Tourist Places To Visit In Vaishali
Vaishali is an old city. Its history can be traced back to the Mahabharata period when the name Vaishali came from King Vishal. It is said that the king constructed a fort which today is in ruins. According to recent history, Vaishali is well known for being the place where democracy began way back in 600BC, that is earlier than Ancient Greece. Vaishali is also connected with both the great religions, Buddhism and Jainism. While Buddha gave his last sermon here and announced his enlightenment, Lord Mahavira was born here. Vaishali is also known because of its famed courtesan Amrapali. Today Vaishali is in Bihar and the district has 1572 villages. There are several tourist places to visit in Vaishali and a large number of these places are connected with Buddha and Mahavira.
The Ramchaura Mandir, a Hindu Temple is dedicated to Rama and is located in Hajipur in Bihar. It is said that this mandir has been in existence since the days of Ramayana and Shri Ram visited this temple when he went to Janakpur, the kingdom of his wife Sita. The footprints of Lord Rama are preserved here and worshipped. There is a tradition of celebrating Lord Rama’s birth each year and this day is known as Ram Navami. Each year on this day a small fair is organized too. Patna Museum is the designated repository for all archaeological objects that were excavated from Ramchaura.
Kaun Hara Ghat
Kaun Hara Ghat is among the more significant ghats of Ganga-Gandak and it is here that for centuries cremation and worshipping have been performed. The genesis of the name is based on an old legend. The legend says that the well- known fight between the elephant and the crocodile as in the scriptures is the source of the name Kaunhara. The scriptures refer to Lord Vishnu interfering in the fight so that he could save Gajaraj, the elephant who was his devotee being pulled into the water by the crocodile. Finally Lord saved the elephant and killed the crocodile thereby granting him eternal salvation. Today this story is depicted at the railway station of Hajipur as well as some other places.
Bateshwar Nath Temple
Bateshwar Nath Temple is the oldest temple in Bihar. Dedicated to Shiva, this temple is in Hajipur. Folklore has it that this temple was excavated from inside a banyan tree that was a thousand years old. Vasant Panchami which falls some time in February/March is celebrated at this temple each year. Prior to Maha Shivratri for a month a fair is organized as well. Visit this place for a total spiritual experience. You will feel excellent vibrations in the vicinity of this ancient temple.
Baithakji Hajipur or Aacharya Prabhuji Ki Baithak, as the Lord Krishna Temple in Baithakji Hajipur is also called, is among the oldest of temples located in Hajipur. This temple was built to honour Vallabhacharya Shri Mahaprabhuji, who during the 52 odd years of his short life, toured all over the Indian subcontinent on foot and spread the word of Pushti Bhakti Marg or the Path of Grace, wherein the way to attain god was not in knowledge or even penance, but in love. During these parikaramas or tours, Vallabhacharyaji gave sermons on Shrimad Bhagvat, the life of Shri Krishna and how to love and serve him unconditionally like the milkmaids of Gokul or his mother Yashoda did. Wherever he gave his sermons, these Baithak Temples came to be; and it is believed that these places echo with his calm and serene energy even today.
Mahatma Gandhi Setu
The North and the South of Bihar are linked by a very important bridge named as the Mahatma Gandhi Setu. This critical bridge has been built over the Ganges near the village of Jadhua and it actually links Patna with Hajipur. Among the longest of the several river bridges in Asia, this bridge has a length of almost 6km. Mahatma Gandhi Setu has four lanes of pre-stressed RCC and it was commissioned for service in 1982. Crossing the bridge is quite an experience since one can enjoy the panorama of all lush green banana plantations while one crosses the bridge.
Sonepur Cattle Fair
There is a small area in Sonepur, located right opposite Hajipur, where each year there is a Sonepur Cattle Fair. The fair is held over a fortnight that starts from the full moon day in Kartik during October and November period. The fair occurs during the winter and it becomes a lively affair. The fair is not only the biggest such fair in Asia but visitors also enjoy other aspects that include circus and folk plays or tamasha as well as folk dances or Nautanki besides the sale of just about any animal from birds to elephants and products that include winter garments, agricultural equipment and furniture in wood. One can stay either in a tent or in a luxury Swiss cottage that is erected on top of sand dunes right next to River Gandak.
Ashoka Pillars are the structures that were erected by Ashoka, the king of the Mauryan Empire. These structures were built during the period 268-232 BC all over India. These represent his conquests and dynamic rule. Today only 20 pillars stand in the country. These pillars are the earliest such edicts in stone in the country. In Bihar the Ashokan Pillar is now a great draw for tourists. The pillar is also known as Bhimsen’s Lathi and is made of a highly polished single piece of red sandstone. The pillar is 18.3m tall, faces the north and sits on a lotus that is inverted.
Established in 1971, the Archaelogical Museum in Vaishali was built with the main idea of preserving all the antiquities that were found in and around Vaishali. There are 4 galleries in the museum of which the first gallery displays diverse items in terracotta. These include different sizes of moulded brick tiles and various images of the Bodhisattva. Terracotta images of animals that include elephants and monkeys and birds are displayed in the second gallery along with figures of beads and wheels besides rattles and cast coins among others. You will also find items such as antlers and arrowheads, miniature vessels, bowls, spouts and lamps in the third gallery.
Buddha Stupa I and II
Vaishali has several popular artefacts. These include the Ashoka Pillar and the pillar of peace besides Buddha Stupa I and II. The first of these stupas, Buddha Stupa I, contains a stone casket inside which is placed 1/8th of the sacred ashes from the worldly remains of Lord Buddha. The plain exteriors of the stupa however are in a dilapidated condition. Buddha Stupa II was discovered in 1958 during the process of excavation which was carried out that year. This stupa too has a casket which contains the mortal remains of Buddha.
Kutagarshala Vihara in the town of Vaishali is situated about three kilometre away from the heart of the town. Built by the Licchavis and also referred to as the Buddha Stupa II, this stupa was built for Sakhamuni. The vihara has a verandah and an open courtyard besides the remains of a very old and ancient monastery. The story has it that a monkey had run away with the bowl containing the Lord’s alms and thereafter it had climbed up a tree in order that it could fill it with some honey. Thereafter it offered the bowl filled with honey to the Lord who accepted it with grace. It seems that the monkey leapt among the trees and then onto the stump of a tree that is the site of the present vihara.