is a spot where Buddha spent time after his enlightenment. The interiors are made up of marble and contains relics from Buddha’s life.

Shri Digamabar Jain Shravasti Teerth Shetra: Dedicated to Lord Shambhavnath, it is one of the highly revered shrines in Sravasti. 

Shobhnath Temple: It is another highly revered Jain shrines. It’s dome shaped roof made up of lakhuri bricks catches instant attention of the visitors.

Natural Places:

Nature lovers must visit Suhaildev Wildlife Sanctuary. A wide variety of flora and fauna can be found here. The most interesting fact about this Wildlife Sanctuary is that it is the home to a forest dwelling tribe, called Tharu tribe.

Food:

Most restaurants and hotels serve multi cuisine food. In day to day life people prefer North Indian cuisine. Food comprises of steamed rice, daal, roti, mixed vegetables, chicken curry, etc. Nandan Sweets, Hotel Residency, Shri Balaji Cafe are few of the famous restaurants in Sravasti.

Activities:

Those who are looking to detoxify themselves and attain peace of mind can get enrolled  in various courses offered by Vipassana Meditation Centre. Shravasti Mahotsav is a cultural festival which is organised every year in January-February. The festival has its own charm and attracts tourists in large numbers. 

Shopping:

One can buy handicrafts made by people of Tharu tribe from the local market. The patch work embroidery done on women’s suits are really popular. One can also buy handmade table cloths, bed sheets etc. Katra Bazaar is the main market from where all the day to day products and clothes can be bought.