Shrawasti in UP to be accessible by air soon

Zee News, Nov 18, 2008

Shrawasti, India -- This world famous Buddhist site will soon be accessible by air with the airstrip being renovated, official sources said here on Tuesday.

The work of renovating the airstrip has been awarded to RITES Ltd and orders to construct a VIP Lounge and Tourist Security Post will be released soon, they said.

The surfacing work is nearly finished and as per directions of the aviation department sufficient area of adjacent land has been acquired by the administration, said Sub-Divisional Magistrate Babu Lal here.

There are temples and monasteries built by Sri Lankan, Myanmarese and Thai pilgrims among others.

Shrawasti in the Buddha's time

Savatthi was located on the banks of the river Aciravati (now called the Rapti river). It was the capital city of the kingdom of Kosala, and its king was called Pasenadi, who was a disciple of Buddha. It is a beautiful city with vast amounts of agriculture and diversity.

Buddhaghosa says that, in the Buddha's day, there were fifty seven thousand families in Savatthi, and that it was the chief city in the country of Kasi Kosala, which was three hundred leagues in extent and had eighty thousand villages. He stated the population of Sávatthi to have been 180 million. The road from Rajagaha to Savatthi passed through Vesali, and the Parayanavagga gives as the resting places between the two cities: Setavya, Kapilavatthu, Kusinara, Pava and Bhoganagara. Further on, there was a road running southwards from Savatthi through Saketa to Kosambi. Between Saketa and Savatthi was located Toranavatthu.

The Buddha passed the greater part of his monastic life in Savatthi. His first visit to Savatthi was at the invitation of Anathapindika, whom he met in Rajagaha. The main monasteries in Sravasti were the Jetavana and the Pubbarama. Savatthi also contained the monastery of Rajakarama, built by Pasenadi, opposite Jetavana. Not far from the city was a dark forest called the Andhavana, where some monks and nun went to live. Outside the city gate of Savatthi was a fisherman's village of five hundred families.
Anathapindika's Stupa in SravastiThe chief patrons of the Buddha in Savatthi were Anathapindika, Visakha, Suppavasa and Pasenadi. When Bandhula left Vesali he came to live in Savatthi.

Woodward states that, of the four Nikayas, 871 suttas are said to have been preached in Savatthi; 844 of which are in Jetavana, 23 in the Pubbarama, and 4 in the suburbs of Savatthi. These suttas are made up of 6 in the Digha Nikaya, 75 in the Majjhima Nikaya, 736 in the Samyutta Nikaya, and 54 in the Anguttara Nikaya. The Commentaries state that the Buddha spent twenty five rainy seasons in Sávatthi, this leaving only twenty to be spent elsewhere. Of the 25 rainy seasons Buddha lived in Sravasti, he spent 19 in the monastery named Jetavana, and 6 in the monastery called Pubbarama. Thus, Sravasti is the place where Buddha lived the longest amount of time, and it is the place where he gave the largest amount of discourses and instructions.

Savatthi is the place where the Twin Miracle (Pali:Yamaka Patihara) took place, in which Buddha made a demonstration of his supernatural powers for the purpose of silencing certain believers of other faiths who proclaimed that the Buddha was incapable of performing supernatural miracles. The Buddhist commentarial tradition says that Savatthi is the scene of each Buddha's Yamaka pátiháriya]; Gotama Buddha performed this miracle under the Gandamba tree.

The Chinese Pilgrim Hiouen Thsang found the old city in ruins, but recorded the sites of various buildings.

Source: Wikipedia