Vaishali Travel Guide

 

 

places to visit


Relic stupa

Near the coronation tank is Stupa 1 or the Relic Stupa. Here the Licchavis reverentially encased on of the eight portions of the Master's relics, which they received after the Mahaparinirvana. After his last discourse the Awakened One set out for Kushinagar, but the Licchavis kept following him. Buddha gave them his alms bowl but they still refused to return. The Master created an illusion of a river in spate which compelled them to go back. This site can be identified with Deora in modern Kesariya village, where Ashoka later built a stupa.


Kutagarasala Vihara

Kutagarasala Vihara is the monastery where Buddha most frequently stayed while visiting Vaishali. It is located 3 kilometres from the relic Stupa, and on its ground can be found the Ananda Stupa, with an Asokan pillar in very good condition (perhaps the only complete Asokan pillar left standing), and an ancient pond.


Coronation Tank

A few hundred metres from the Relic Stupa is Abhishek Pushkarini, the coronation tank. The sacred waters of the tank anointed the elected representatives of Vaishali.


World Peace Pagoda

Next to the coronation tank stands the Japanese temple and the Viśvā Śānti Stūpa (World Peace Pagoda) built by Japanese Nichiren Buddhist sect Nipponzan-Myōhōji. A small part of the Buddha's relics found in Vaishali have been enshrined in the foundation and in the chhatra of the Stupa.

 

 

Vaishali was the capital city of the Licchavi, one of world's first democratic republics, in the Vajjian Confederacy (Vrijji) mahajanapada, around the 6th century BC. It was here that Gautama Buddha preached his last sermon before his death ca 483 BCE, then in 383 BCE the Second Buddhist council was convened here by King Kalasoka. Also in 599 BCE the 24th Jain Tirthankara, Mahavira was born and brought up in Vaishali republic, making it an important place in both religions




History

Even before the advent of Buddhism and Jainism, Vaishali was the capital of the vibrant republican Licchavi state.[13] In that period, Vaishali was an ancient metropolis and the capital city of the republic of the Vaishali state, which covered most of the Himalayan Gangetic region of present-day Bihar state, India. However, very little is known about the early history of Vaishali. The Vishnu Purana records 34 kings of Vaishali, the first being Nabhaga, who is believed to have abdicated his throne over a matter of human rights and believed to have declared: "I am now a free tiller of the soil, king over my acre." The last among the 34 was Sumati, who is considered a contemporary of Dasaratha, father of the Hindu god, Lord Rama

Numerous references to Vaishali are found in texts pertaining to both Jainism and Buddhism, which have preserved much information on Vaishali and the other Maha Janapadas. Based on the information found in these texts, Vaishali was established as a republic by the 6th century BC, prior to the birth of Gautama Buddha in 563, making it the world's first republic

In the republic of Vaishali, Lord Mahavira was born. Gautama Buddha delivered his last sermon at Vaishali and announced his Parinirvana there. Vaishali is also renowned as the land of Ambapali (also spelled as Amrapali), the great Indian courtesan, who appears in many folktales, as well as in Buddhist literature. Ambapali became a disciple of Buddha.

A kilometre away is Abhishek Pushkarini, the coronation tank. The sacred waters of the tank anointed the elected representatives of Vaishali. Next to it stands the Japanese temple and the Vishwa Shanti Stupa (World Peace Pagoda) built by the Nipponzan Myohoji sect of Japan. A small part of the Buddha's relics found in Vaishali have been enshrined in the foundation and in the chhatra of the Stupa.

Near the coronation tank is Stupa 1 or the Relic Stupa. Here the Lichchavis reverentially encased one of the eight portions of the Master's relics, which they received after the Mahaparinirvana. After his last discourse the Awakened One set out for Kushinagar, but the Licchavis kept following him. Buddha gave them his alms bowl but they still refused to return. The Master created an illusion of a river in spate which compelled them to go back. This site can be identified with Deora in modern Kesariya village, where Ashoka later built a stupa. Ananda, the favourite disciple of the Buddha, attained Nirvana in the midst of the Ganga outside Vaishali.