It always a great experience to take photos in Bihar. In the last two weeks I had the chance to take some shots in my native village Minapur near Muzzafarpur and also had the privilege to visit Vaishali again after a long time.
Historically important, Vaishali, on the left bank of the Gandak river, is spiritually supreme. Lord Buddha visited this place frequently and at Kolhua, close by, preached his last sermon. To commemorate the event, Emperor Ashoka, in the third century B.C. erected one of his famous lion pillars here. A hundred years after the Mahaparinirvana of the Buddha - Vaishali hosted the second great Buddhist council. Two stupas were erected to commemorate this event. Jainism, too, has its origins in Vaishali, Lord Mahavir was born in 540 B.C. in vaishali and died in 468 B. C. in Pawapuri. Vaishali is then twice blessed and remains an important pilgrim center for both Buddhists and Jains, attracting also historians foraging for the past.
On the outskirts of Vaishali stood the grand double storied Buddhist monastery. Buddha often discoursed here. Much against his wishes, he extended spiritual enfranchisement to women by admitting them to the Holy Order which was founded here. Legend has it that on one of his visits, several monkeys dug up a tank for his comfortable stay and offered him a bowl of honey. This is regarded as one of the great incidents in the legends of Buddha, who announced his approaching Nirvana and preached his last sermon here. The Lichchhavis came a long way to bid him farewell on his way to Kushinagara and finally, they were stopped by a river created by Buddha. He once again paused to have a last of his much loved city. As a piety for Vaishali, he had already given his alms bowl which remained here for long time.
A life size-pillar beside a brick stupa at Kolhua commemorates Buddha's last sermon and announcement of his approaching nirvana. The lion faces north, the direction Buddha took on his last voyage. Adjacent to this is the tank associated with the monkeys offering honey. Nearby are the skeletal remains of a monastery where Buddha resided and a votive stupas dot the region.
Ashokan Pillar : Emperor Ashoka built The Lion Pillar at Kolhua. 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 Ramkund. This pillar beside a brick stupa at Kolhua commemorates Buddha's last sermon.
Budha Stupa-II : Excavation at this site in 1958 led to the discovery of another casket containing the ashes of the Lord Buddha.Kundalpur:Birth place of Lord Mahavira. It is believed that the Jain Tirthankar, Lord Mahavir was born over 2550 years ago. Mahavir is said to have spent the first 22 years of his life here.
On one side of the Abhishek Pushkarni is the Vishwa Shanti Stupa(World Peace Stupa) that adds to the glory of Vaishali. It is sixth in the series to be created in India after Rajgir, Dhauli, Leh, Wardha and Darjeeling by Nipponzan Myohoji under the guidance of Rev.Fuji guruji of Japan. The 125 feet tall peace pagoda, inaugurated on Oct 23, 1996, was constructed over the ruins of the sixth century BC stupa that also contained the casket with the ashes of Buddha. Buddha is believed to have preached his last sermon here which was the sixteenth chapter, Saddharmapundarika Sutra.