Vaishali,World's First Republic & Archaeological Site

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.

VaishaliThe 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.

There is a grand Buddhist monastery on the outskirts of Vaishali, where Lord Buddha often discoursed.

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.

Nalanda, Ancient Seat of Learning

Nalanda University, Ancient Seat of LearningRuins of Nalanda University – Ancient Seat of Learning – Photo Source : Creative commons

Nalanda University, Seat of World’s Most Ancient International Residential University and an ancient religious center of learning, is in Bihar state of India. It was the world’s leading University from 5th century to 1197 A.D. and was ransacked and destroyed in 1193 by by a Turkish Muslim army. They also drove the monks away from the site and set the University library on fire.

There are many ruined buildings at “Nalanda University Ruins Archaeological Complex”, which were part of the University, spread over 1.5 lacks square meters area, which attracts a lot of tourists. There is “Nalanda Archaeological Museum”, which is on the opposite side of the “Nalanda University Ruins Archaeological Complex site”. Another ancient University named “Tiladhaka University” was also found in Nalanda.

Some of the other tourist places in the Ancient Seat of Learning are the following. “Nava Nalanda Mahavihara”, is a new study and research center at Nalanda, for Pali Literature and Buddhism. “Hieun Tsang Memorial Hall”, is a new hall in memory of the Great Ancient Chinese Traveler, Hieun Tsang (602–664), who visited Nalada on his trip to India and has written about the Ancient Seat of Learning in his book. ‘Gridhkuta hill top’, near Rajgir, used to be one of the favorite meditation site for Gautham Buddha.

How Do I Go to Nalanda University?

Rajgir railway station at 12 kilometers distance, is the nearest station to Nalanda. Gaya station is the most convenient railway station, which is connected to other major cities, at 95 kilometers away. Patna airport is the nearest airport to Nalanda University Ruins site, at around 90 kilometers distance. Bodh Gaya is at 110 kilometers distance from Nalanda. Cycle Rickshaws are the mode of local transport in Nalanda and there are no taxis available for local travel.

Where can I Stay While on a Visit to Nalanda University?

Rajgir, the famous Buddhist center, is the nearest convenient place to stay for a tourist to the city of Ancient Seat of Learning. Bihar State Tourism Development Corporations has three tourist Bungalows at Rajgir . There are other private hotels also.

Sanjay Gandhi Biological Park Patna

Sanjay Gandhi Jaivik Udyan or Sanjay Gandhi Biological Park Patna
Sanjay Gandhi Jaivik Udyan.

Sanjay Gandhi Jaivik Udyan alias Sanjay Gandhi Biological Park is situated at Patna , the capital city of Bihar state, India.

Sanjay Gandhi Jaivik Udyan is also called Sanjay Gandhi Botanical and Zoological Garden.  It is also known as Patna Zoo.

Sanjay Gandhi Jaivik Udyan is the most visited place in Patna. Patna Zoo was first opened as a botanical garden in the year 1960 and later in 1973 as a Zoo; making a botanical and zoo thus qualifying as a Biological park.

Sanjay Gandhi Jaivik Udyan is one of the largest national parks of India and has more than 300 species of trees, shrubs and herbs inside the park. There is a nursery for medicinal plants in Sanjay Gandhi Biological Park Patna. There is also a fern house, rose garden and an orchid garden inside the Sanjay Gandhi Biological Park Patna. Sanjay Gandhi Biological Park Patna also has an Aquarium.

Patna Zoo has around 800 animals including many wild animals and is among one of the largest zoos in the country. Tiger is a major wild animal here. Leopard, Elephants, Himalayan black Bear, Black bucks, spotted dear, hippopotamus, etc are some of the other animals in the Sanjay Gandhi Biological Park Patna. More than 100 alligators are there in the park some of which were bred and born in park.

The Great One-horned Rhinoceros breeding has been done successfully in the Sanjay Gandhi Biological Park Patna several times.

Patna zoo offers free morning walk to general public in the morning and is the only such zoo in India offering walking facility

How do I Go to Sanjay Gandhi Jaivik Udyan alias Sanjay Gandhi Biological Park Patna?

Sanjay Gandhi Jaivik Udyan is near Bailey Road, at the capital city of Bihar state and  is well connected to other parts of the country.

