According to the epic Ramayana, Shravasti was a city created for Lav (one of the sons of King Rama).
Rama divided his Kingdom- the kingdom of Kosala into two parts and made Lav the king of Shravasti and another son Kusha the king of Kushavati- another town in Kosala.
According to the other Indian epic Mahabharata, the History of Shravasti in India can be traced to the legendary king Shravasta.
History of Shravasti teerth begins with the formation of Janpad by Yugadidev Shri Adishwar Prabhu. This place was the capital city of North Kaushal Janpad. Many Jain Kings such as King Jitari, the father of third Teerthankar Shri Sambhavnath Bhagwan and others passed here after Bhagwan Adinath.
King Prasanjeet ruled this place at the time of Bhagwan Mahaveer. He was a loyal follower of Prabhu Veer. The main listener of Prabhu Veer King of Magadh Samrat Shrenik has wedded the sister of King Parasanjeet.
This was also called by the names of Kunal Nagari and Chandrikapuri in the old days. Many Jain temples and Stoops (pillars) were present in this city. It is specified in history that greater king Samrat Ashok and his grandson King Samprati also constructed many temples and Stoops at this holy place. This teerth place is also descripting in “Brihatkalp”.
Chinese traveler Fahiyan has also described this holy place in his memories of traveling India during 5th century BC. One more Chinese traveler during the 7th century BC, Hun-Yen-Sang, has described this place as Jet van Monastery. Later this was called as Manikapuri.
This was ruled by King Mayurdhwaj during 900 CE, by King Hansdhwaj during 925 CE, by King Makardhwaj during 950 CE, by King Sudhavadhwaj during 975 CE and by King Suhridhwaj during 100 CE. All of them were Jain Kings belonging to Bhar Vansh. Dr. Bennet and Dr. Vincent Smith have also specified them as Jain Kings.
Work done by King Suhridhwaj for strengthening religion and defending the temples in his empires from Muslim attack will always taken as a great reminder of history. He also defeated Mohamed Gazanavi. Acharya Jinprabh Surishwarji has specified this teerth as Mahith in his granth “Vividh Teerth Kalp” in 14th century of VS.
During those days many Jin-home having big boundary walls, idols and Dev kulika’s were present in this city. Doors of the temple use to shut down automatically at the time of Sunset and opens in the morning. This was said to affect of Shri Manibhadra Yaksha.
A Lion use to visit the temple on the occasion of annual gathering and would go only after the completion of Aarti. Allaudin Khilji and his soldiers damaged this temple. Pandit Vijaysagarji and Shri Soubhagya Vijayji have described this teerth in 18th century.
Number of ancient idols and inscription were recovered after digging Sahet Mahet area near Shravasti village. These are kept in museums at Lucknow and Mathura. Archeological Department has acquired an ancient temple present near the Mahet Fort.
This place is described as the birthplace of Bhagwan Sri Sambhavnath. The damaged remaining at Sahet Mahet reminds the ancient ness of this place. At present this is the only temple present at this teerth place.
The Miracle At Shravasti
On the outskirts of the modern town of Shravasti in Uttar Pradesh are the remains of the Jetavana Monastery, and within it lie some of the most important monuments in Buddhist history. Jetavana includes the remnants of the hut in which the Buddha lived through more than 20 monsoon seasons; it has a stupa built over the mortal remains of two of the Buddha’s greatest disciples-Anathapindika and Angulimala. Shravasti is also where the Buddha performed his most famous ‘miracle’.
The area where the modern-day village of Sahet-Mahet lies was one of the most blessed places in the Buddhist world. Located 170 km from Lucknow, the site has a jetavana or wooded garden/grove bought by Anathapindika for his lord, the Buddha. The Buddha spent more time in the city of Shravasti than in any other city during his lifetime, and depending on the tradition you believe in, he spent between 24 and 26 “Varshavaas’ here. A varshavaas is a monsoon season and, according to Buddhist texts, the only time of year when a monk can spend more than two consecutive nights in the same place.
Shravasti and the Jetavana Vihara flourished for many centuries, first as a part of the Magadhan Empire of Ajatashatru and then as a part of the Mauryan Empire and the Kushana Empire. It was at the end of the Gupta Era in the 5th CE that the site was abandoned and fell to ruin.
Chinese Buddhist monk and traveller Fa Hien (early 5th CE) tells us that all the great cities at the foothills of the Himalayas had suffered a catastrophic decline in population. Chinese traveller Hiuen Tsang (7th CE) visited the Jetavana Vihara and recorded its various structures but he talks about it being abandoned and empty. Interestingly, the site shows evidence of a revival during the period of the Gahadhavala rulers in the 10th-11th CE.
The site was rediscovered by Sir Alexander Cunningham in 1862-1863, when he identified the mounds of Sahet and Mahet, and identified them as Jetavana and the capital city Shravasti, respectively, Cunningham proceeded to expose the remains of Mulagandhakuti and other temples as well as monasteries. He unearthed inscriptions of Gahadavala King Madanapal and his son Govindchandra, referring to donations made by them to the Jetavana Vihara.
The site was subjected to repeated archaeological excavations by Dr Hoe (1874-76 and 1884-85), Dr JP Vogel (1907-08) and Dr KK Sinha (1959), leading to the discovery of several structural activities. The Archaeological Survey of India and Kansai University at Osaka in Japan excavated the site for nine seasons under Prof Yoshinori Aboshi, revealing more or less continuous occupation from the 8th BCE to the 5th CE, and an overlying short, final phase around the 10th CE. A large number of terracotta human figurines, animal figurine beads, rattles, hop-scotches and skin rubbers have been found during the course of excavation. Silver and copper punch-marked coins, Ayodhya coins and Kushana coins were also found.