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Bihar  >>  Patna   >>    Bodh Gaya   >>    Rajgir   >>    Nalanda    >>   Pawapuri   >> Vaishali
VAISHALI

Vaishali was one of the Buddha's favourite resorts and he visited it on several occasions It was here that he had his famous encounter with the prostitute Ambapali, the incident is recounted in the Mahaparinibbana Sutta in The Long Discourses. Another discourse he delivered here is the long but interesting Mahasihanada Sutta from The Middle Length Discourses. According to the Mahayana tradition the famous Vimalakirtinedesa Sutra was preached here too.


About a hundred years after the Buddha's Parinirvana the city was the venue for the Second Council where hundreds of monks from all over northern India met together to sell settle a dispute about Vinaya rules and to chant the suttas together. The main things to see today are the famous lion pillar, the museum, the large Kharauna Lake, the Japanese temple and the stupa built over the Vijjians' one eighth share of the Buddha's ashes.

Location

Vaishali is situated in the eastern Indian state of Bihar, around 55 km off Patna, the capital of the state. Vaishali extends from latitude 25° in the North to longitude 85° in the East. The town, an important place for both the Buddhists and Jains, is well connected to other important cities in Bihar by road.

History

Believed to be the first republic in the world, Vaishali has taken its name from King Vishal of the Mahabharat age. He is said to have constructed a great fort here, which is now in ruins. Vaishali is a great Buddhist pilgrimage and also the birthplace of Lord Mahavira. It is said that the Buddha visited this place thrice and spent quite a long time here. The Buddha also delivered his last sermon at Vaishali and announced his Nirvana here. After his death, Vaishali also held the second Buddhist Council.

The great Lichchavi clan ruled Vaishali in the sixth century BC, and the empire extended up to the hills of Nepal. The Lichchavi state is considered to be the first republican state of Asia. According to the Jataka stories, (Buddhist story books giving the account of different births of the Buddha), Vaishali was ruled by some 7707 kings of the Lichchavi clan. Ajatshatru, the great Magadh King, annexed Vaishali in the fifth century BC and after that Vaishali gradually lost its glory and power.

Pilgriamge Attractions of Vaishali

Ashoka Pillar

The Lion Pillar at Kolhua, was built by Emperor Ashoka. It is made of a highly polished single piece of red sandstone, surmounted by a bell shaped capital, 18.3 m.high. A life-size figure of a lion is placed on top of the pillar. There is a small tank here known as Ramkund.

Bawan Pokhar Temple
An old temple built in the Pala period stands on the northern bank of a tank known as Bawan Pokhar and enshrines beautiful images of several Hindu gods.

Buddha Stupa - 1
The exterior of this stupa which is now in a dilapidated condition has a plain surface. One-eighth of the sacred ashes of the Lord Buddha were enshrined here in a stone casket.

Buddha Stupa - II
Excavation at this site in 1958 led to the discovery of another casket containing the ashes of the Lord Buddha.

Shanti Stupa
On the south bank of the Coronation Tank built by Buddh Vihar Society.

Kundupur ( Birth Place of Lord Mahavira )
4 kms. It is believed that the Jain Tirthankar, Lord Mahavira was born over 2550 years ago. Mahavir is said to have spent the first 22 years of his life here.

Coronation Tank
Coronation Tank or Abhishekh Pushkarni, its water were believed to be sacred in the old days and all of Vaishali's elected representatives were anointed here before their swearing in.

Other Places of Pilgrimage

Chaumukhi Mahadeva, Harikatora Temple, Lotus Tank and Miranji-Ki-Dargah,Jain Temple etc.

Excursion

Patna
55 kms. Turning over the pages of early Indian history one come across the name of the pre-eminent city of Patliputra. Located at the site where Patna is today, this city saw the rise and fall of India's first major Kingdoms. Third Buddhist Council was held here.

Other Attractions
Vaishali Mahotsava :
Vaishali Mahotsava is held to celebrate the birth anniversary of the Jain Thirankar, Lord Mahavir on the full moon day of the month of "Vaishakh" (mid-April).

Arts and Crafts

Several villages around Vaishali make delightful home made clay toys.

Sikki Work
The humble blade of grass is hand-woven into delightful baskets and mats. Lac Bangles. These hand made Lac Bangles from nearby city Muzaffarpur.

How to reach there
Air
The nearest Airport is Patna (56 kms.)
Rail Hazipur on the north eastern railway is the nearest railway station 35 kms.
Road Vaishali is well connected by road to Patna (56 kms.), Muzaffarpur (36 kms.) and Hazipur (35 kms.)


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