Sankasia / Sankassa:
(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 the 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 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 earlier days the city was known as Sankassa.
During the course of time several monasteries and stupas were built in Sankasia and it became one of the major centers for Buddhist Pilgrimage.
Major Attractions in Sankasia:
(Buddhist Pilgrimage Sites)
1. Asoka Pillar: The Asoka pillar is perhaps the most known structure at Sankasia. King Asoka installed this pillarto mark the place of Buddha’s descend from heaven during his pilgrimage in the third century BC. The pillar was surmounted by an elephant capital, out of which only the elephant capital survived.
2. 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.
3. Buddhist Temples and monasteries: The Burmese and Sri Lankan Buddhist monasteries in Sankasia are definitely worthwhile a visit.