(The place where Buddha descended from heaven)
In Sankasia Buddha descended from heaven after preaching Abhidhamma to his mother and the congregation of Devas in the Trayastrimsa heaven. Buddha ascended into the Trayastrimsa heaven after performing the twin miracles at Sravasti.
After spending three months of rainy retreat in heaven, he informed the Sakka Devaraj about his intention of returning to earth.
Sakka created three ladders; one made out of gold another of silver and the third made out of jewels. The top of each ladder was placed on the peak of Mount Meru and the bottom at the gate of Sankasia city. Buddha descended upon the jeweled ladder, the Devas and Brahmas accompanying him on each side, with the Devas taking the gold ladder and Brahma the silver ladder.
The miracle was witnessed by a large congregation of people at the gate of Sankasia and the location of Buddha’s descend from heaven became a very important Buddhist pilgrimage destination.
Sankasia is located in the village of Basantpur in Farrukhabad, district of the state of Uttar Pradesh. Today Sankasia may be a very small place but at the time of Buddha, it was a large bustling city. During the course of time, several monasteries and stupas were built in Sankasia.
Major Attractions in Sankasia:
(Buddhist Pilgrimage Sites)
- Asoka Pillar: The Asoka pillar is perhaps the most known structure at Sankasia. King Asoka installed this pillar to mark the place of Buddha’s descend from heaven during his pilgrimage to Sankasia in the third century BC. The pillar was surmounted by an elephant capital, out of which only the elephant capital survived.
- Site of Buddha’s descend from Heaven: Near the Asoka pillar, there is a high mound made of bricks which marks the spot where Buddha descended from heaven after preaching his mother and the congregation of Devas. This mound is 6 meters in height and the diameter of the structure is 49 meters. When the ladders, on which Buddha and the Devas descended, disappeared the neighboring princes built three brick ladders to mark the event. Large Buddhist monasteries were established around the foundation and the ruins of those monasteries are still present in Sankasia.
- Buddhist Temples and monasteries: The Burmese and Sri Lankan Buddhist monasteries in Sankasia are definitely worthwhile a visit.
The historical site of Sankasia remains largely unexplored and excavations of nearby places and mounds are expected to reveal several of the historic monasteries mentioned by pilgrims of ancient ages.
Among the eight major places of Buddhist Pilgrimage destinations, Sankasia is the least developed and unexplored site but nevertheless it is a no less important destination of Buddhist Pilgrimage Tours in the world.
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