Vaishali, considered to be World’s First Republic and currently an Archaeological site, is situated in the district with same name, Vaishali, in Bihar state of India.
The relic Stupa at Vaishali, where ashes of Buddha are believed to be kept. Photo Source : Creative commons Licensed under CC BY 2.5.
In 6th century B.C., representatives were elected for the assembly in Vaishali. It is believed to be World’s first Republic. Archaeologists have unearthed a huge mound with a seating capacity of 700 people, which is believed to be World’s first legislative building. There is a Coronation tank called “Abhiskek Pushkarn”. It is believed that all elected representatives were anointed here before they swear-in as members of assembly.
Lord Gautam Buddha visited Vaishali quite frequently and lord Gautama Huddha’s last sermon was at a place called Kolhua, which is very close to Vaishali. In third century B.C., the Great Mauryan emperor Ashoka, erected an Ashoka Pillar here, to commemorate this. The second great Buddhist council was held in Vaishali, hundred years after the Mahaparinirvana (which means ‘death’) of the Gautham Buddha. Two stupas (mound-like hemispherical structure containing ashes of Gautham Buddha and his cousin and monk Ananda) were erected at Vaishali to commemorate this event. Buddha’s ashes are believed to have been kept here. A portion of Buddha’s ashes are also kept at Patna Museum.
Lord Mahavir of Jainism was born at Kundalpur (on the outskirts of Vaishali at 4 kilometers distance) around 2550 years ago. Lord Mahavir lived here till he attained the age of 22. Thus Vaishali has emerged as a famous pilgrimage center for the Buddhists and Jains.
There is a museum at Vaishali which contains some of the archaeological remains received from Vaishali. Close to the museum is the stupa where the the stone casket relic of ashes of Gautham Buddha are believed to be kept.
Bawan Pokhar Temple is one among the different tourist sites in Vaishali, which is an old temple, built during the Pala period, on the northern banks of Bawan Pokhar.
How do I go to Vaishali?
Patna is the nearest airport to Vaishali at around 70 kilometers distance. Hajipur Railway station is the nearest one at 35 kilometers distance, while Muzaffarpur Railway station is at around 40 kilometers distance. Vaishali is connected to all these cities by roads.