Vaishali: Where Buddha announced his impending death

Situated on the northern shore of River Ganges, Vaishali is bordered by hills of Nepal on the northern side and touches timid river of Gandak on the west. As per a legend, Vaishali was once infested with plague and when Buddha entered Vaishali, it rained heavily expunging the town from all the infections.
Ashokan Pillar Vaishali
                                  Ashokan Pillar Vaishali
Alexander Cunningham had identified the present site of Vaishali in 1861-62 A.D on the basis of Chinese records and reconfirmed it by limited excavations (1880-81 A.D). Subsequently two significant excavations were conducted by T. Block (1903-04) and D.B Spooner (1913-14 AD). In recent years, archaeologist had undertaken the excavations to have the scientific view of the ancient site. The major reports on the Vaisali remains are by Krishna Deva and Vijayakant Mishra (1950), A.S Altekar, B.P. Sinha and Sita Ram Roy (1957-61).
Vietnam Temple Vaishali
                                       Vietnam Temple Vaishali
Vaishali is one of the oldest cities of India with an immense wealth of traditions and historical legends. In sixth century B.C, It was the capital of powerful Republic of Lichchhavis. It is the birth place of twenty-fourth jain Trithankara, Lord Mahavira. This place is closely associated with Buddha & Buddhism. Lord Buddha visited vaishali several times and spent some of the varshavas and announced here his impending death. The miracle offering honey by the monkeys to Buddha occurred at this place. A Stupa was erected by the Lichchhavis on the holy relics of Lord Buddha. The remains of the stupa can be seen at this place. Vaishali is further celebrated in the history of Buddhism as the site of second Buddhist council.
Abhishek Pushkarni Vaishali
                                          Abhishek Pushkarni Vaishali
At the modern Kolhua, Maurayan emperor Ashoka erected a lion pillar and a brick stupa. During excavations, some remains of the votive stupas of Sunga and Kushana period were also unearthed along with remains of Monasteries, Kutargarshala and a tank called MArkatahrada in Buddhist literature.

Muzaffarpur Bus Stand
                                       Muzaffarpur Bus Stand
 

In the early fourth century A.D, The Lichchhavi princes, Kumardevi wedded Gupta king Chandragupta. Due to this matrimonial alliance Vaishali gained prominence as a seat of viceroy. After the Gupta period, Vaishali lost its glory. Some remains of its prosperity were however noticed by the Chinese pilgrim Hiuen-T-Sang.

Vishwa Shanti Stupa

Vishwa Shanti Stupa (World Peace Pagoda, 7 AM to 5 PM)
 

The Vishwa shanti stupa is erected according to the teaching of the Saodharma Pundarika Sutra (The lotus Sutra) to disseminate love and peace and to create "The pure Land" on the eart the construction of the stupa all over the world was initiated by the most Ven. Nichidatsu Fuji Guruji, After seeing the tragedy of atomic bombs in Hiroshima and Nagasaki of Japan, at the end of the World war 2. The Vishwa Shanti Stupa, Vaishali has been built by Nipponzan Myhoji and Rajgir Buddha Vihar Society. Through contribution of devotees in India and Japan, The Lord Buddha's relics have been enshrined on the foundation and on the top of the stupa.

 

Technical Data; (Designed by Dr M Ohoka of Japan)
Overall height --- 38 m (125 feet)
Base Diameter ---- 36 m (118 feet)
Dome Diameter ---- 20 m (65 feet)
Pushkarni and Vishwa Shanti Stupa
               Pushkarni and Vishwa Shanti Stupa
 

Building materials: Overall concrete structure with brick walls in-between
Cement Used --- 440 meter
T/S Reinforcement --- 100 meter
Brick Used -- 240,000 Nos

* Construction Period: Started in April 1990 and completed in Oct 1996.
* Foundation done by riling engineers’ ltd Patna.
* Supervised by Shri Suresh Prasad of Darjeeling.
* Masons, Labours, & Technicians were local from Vaishali.
* Four Statues and Kota (Top Part of Stupa) were sculptured by shri sudarshan sahu (Padma Shree) or Puri, made of fiber glass and polished with gold.
* Lions, Lamps & Dharma Chakras were sculptured by Shri Lakshmi Pandit of Patna.
* Flooring done by Shri Jitendra N Prasad of Vaishali.
Buddha Relic at Vaishali
Buddha's Relic Stupa

this is one amongst the eight original relic stupas built over the corporeal remains of Buddha. According to Buddhist traditions, after attaining magaparinirvana his body was cremated by the Mallas of Kushinagar with a royal ceremony befitting an universal king and the mortal remains were distributed among the eight claimants including the Lichhavis of Vaishali. Seven others were Ajatshatru the king of Magadha, Sakyaas of Kapilvastu, Bulis of Alakappa, Koliyas of Ramagram, A Brahmin of vethoweep and mallas of Pava and Kushinagara.
 

