I would like to think that I have a fair degree of awareness of famous tourist and cultural sites in India, but a travel blog I read recently made me aware of how much there is to know about (and visit) in this diverse country of ours.
The state of Uttar Pradesh in Northern India has a wealth of historical places of religious and cultural significance to multiple religions. Places like Varanasi, Sarnath, Mathura, Lucknow, not to mention Agra, are well known and attract millions of tourists every year.
But, and this could be my ignorance, I had not heard of a place called Shravasti until I came across it on a travel blog written by a foreign tourist. On reading further, I found out that Lord Buddha had spent over 24 monsoon seasons here and it is supposedly the place where He spent the maximum time after His enlightenment. It was also supposedly one of the largest cities in India during Gautama Buddha’s lifetime. The place is also known by the name of Sahet-Mahet. It is located about 50 kms to the east of Bahraich and 150 kilometres to the North-East of the state capital, Lucknow.
Some of the key places that can be visited today include, amongst others, the Jetavana Monastery, Angulimala’s stupa and Shobhnath Jain temple.
Shravasti is also part of the Buddhist circuit within Uttar Pradesh. Other places covered in this circuit include Kapilvastu where the young Gautama Buddha lived, Sarnath where Lord Buddha gave his first sermon after attaining enlightenment and Kushinagar where Lord Buddha attained Mahaparinirvana.