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.
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.
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.
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
- 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
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
- 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
Chaumukhi Mahadeva, Harikatora Temple, Lotus Tank and
Miranji-Ki-Dargah,Jain Temple etc.
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.
- 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
- 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
The nearest Airport is Patna (56 kms.)
Hazipur on the north eastern railway is the nearest railway station
Vaishali is well connected by road to Patna (56 kms.), Muzaffarpur
(36 kms.) and Hazipur (35 kms.)