Venuwan at the time of Lord Buddha was a large bamboo grove where Sangha of 1000+ Bhikkhus spent rainy season. Xuanzang and Fahien have given a detail description of monuments in and around Venuwan and a few of them as mentioned by Fahien and Xuanzang are yet to be identified. Ascertaining the area of old Venuwan is a must for identification of the monuments. Most of these monuments are in range of 4 to 5 Li from Venuwan as they existed during Xuanzang and Fahien days. The present campus of Venuwan is very small compared to the entire area of the old Venuwan (upto 2 to 3 Li) as was seen by these visitors.
In the travelogues we find mention about a Karanda Venuwan, Venuwan Vihara & the Karanda Lake. Trying to explore the possibilities of locations of some of these sites,
1. Southern boundary of Karanda Venuwan is 1 Li from the north gate- the southern end of present venuwan has not changed much and probably we can assume it to be same as it was during the Buddha and Xuanzang time.
2. Kalanda Lake is 200 paces from Venuwan Vihara, remains of a monastic unit are around 200paces from the existing lake. But it is not clear if lake is a part of Venuwan and if it is then how far north the Venuwan extended. Because as per the Fahien the Ajaatsatru relic stupa was 300 paces west of west gate of new fort and 13th century Tibetan pilgrim Dharmasvamin has mentioned that Ajaatsatru relic stupa was in the campus of Venuwan. This means that the Venuwan extended far north upto the western side of the Ajaatsatru new fort.
3. The eastern extent are not of much concern, but as Xuanzang had mentioned the Ajaatsatru relic stupa is east of Venuwan and if it is true then as per the Dharmasvamin 13th century Tibetan pilgrim, he mentioned that the stupa was part of Venuwan and in that case the eastern end of Venuwan was probably extended up to the foot of Vipula Hill, which suggests that the present eastern boundary is 100mts short of the edge that must be present during the Buddha and Xuanzang era.
4. Western end of the Venuwan is most important because it is in this direction that Saptanni house cave is mentioned by Xuanzang. There is a vast expanse of land towards the western side and besides that Xuanzang says that the Saptanni stone house was amidst a dense bamboo grove. With that information we can assume that the entire area was a bamboo forest and a clear cut demarcation of boundaries cannot be ascertained.
Xuanzang and Venuwan
Fahien and Venuwan
The coordinates for Venuwan- 25º00' 60"(Lat) 85º 25' 08"(Long)