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
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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