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Vaishali has a past that pre-dates recorded history. It is held that the town derives its name from King Vishal, whose heroic deeds are narrated in the Hindu epic Ramayana. In the historic period Vaishali was the capital of the Republic of Vajji that coexisted with the mighty Magadhan Empire with its capital at Pataliputra. The scholars of ancient Indian history believe that Vaishali was the first republic in the whole world that had a duly elected assembly of representatives and a very efficient administration. Lord Buddha visited Vaishali many times during his long life time and was in this city when he announced to his followers his approaching passing on to Mahaparinirwana. About a century after Mahaparinirwana of Lord Buddha the second Buddhist council was held in this city. This city is also of great importance for the Jain religion followers because their 24th Tirthankar or teacher, Lord Vardhaman Mahavir was born here. The Chinese Buddhist pilgrims Fa-Hien and Hieun Tsang visited this city in the fifth and seventh century CE and wrote extensively about it in their journals. A famous courtesan, Amrapali resided in this city. She made the offering of a grove to Lord Buddha and was blessed by him to become a Buddhist nun. The places of interest in Vaishali are:
Ashokan Lion Pillar at Kolhua is made of a highly polished single piece of red sandstone, surmounted by bell shaped capital that is 18.3 meters or 60 feet high. A life-size figure of a lion is placed on top of the pillar. There is a small pool known as Ramkund in its vicinity.
Bawan Pokhar Temple is an old temple built in the Pala period on the northern bank of a water pool known as Bawan Pokhar and enshrines beautiful images of several Hindu gods.
Buddha Stupa-I that has a rather plain exterior surface is an important Buddhist pilgrim center because one-eighth of sacred ashes of Lord Buddha were enshrined in a stone casket in it.
Buddha Stupa-II was discovered in an archaeological excavation in 1958 and also contained a stone casket with ashes of Lord Buddha.
Raja Vishal ka Garh is a huge mound with a circumference about one Kilometer or 0.6 miles. Its wall is nearly 2 meters or 7 feet high and has a 43 meters or 141 feet wide moat around it. It is said to be the ancient Parliament house. Over seven thousand representatives of the federal assembly gathered here to legislate and discuss the matters of the day.
Shanti Stupa was constructed by the Buddh Vihar Society on the south bank of the coronation pool.
Kundupur (Birth place of Lord Mahavira) is about 4 kilometers or 2.4 miles from Vaishali. The twenty-fourth Jain Tirthankar, Lord Vardhaman Mahavir was born here more than 2550 years ago. He lived in this city for the first twenty-two years of his life.
Abhishekh Pushkarni or Coronation Pool was considered to contain sacred waters in the period of the ancient republic. The site was chosen for the swearing-in of the elected representatives of Vaishali.
Other places of interest are Chaumukhi Mahadeva Temple, Harikatora Temple, Lotus Pool, Miranji-Ki-Dargah and Jain Temple.
Vaishali is close to Patna and most visitors stay in the hotels in the state capital city.
Distance from Vaishali in Kilometers and Miles:
Patna: 56 kilometers or 35 miles
Muzzaffarpur: 36 kilometers or 22 miles
Hajipur: 36 kilometers or 22 miles
Madhubani: 133 kilometers or 83 miles