Saturday, April 13, 2024

Tourism      Pilgrim Centers      Jain Pilgrimages      Bihar     Vaishali    


Place : Vaishali district, Bihar
Best Season : October to March
Significance : A major pilgrim center for Buddishts
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A major pilgrim center for Buddhists, Vaishali is a small village situated in Bihar state. Situated on the northern shore of River Ganges, it is located 55 kilometers from Patna bordered by hills of Nepal on the northern sid. The name Vaishali is derived from King Visala who ruled here, mentioned in the epic Ramayana. 

Believed to be one of the first cities in the world to become a republic, Vaishali holds special significance for Buddhist devotees. As per a legend, Vaishali was once infested with plague and with Buddha's arrival, the plague ended. At the excavated archaeological site of history dates back to the 6th century BC when it was a flourishing city of the Lichchavi clan. And while Pataliputra (capital of the Mauryas and the Guptas), held political sway over the Gangetic plain, Vaishali was the center for trade and industry.

It was here at Kolhua, Buddha delivered his last sermon and announced his nirvana. To commemorate this event, Emperor Ashoka, in the third century B.C. erected the famous lion pillars here. A century later, years after the Mahaparinirvana of the Buddha in 383 BC Vaishali became the venue of the second great Buddhist council. Two stupas were erected to commemorate this event. Jainism, too, has its origins in Vaishali. Swethambara sect believe that Mahavir, the last Tirthankar of Jainism was born in Vaishali in 599 BC and lived here till he was 22. The relics of one of Buddha's main disciples Ananda were enshrined at Vaishali.

Vaishali is also the place where the famous royal courtesan Amrapali lived. Known as Vaishali ki Nagarvadhu, she was a great devotee of Lord Buddha and she offered Buddha a mango orchard and impressed by his teachings she became a nun in turn.

The places also hosts Vaishali Mahotsava, an important festival which is held to celebrate the birth anniversary of Lord Mahavir. It is celebrated on the full moon day of Hindu month 'Vaisakh' (Mid- April).

Sight seeing in Vaishali

Ashokan Pillar

The Ashoka Pillar at Kolhua was built by the great Emperor Ashoka. Regraded among eight most important events of Buddha's s life, according to Buddhist literature, Kolhua is where Lord Buddha spent many years and offering honey to Buddha by the monkey chief. The Pillar is probably one of the earliest pillars built by Emperor Ashoka. Also known as Bhimsen ki Lathi, it is a single piece of very highly polished red sandstone, surmounted by a bell shaped inverted lotus capital, 18.3 m high. A life-size lion carved on top of the pillar. There is a small tank here known as Ramkund. This pillar beside a brick stupa at Kolhua commemorates Buddha's last sermon.

Chaumukhi Mahadeva

It is a lingam carved with four faces of Lord Shiva.

Bawan Pokhar Tank and Bawan Pokhar Temple

Built during the Pala period, it is an ancient tank. It stands as a historic monument and attracts many tourists. On the northern bank of the tank lies an old temple Bawan Pokhar. Built during Pala period, it enshrines beautiful images of Hindu dieties dating back to the Gupta and Pala period enshrined at one place and are worshipped together.

Buddha Stupa-I

It is here one eighth of the sacred ashes of the lord Buddha had been enshrined in a stone casket. The exterior of this stupa which is now in a dilapidated condition has a plain surface.

Buddha Stupa-II

Excavated in 1958 led to the discovery of another casket containing the ashes of the Lord Buddha.

Abhishek Pushkarn (Coronation tank)
It contains holy water which was used Lichchavi clan. All of Vaishali's elected representative were anointed here at his coronation. The Lichchavi stupa was located near here. Nearby a 500 m long Lotus Tank.

4km from Vaishali, Kundalpur is the birthplace of the 24th and last Tirthankar, Lord Mahavira. He was born here over 2550 years ago. Mahavir is said to have spent the first 22 years of his life here.

Raja Vishal ka Garh
The ruin occupies an area enclosed by a wall about 1 km long and 2 m high. It is said to be the ancient parliament house. Over 7,707 representatives of the federal assembly gathered here to legislate and discuss the problems of the day.

Shanti Stupa
On the south bank of the coronation tank, built by Buddha Vihar Society.

Hazrat Miranjika Dargah
Built over a ruined brick stupa, it contains relies of Hazrat sheikh Mohammed Qazin, a celebrated local saint of the 15th century. On Id-Ul-Fitr, thousands of Muslims gathered here to pay their respects to the saint.

Vaishali Museum
Set up in 1971, the museum has four galleries. The first gallery displays the terracotta objects like human figurines, mother and child, Durga, plaque of Buddha etc. The second gallery displays terracotta figurines of ram, elephant, horse, dog, monkey, birds, snake hood, seals and sealings, wheel, beads etc. Potsherds of NBP and PGW which include bangles, arrowheads, bones etc are displayed in third gallery. Earthen wares displayed in fourth gallery. The museum, closed on Friday. Entry time : 10 am to 5pm.

Entrance Fee :
Rs. 10/- per head
(Children up to 15 years free)

For more detials;
Contact : Neeraj Kumar Sinha
Assistant Superintending Archaeologist, Archaeological Museum, Archaeological Survey of India,Vaishali, District Vaishali, Bihar
Ph: 06224-229404