Patna airport is the nearest airport and Patna Railway station the nearest major railway station.

For more details, please contact: The Director, Sanjay Gandhi Biological Park, Patna. Telephone number +91-0612-2217455.

If you are on a tour of India, especially on a north India tour package,  try to make it to Sanjay Gandhi Biological Park Patna.  Delhi Patna distance is 1035 kilometers.

Pillars of Mauryan king Ashoka

Pillars of Mauryan king Ashoka
The original Lion Capital of Ashoka

Ashoka the Great, Buddhist Mauryan king, erected a series of pillars in different states of North India around the third century B.C. . They pillars are mainly found in the states of Utter Pradesh, Bihar, Delhi , etc, which were part of the Mayura dynasty those days.

Pillar at Sarnath is the most famous among the pillars of Ashok. This pillar has four lions in standing posture with Ashoka Chakra (wheel) at the center. There is also an elephant, galloping horse, a bull and a lion; these being separated by the wheels of the chariot over the bell shaped lotus. Each of these four animals have great significance in Gautama Buddha‘s life. The Ashoka pillar was carved out of a single block of sandstone.

Ahhoka Chakra has much significance to Indians and India. It is the official emblem of Government of India. The Ashoka Chakra (chakra means wheel) is there at the center of India’s national flag. 

19 pillars are surviving currently at different parts of North India; more were said to have been damaged . These pillars were erected by the great Ashoka, who was attracted to Buddhism, to propagate the teachings of the Lord Gautama Buddha.

Each of these pillars are 40 to 50 feet in height.  These pillars were quarried from Chunar near Varanasi and dragged and erected at the current sites.

Emperor Ashoka is estimated to have build 33 Edicts, which included minor rock edicts, major rock edicts and pillar edicts. These rock edicts are spread across India, Pakistan, Nepal and Bangladesh.

Where are the Other Ashoka Pillars Located?

Apart from the pillars at Saranath, there are 2 Ashok pillars in Delhi. There are Ashok pillars at Vaishali,  Lauriya-Areraj and Lauriya-Nandangarh (all in Bihar state). Another Ashoka pillar is there at  Allahabad (in Utter Pradesh state).

Bodh Gaya, Gautama Buddha’s Enlightenment Site

Bodh Gaya, Gautama Buddha's Enlightenment SiteMahabodhi temple in Bodhgaya

Bodh Gaya, Gautama Buddha’s Enlightenment Site is at Gaya district of Bihar state, India.

BodhGaya is the place where, it is believed that the Gautama Buddha attained Enlightenment and hence is one among the four sacred pilgrimage centers for Buddhists.

Bodhgaya is a UNESCO World Heritage Site in India.

Prince Gautama Siddhartha, 26 centuries ago, reached Phalgu near Gaya and sat under a Bodhi tree and meditated . After 3 days and 3 nights of meditation, he is said to have attained Enlightenment and the name ‘Budda’ was adopted. Decedent of the original Bodhi tree is still there at the site.

Dalai Lama, the spiritual leader for the Tibetans,  visits this place quite frequently during year ends. October to March is the main pilgrimage season.

Maha Bodhi Temple is at a distance of 110 kilometers from Patna. Emperor Ashoka, after 250 years of Buddha’s Enlightenment,  is said have visited Bodhgaya and founded this temple.

How Do I Go to Bodh Gaya, Gautama Buddha’s Enlightenment Site?

Bodh Gaya International Airport is at 13 kilometers distance.

BodhGaya is at 12 kilometers from Gaya city and NH 83 connects Bodh Gaya with Gaya City.

‘Gaya Junction’, at 12 kilometers distance, is the nearest railway station. Patna, the capital of Bihar state, is at a distance of 110 kilometers, which is well connected to all parts of the country by train services.

Accommodation at BodhGaya

If you are looking for cheap and decent accommodation at Bodh Gaya, Tara Guest House is an ideal one costing as low as Rs 800/- plus tax and Rs 900/- plus tax. Charity backpackers, Tikabigha, BodhGaya is another cheap option. They have rooms costing Rs 350 per day on-wards. Room rates are subject to change and please check the actual current rates, before booking.