The ancient city of Sravasti, which is now represented by a series of mounds and covers an extensive area, known as Sahet-Mahet together with ancient sites- Orajhar, Panahiajhar and Kharahuwanjhar, is located in the newly created district of Sravasti, while a portion of it falls in the district of Balrampur, U.P. It is one of the main sites of Buddhist Pilgrimage as well as Jain Pilgrimage. Sahet is located in the very heart of Sravasti while Mahet is located 1 km North-East of Sahet. The earliest references of the city are available in Ramayana & Mahabharata as a prosperous city in the Kingdom of Kosala. It was the capital of North Kosala as mentioned in Puranas. The city is also mentioned in Panini’s Ashtadhyayi and in Pali Literature. The Town was founded by Sravasta, a king of Solar dynasty. In later times, it was known as Chandrikapuri and Champakpuri. Anguttara Nikaya mentions Kosala as one of the 16 Mahajanpada’s. Sravasti was not only the capital of a powerful Kingdom but was also a home for Philosophical speculations, where a number of Schools of thoughts had already established themselves before the advent of Buddha.
In 6th Century B.C. during the reign of Prasenjit, the place became famous due to its association with Buddha and Mahavir. Age old Stupas, majestic monasteries and several Temples in Sahet-Mahet area highlight the association of Buddha with Sravasti. After attaining enlightenment Lord Buddha was constantly moving and spreading his message of humanity, Universal Brotherhood & Salvation among different segments of the society, Buddha is said to have spent 24 Rainy season (Monsoon) here, after his disciple Sudatta Anathpindika built a monastery for him at Jetvana. He delivered many Sermons here and it was here only where is he supposed to have astonished rival teachers by performing miracles. A dacoit named Angulimal was transformed to a monk by Buddha here only. The City also has the pride in being the place where Vinay Rule, Jatakas and Sutras were first discovered.
Sravasti is also believed to be the birthplace of two Jain Tirthankars- Sambhavnath and Chandra Prabha. Lord Sambhavnath is believed to have taken Diksha at Sahatuk forest (hence Sahet) in the vicinity of Sravasti and went through hard penance till he attained the light of true knowledge in the same forest.
King Ashoka is said to have visited the place and erected two pillars on the eastern gate of Jetvana and Stupa in the vicinity. The place was also mentioned by Fa-hein and Hiuen-Tsang in their travel accounts (5th century B.C. and 7th century B.C. respectively). The ruins of Sravasti were excavated by Sir Alexander Cunningham and Hoey in 1863. Cunningham’s discoveries included several small Stupas and Temples in Sahet. In 1876, he identified the Jetvana monastery (Sahet) and discovered 10 temples, 5 Stupas, Number of Clay Seals, Votive offerings and few fragments of sculpture but no inscriptions.
How To Reach
Road-Sravasti is well connected by Road from Gorakhpur by NH 29 ext. SH-05 & SH-26 can also be accessed from Lucknow as well as from Ayodhya.Gorakhpur 196 km, Kushinagar 247 km, Kapilvastu 198 km, Lumbini (Nepal) 165 km, Varanasi 306 km, Sarnath 315 km, Lucknow 176 km, Bahraich 48 km, Ayodhya 83 km, Balrampur 16 km
Rail-Nearest Rail Head Balrampur (on NER Loop Line) is 16 km from Sravasti. Gonda is the better option which is situated on Main NER Railway Line.
Air-Nearest Airport is Amausi Airport Lucknow (186 km), Gorakhpur Airport is 204 Km but does not have daily flights. Both the Airports are connected to major cities of India.