Well of you curious readers would be wondering how come the post is related to a place in Bihar i.e Vaishali than what was supposed to be an exciting place in Jaipur. Well the simplest reason is the very fact that it was hardly 2 days here at home in Patna and my father planned from nowhere a trip to Vaishali (Bihar).
Well Vaishali is good place to visit if people want to really learn Buddhist Culture in more detail. Moreover after my visit to Rajgir two years back i was pretty much knew what I was going to be confronted with out there.
Yet i have taken this time to collect some of the useful information for all my readers.
REMAINS OF ANCIENT VAISHALI, KOLHUA
Kolhua, a part and parcel of ancient city of Vaishali marks the spot where the local chief of monkeys had offered a bowl of honey to Lord Buddha. The event is regarded as one of the eight most significant events of his life according to Buddhist literature. This was the place where Buddha spent many a rainy season, allowed Nuns to the Sangha for the first time, announced his approaching nirvana and converted Amrapali from a proud court dancer to a nun.
The recent excavations conducted by Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) have revealed the remains of Kutagarshala, Swastika Shaped monastery, a Tank, number of votive stupas and miniature shrines in addition to main stupa and the Asokan pillar which were partly exposed earlier.
The pillar locally known as LAT is 11 metres high monolithic polished sandstone column surmounted by a seated lion capital. It is probably one of the earliest pillars of Asokan Ear which did not bear the usual edict. But a few letters in the shell character of the Gupta period are engraved on it.
The brick stupa was erected to commemorate the event of offering honey to Buddha by the monkey chief. It was originally built during the Mauryan period. Subsequently, it was enlarged in the Kushana Period by raising the height and providing brick paved circumambulatory path. Further brick encasing and addition of Ayakas at regular intervals took place during the Gupta and the late Gupta periods.
The adjoining tank (above picture) has been identified as “Markat- Hrid” Supposedly dug by the monkeys for Buddha. This brick lined seven tired tank measuring approximately 65X35 metres in dimension has two bathing Ghats on Southern and Western wings.
Beads of Semi-precious stones, Terracotta figurines, Seals and Sealing, Bricks Embedded with semi precious stones, inscribed potsherd and a unique terracotta figure of crowned monkey are some noteworthy antiquities found during excavations of this site.
After visiting the Stupa Site at Kolhua we visited the Vishwa Shanti Stupa some 1 km from the site of the stupa.
We wrapped up the journey with the Visit to Harihar Nagar Temple and visiting the banks of the sacred river Gandak (see below), both are important in the Hindu Mythology.