By Matthieu Ricard on February 02, 2011

Shravasti, located approximately 175 kilometers from Lucknow, is the place where the Buddha spend the longest period of his life, including twenty-five rainy seasons retreats. It is said that this is also the place where he began to perform a series of miracles.

The merchant Anathapindika, who was very devoted to the Buddha, as well as the local prince Prince Jeta and, later King Prasenajit (King of Kosala), each build a Vihara, a place for teaching and a residence for the Buddha. The park in which these were constructed became known as Jetavana Grove, a place where the Buddha gave countless teachings.

The Chinese pilgrim Hsuan Chwang states that in its heyday, Jetavana had temples, meditation halls, monks' quarters, bathing places, a hospital, and a vast library.

The ruins of Shravasti were rediscovered in 1863 by General Cunningham near the village of Sahet Market. The city ruins lie virtually untouched and are still enclosed by ramparts. The remains of the monasteries and stupas of Jetavana have been well excavated and the many images and other findings are contained in the Lucknow Museum.

A new park has been created around these ruins with flowers and trees shading the lawns.  In this case restoration has regained some of the qualities that made the place attractive of old; peace and tranquility pervade it.

No far, one can also visit Angulimala's stupa and Anathapindika's stupa, and an old temple dedicated to a Jain Tirthankara.
image The ruins of the place where the Buddha spend the longest period of time in his life
The stupa built in fulfillment of Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche's wishes