This was originally a small mud stupa measuring 8.07 meters in diameter raised in 5th century B.C. Later During Maurya, Sunfa and Kushan periods it was encased with bricks and enlarged in four phases which increased the diameter to 12.00 meters. The Ayaka projection noticed towards south and east is probably the earliest example of Ayakapattas.
Fruits of Bihar
                                             Big Lemon of Bihar
Excavation of the Stupa was conducted by Kashi prasad Jaisalwal research institute, Patna in the year of 1958. The most remarkable discovery is the relic casket of stone partly filled with ashy earth besides a small conch, two glass-beads, a fragmentary piece of Gold leaf and a copper punch marked coin.
Buddha Relic
Vaishali Site Museum (09 AM to 05 PM, Closed on Friday, 10 INR per person, photography prohibited)
Established in 1971 (Incorporating the older Vaishali Sangh Museum), It houses the antiquities from various mounds of Vaishali, both excavated and surface collections. These antiquities covered a very wide span of time stretching from Circa 600 B.C to 1200 A.D. On displayed are, stones, sculptures, terracotta, both Human and animal figurines, Ivory, Bone and Shell objects, Ornaments, Seals and sealings, ancient coins including silver punch marked and cast copper coins.
Remains of Ancient Vaishali
Remains of ancient Vaishali, Kolhua
Visiting hours: From Sunrise to Sunset
Entry fee: Indian (5 INR per person), Foreigners (100 INR per person), Videography Charge (25 INR),
 

Kolhua, a part and parcel of ancient city of Vaishali marks the spot where a local chief of monkeys had offered a bowl of honey to Lord Buddha. The event is regarded as one of the eight most significant events of his life. According to the Buddhist literature, this was the place where Buddha spent many a rainy seasons, allowed nuns to the Sangha for the first time, announced his approaching nirvana and converted Amrapali from a proud court dancer to a nun.
Rural Side of Bihar
                                         Rural Side of Bihar
 

The recent excavations conducted by archeological survey of India have revealed remains of Kutagarshala, Swastika shaped monastery. A Tank, Number of votive stupas and miniature shrines in addition to main stupa and the Ashokan pillar which were partly exposed earlier.

To the Rural Bihar
                                                To the Rural Bihar

The pillar locally known as Lat is 11.00 meters high monolithic polished sand stone column surmounted by a seated lion capital. It is probably one of the earliest pillars of Ashoka which does not bear the usual edict. But a few letters in shell character of Gupta period are engraved on it.
 

The Brick stupa was erected to commemorate the event of offering honet to Buddha by the monkey chief. It was originally built during Mauryan period and susequently enlarged in Kushana period by raising the height and providing brick paved circumambulatory path. Further brick encasing and addition of Ayakas at regular interval took place during Gupta and Late Gupta periods.

Faces of Bihar
                                           Faces of Bihar
 

The adjoining tank has been identified as "Markat-Hrid" supposedly dug by the monkeys for Buddha. This brick lined seven tiered tank measuring approximately 65*35 meters in dimension has two bathing Ghats on southern and western wings.
 

Beads of Semi-precious stones, terracotta figurines, seals and sealing, bricks embedded with semi-precious stones inscribed potsherd and a unique terracotta figure of crowned monkey are some noteworthy antiquities found during excavations of the this site.
Remains at Kohlua

Swastika Shaped Monastery
This twelve room monastery looks like a swastika on plan having three rooms on each arm attached to common verandah around an open central courtyard. Having entrance towards east the monastery has a toilet chamber attached to its southern wall. It was constructed during Gupta period probably for the nuns.
Stupa and Ashokan Pillar at Vaishali
                                    

Stupa and Ashokan Pillar at Vaishali
Kutagarshala
Kutagarshala represents the spot where Buddha used to stay during the rainy seasons spent at Vaishali. Excavations have exposed three phases of its construction. Originally it was small chaitya built during Sanga-Kushan period. Subsequently it was enlarged to a lofty temple in the second phase during Gupta period. And Finally in Third phase the temple was converted into a monastery by providing a number of partition walls during post Gupta times.
Ashok Pillar Vaishali
                                       Ashok Pillar Vaishali

How to reach Vaishali: Most of the travelers visit Vaishali and Kesariya as a day trip from Patna and it can be done through a private taxi (7 INR per km). Vaishali is 60 km away from Patna with sparse connectivity through private buses.  You can board these private buses from Mithapur bus stand which will reach Vaishali in some 3 hours.
 

Where to stay in Vaishali: Buddhist pilgrims find shelter their respective monasteries. There are monasteries from various countries such as Vietnam, Cambodia, Sri Lanka, and Thailand etc. You can stay in of these temples those are scattered around the Vaisali or alternatively hunt for usual accommodation type those is rare in Vaishali. Fortunately Bihar Tourism runs a Guest house in Vaishali where you can get a room in the range of 300 INR. Besides government guest house, I had not found any fully functional hotel/resort sort of accommodation.  One was under construction and one was sort of abandoned. Patna or Muzaffarpur are better options for overnight stay.
 

