Vaishali District in the state of Bihar, once the capital city of the Vajjian Confederacy, is one of the ancient cities and first republics of India as per records. The name of the city is also mentioned in the Mahabharata as well as in Buddhist and Jain epics. The name Vaishali was derived from King Vishal of the Mahabharata age.
Vaishali is also known as the land of the Buddha and the birthplace of Mahavir Jain (the founder of Jainism in India). The city is recognised as the place where Gautama Buddha gave his last preaching before his demise in 483 BCE. Later, King Kalasoka convened a second council for making it as a hub for both Jain and Buddhist religions.
Vaishali is surrounded by the Ganga in the south and the Gandak in the west. Muzaffarpur lies to its north and Samastipur in the east. Patna, the capital of Bihar, is linked with the famous Mahatma Gandhi Setu, to this city. The district is spread over an area of 2036 km in the semi tropical Gangetic plain.
Vaishali is renowned as a Buddhist pilgrimage spot. The ancient monuments and architectural work reveals the cultural importance of this city. The excavation work in this city has provided evidence of the Buddhas life, when he visited this place several times to preach his doctrines.
Tourists, including historians and archaeologists, from all over the world visit Vaishali to see its heritage. Apart from them, many pilgrims come in huge numbers to see the last remains of the Buddha. The Buddha Stupa-I and Buddha Stupa-II are the places where the last remains of the Buddha are preserved safely.
Stupa-I is known for preserving one-eighth of the sacred ashes of Lord Buddha, which were enshrined in a stone casket. Buddha Stupa-II was built in 1958, after the discovery of another casket comprising the ashes of the Buddha.
Besides these monuments, other places of interest here include the Lion Pillar at Kolhua, which was built by Ashoka. The pillar is 18.3 metres tall with a life-sized lion laid on top of the pillar. There are various popular places in Vaishali, like Bawan Pokhar Temple, Vishwa Shanti Stupa, Ramkund tank, Raja Vishal ka Garh, Shanti Stupa, Choumukhi Mahadeva, Vaishali museum, etc.
Vaishali is accessible through bus, train and flight. Vaishali is well connected to cities like Patna, Muzaffarpur and Hazipur by road. The nearest airport here is Patna, which is 70 km away. The best time to visit Vaishali is from October to March as the climate of this place is tropical with hot summers and chilly winters.