Vaishali

Vaishali is a Buddhist town in the state of Bihar. Many ancient holy texts mention this city in their scriptures. In this holy city, Gautama Buddha delivered his final sermon before he attained Parinirvana. Ananda stupa near the Ashoka Pillar in Kolhua was constructed to honor this event. The Pillar of Ashoka which is a major tourist attraction in the city was built during the reign of Mauryan emperor Ashoka. This lion pillar made of polished sandstone has Buddhist inscriptions and is also the national emblem. Kutugarasala Vihara located in the vicinity was the monastery where Buddha stayed many times. Coronation Tank or Abhishek Pushkaran was the place where monks used to take a holy dip in the waters.  

The Vaishali Museum is a must-visit for the history geeks. It showcases objects which were discovered during the archeological excavation of the city. This includes rare sculptures of Buddha from the Pala period.  The museum also has ancient idols depicting Vishnu, Uma Shankar and animals like snakes and horses.

Vishwa Shanti Stupa, also known as World Peace Pagoda has gleaming golden glass statues. This  125 feet tall domed structure was built by the Nipponzan Myohoji sect of Buddhists. The stupa is the epitome of harmony and tranquility.

Monuments:

Ashoka Pillar: Ashoka Pillar also known as the Lion Pillar is one of the most important tourist destinations in Vaishali. It is near Aanand Stupa and was built by Emperor Ashoka. It is believed that Buddha delivered his last sermon here and hence an important point for the Buddhists.

Buddha Stupa I and II: This stupa is one among the eight original stupas built on the corporeal remains of Buddha, therefore, it is highly revered by the followers of the Buddhist faith. It is a historical gem and more focus should be paid on its maintenance. 

Ananda Stupa: It’s a place where the second Buddhist Council was convened in 383 BC by King Kolaska. 

Vishwa Shanti Stupa: This Stupa with the beautiful message of peace was erected by the Japanese Government. It houses a four-round statue of Buddha.

Raja Vishal’s Garh: Only the remains of what was supposed to be the fort of King Vishal of the Maurya Dynasty remains. History buffs must visit this place. 

Ramchaura Mandir: Located in Hajipur, a town in Vaishali District, this temple holds great significance among Hindu devotees, as this place is supposed to have the footprints of Rama.

Natural Places:

Nature lovers must visit the Coronation Tank called Abhishek Pushkaran. Its water is said to be holy and used to be used in the coronation ceremony of the ancient kings of Vaishali. The serene view and the scenic beauty of the area attract tourists in large numbers. 

Food:

Vaishali is rich in Bihari cuisine. Some of the popular dishes are; Litti Chokha, Kadhi Chawal, and Khichdi. 

Activities:

Those looking to enhance their knowledge in the history of Vaishali and Buddhism must-visit the Archaeological Museum. The museum consists of four galleries that house terracotta objects, stone chattravali, moulded bricks, ancient weapons and artifacts, earthenware, etc. One can visit the nearby town of Hajipur to get a glimpse of the Nepal Temple which is known for its wooden architecture. Adventure buffs must make it a point to attend one of the largest cattle fairs in Asia that is held in Sonepur, a town in the Vaishali District. At Sonepur Mela, besides animal trading,  events like magic show, tantric practices etc are also popular.

Shopping:

Mahnar Bazar is the main market in Vaishali District, Hajipur is famous for its fish market. One can visit the nearby city of Patna for proper shopping. Markets like Patna Market, Hathua Market, Maurya Lok and malls like PnM mall can cater to the overall needs of the travelers.