Vaishali Tourism and Travel Guide
History of Vaishali: The district of Vaishali came in to existence on 12/10/1972. Earlier it was the part of old Muzzafarpur district. Vaishali has a past that pre-dates recorded history. It is held that the town derives its name from King Vishal, whose heroicVaishali deeds are narrated in the Hindu epic Ramayana. However, history records that around the time Pataliputra was the centre of political activity in the Gangetic plains, Vaishali came into existence as centre of the Ganga, it was the seat of the Republic of Vajji. Vaishali is credited with being the World’s First Republic to have a duly elected assembly of representatives and efficient administration. The Lord Buddha visited Vaishali more than once during his lifetime and announced his approaching Mahaparinirvana to the great followers he had here. Five years after the Enlightenment in Bodh Gaya, Lord Buddha came to Vaishali, the capital of one the first republican states in the Ganga, Vaishali is bound by the hills of Nepal on the north and the river Gandak on the west. Hundred years after he attained Mahaparinirvana, it was the venue of the second Buddhist Council. According to one belief, the Jain Tirthankar, Lord Mahavir was born at Vaishali. The Chinese travelers Fa-Hien and Hieun Tsang also visited this place in early 5th and 7th centuries respectively and wrote about Vaishali.
The Lichchavi nobility came to receive the Enlightened One with a cavalcade of elephants and chariots bedecked with gold. As the Lord set foot on the soil of Vaishali, lightning and thunder followed by a heavy downpour purged the plague-infected city. The Buddha preached the Ratna Sutra to those assembled, and eighty-four thousand people embraced the new faith. It was also at Vaishali that Amrapali, the famous courtesan, earned the respect of the Sangha and a place in history, with her generous donations. The
neighbouring village of Amvara is said to be the site of Amrapali’s mango grove. Once when the Lord was visiting Vaishali, Amrapali invited him to her house and the Lord graciously accepted the offer. An overjoyed Amrapali, returning on her chariot, raised a cloud of dust. The Lichchavi princes going to meet the Buddha got enveloped in the dust and learnt of the Buddha’s forthcoming visit to her house. The Lichchavi princes wanted to exchange Amrapali’s honour for one hundred thousand gold coins. Amrapali Vaishalisteadfastly refused their offer and after the Buddha’s visit to her house she was purged of all impurities. She gifted her mango grove to the Sangha. Amrapali joined the order after realising the transitory nature of all things, including beauty.
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 Vshwa 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 on of the eight portions of the Master’s relics, which they received after the Mahaparinirvana. In the north is the Site Museum. It has an excellent collection dating from 3rd century BC to 6th century AD. The terracotta monkey heads in different styles are interesting. The Site Museum is open daily from 9 am to 5 pm. It is closed on Fridays. Entry is free. After his last discourse the Awakened One set out for Kushinagar, but the Lichchavis 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.
How to Reach?
By Air: Patna the capital city of Bihar is the nearest Airport from Vaishali. Patna is linked by regular flights to important cities like: Delhi, Kolkata Varanasi, Lucknow and so on. One can also reach Patna from Katmamdu.Vaishali
By Road: A convenient road network covers Vaishali connecting it to a number of important cities in Bihar, such as: Patna (55km), Hajipur (35kms), Muzaffarpur (37kms), which are in turn linked to rest of the country. Other important destinations in Bihar, namely: Bodhgaya (163kms), Rajgir (145kms), Nalanda (140kms) lie close by.
By Rail: The nearest railhead is Hajipur, which is only 35kms away from Vaishali. Important trains service the Railway Station of Hajipur regularly. One can approach Hajipur from major cities all over India like: Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai, Chennai and Varanasi.