Where to eat: Roadside tea stalls, snack vendors and Dabbas are frequent. There is one AC restaurants opposite to Pushkarni which is functional on irregular basis.

Paddy fields near Vaishali Bihar
        

Important note about Public Transport in Bihar | Getting away from Patna

 

Public transport in Bihar may look bamboozling in the beginning and will definitely examine your patience. Throughout the state, Private busses and shared autos dominate the inter city/intra city commutation. If you are averse to public transport then you may have hard times in Bihar. State transport also got busses but those are very few and you rarely get glimpse of those. The upside is that there is no place in Bihar where you cannot reach by public transport so all you need to hop into the right vehicle and enjoy the serenity of sluggish displacement and thousand splendid odor. Sometimes you may have to cover 60-70 km on shared autos so get yourself prepared for cheap-hitch hiking. It takes its toll but reward is overwhelming. Most of the locals in Bihar are fortunate to enjoy roof top travel on buses, jeeps etc.
 

Patna has got 2 bus stands. Government busses depart from Gandhi Maidan Bus stand and these are very few.  Connectivity to Rajgir, Bodhgaya, and Gaya is still better in comparison to rest of Bihar.
 

All the private buses depart from new bus stand which is also known as Mithapur bus stand. It’s a huge dusty ground which may strike you from a distance and may cause little anxiety. Unlike modern world bus stands, it’s splendidly disorganized, polluted and stinky with no platforms or anything.  All this hustling and bustling around the bus stand produces a mild version of dust storm which may trigger a heroic feeling within. There is no information center so you need to ask around and that too as many times as you can. Despite all this effort, you may end up boarding the wrong buses so double check with driver again. This episode repeated with me couple of times which made me bit frustrate until I reconciled myself to go with the flow of Bihar. Private buses are in surplus on all the routes. If you don’t get direct one then these buses will drop you to the nearest junction from where you can hop into shared autos or something to reach your destination. Most of these buses takes off routes through villages so don’t get hassled if you are using location apps on your cell phone.

Trains: Trains connect to all the major towns of Patna. Trains are indeed the fastest mode of transport and a great relief from painfully slow buses. From Patna, One can get direct trains to Muzaffarpur (For Vaishali, Kesariya), Raxaul (for Nepal), Munger, Bagalpur (For Vikramshila), Gaya (For Bodhaya), Rajgiri etc. While in Bihar, I will strongly recommend to leverage trains. In most of the trains One can also get a seat in general compartments for short distance journey.

Golden tip of travel in public transport in Bihar: Plug out ear phones, gaze out of window seat, throw your watch if you one and go with the flow. It will be very seldom that Bus takes one of the suggested routes from google maps so don't get restless. It will come to right track soon. Never hesitate to talk with bystanders, they will be your greatest help in Bihar

Can you give me the exact

Can you give me the exact location of Swastika Shaped Monastery?

Can you give me an exact

Can you give me an exact location of Swastika Shaped Monastery?

Thanks for the help! I would

Thanks for the help! I would like to check Is there any public transport to Vaishali by public bus from Hajipur?
Do you know from Hajipur how to arrive Kunsinagar?

Hi Johann, I had pretty much

Hi Johann,

I had pretty much lost track of public transport which i took in Bihar. Its everywhere but really slow and clumsy. You can find buses and autos between cities. everything is slow and buses are not frequent. I am sure you can find public transport from Hajipur to Kushinagar

Amazing in Bihar

Amazing in Bihar

Thanks... keep dropping by...

Thanks... keep dropping by...

AMAZING MY BIHAR.

AMAZING MY BIHAR.

Indeed it is amazing.

Indeed it is amazing.

Amazing my Bihar

Amazing my Bihar

Yes.. it is amazing.

Yes.. it is amazing.

Vaishali is good place for

Vaishali is good place for religius person

i feel very peace

Vaishali is very peace full place

Yes, it ia Ashish.

Yes, it ia Ashish.

Ha ha! Yes, I visited both

Ha ha! Yes, I visited both vaishali and Bodhgaya and I found it much better than in MP. Though accommodation and food options in MP are much better! We'll, Bihar is not as bad as we see in TV!

Yes, Indeed it is much more

Yes, Indeed it is much more beautiful and pleasant than it is portrayed. Glad to hear that you enjoyed there. Accommodation in Madhya Pradesh is better because it draw more number of tourists.

+- Vishnu

I will be visiting vaishali

I will be visiting vaishali in few days and your tips on public transfer makes me a bit nervous. I have traveled by public transport in UP and MP. Do you think it is much different?

In UP, State transport buses

In UP, State transport buses are good. In MP, it is at times similar to Bihar. But i think there is a direct bus to Vaishali in the morning. Don't get nervous its all fine.

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