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TOURISTS RENDEZVOUS - VAISHALI
Around modern Vaishali village many things are present such as Ashoka pillar, Raja Vashal Ka Garh, Abhishek Pushkarni, most round about the garh, etc. It is about in between Hajipur and Muzaffarpur and a metalled road passes through it.
The Garh of Raja Vishal
The garh of Raja Vishal is an ancient rectangular brick made large "Tilla". It is 10 feet higher than the adjacent land level. There is a moat around it. It is nearly 20 feet deep. In ancient days it was constructed for the safety of the fort. First of all in 1881 AD Dr. Alexander Canningham with the help of Mr. Garick did excavation work but did not achieve any particular success. The scientific excavations in 1903-04 was carried on by Dr. Blanch. His attempt bore fruit. As a result of his excavation the third (3) decades of Vaishali came in to light. Amongst the things found by Dr. Blanch the most important was 1000 seals of the Gupta period. On the measurements done by Dr. Blanch, the garh from North to South is 1650 feet and East to West it is 750 feet long.
In 1913-14, Dr. D.V.Spponer of the Indian archeological Survey did excavation work of the garh. After study of the things found during excavation, it was confirmed that they were of the 1st century. The things procured out of Dr. Spponer's excavations have been kept in the museum at Calcutta and Patna. In 1950, under the guidance of Sri Krishna Deo jee, Supt. Archeological Dept., Patna, another excavation work was carried out. The remains found were from Gupta period to Maurya period. In between 1958-62 for 5 years excavations were carried out by Dr. A.S.Altekar. After the study of materials it became clear that its formation would have been after Magadh Vaishali war.
Mr. Stivension in 1834 during his Vaishali tour had seen this temple under construction. This is a modern temple which was made by the co-operations of the villagers. Before this, eight metal statues were found which later got stolen away.
Hari Katora Temple
This temple was setup by a great saint Khaki Baba in about 1804-05. In this temple there is an idol of Lord Kartikeya made of black stone. It was found near "Kamman Chhapra" chaturmukhi Mahadeo.Grave of
Quzi Miran Suttari and Buddha Stupa
There is an old monument at the distance of 300 yards south-west of the garh of King Vishal. Its diameter runs about 142 feet and the height is 23 feet from the normal surface. Over this monument is a "Mazar" of famous Sufi Saint Shekh Miran Quazim Suttari and it was constructed by the people. It is called "Mirajee ka Dargah". Near this mazar, a Hindu Samadhi also exists. According to Dr. Kanningham it was a Buddhist monument. At this place an annual fair is held on the occasion of "Chaita Ram Naomi" and this fair is called "Bavan Fair". It is a matchless occasion of Hindu and Muslim unity and worshipping together. According to Dr. Kanningham, this fair was being held even before Mirajee had begun to propagate his mission. Dr. Kanningham had found two old and destroyed stones after the excavation of this place and was of the opinion that this was the very place where ashes of Lord Buddha were preserved. The famous Chinese traveller Uvan-Chang dittoed it.
In the year 1180 AD, the famous Imam of Macca, Md. Faquir concquered Maner. Among his sons, the middle one was Ismile Shekh Md. Faizullah Quazim Suttari. There is a great contribution of this dynesty in the propagation of Islam on the north side of the Ganga. Shekh Quazim was born in 1434. He travelled through middle India on foot and the famous muslim saint became disciple of Abdullah Suttari. The holy grave of his one son is at Rohua in Muzaffarpur district. His another son, Makhadum Wvais wanted to build a masjid over a Hindu temple at Vaishali and he was killed in this connection. Shekh Quanzim Suttari died in 1495. This place is more reverend in the eyes of even the Hindus.
Baban Tank and Jain Temple
On the west of the grave of Mirajee at the bank of a tank, one Hindu temple and a newly built Jain temple exist. In this Hindu temple, the statue of Lord Ganesha, Vishnu, Shankar, Parvati, Panch Buddha, Sapta Matrika and Jain Prophet Mahavira have been kept. It is said that these idols were found during excavations carried out in the front of this temple. Quite close to it, there is a newly built Jain temple where every year, on the occasion of Chait Sudi, jains worship with pomp grandeur. The temple has an idol of Lord Mahavira made of black stone inside it.
Kamman Chapra Chaumukhi Mahadeo
On the north-east of Vaishali garh in Kamman Chapra village there is a "Chaturmukhi Shivlinga" made of large black stone. The mouth of the Shivlinga consists of four gods viz. Brahma, Vishnu, Maheshwar and Lord Sun. Beneath this Shivlinga, three large circular "Argha" inscribed with some disfigured records which have not been read as yet. In 1945, in course of its excavation, one golden coin was obtained. It was found to be of Chandragupta-II "Vikramaditya" period.
The Birth-Place of Lord Mahavira and the Prakirt Jainology and Ahimsa Research Institute
In the north-east direction of Vaishali Garh, there is a village named Vasukund. It is the birth place of Lord Mahavira. Even today, this land is not tilled. A large Mahavira birth memorial is proposed to be built here. To the west of Lord Mahavira's birth place, a large building named Ancient Jainology, a non-violence research institute has been constructed. In this institute there are collection of many important books related to the "Prakirt Language" and jainology.
Abhishek Pushkarni (Kharauna Tank)
Possibly, it is that tank which the Lichchavi's used to sprinkle water over their heads. In the Buddhist literature, a very beautiful description of this tank can be found. In 1957-58, the famous learned Dr. A.S.Altekar did some excavation work around here. He found the remains of 3.25 feet thick and 15" x 9" x 2" brick wall around this tank. In course of that excavation, he also found some coins and idols of Shung period. In the opinion of many savants, this tank of Lichchavis was a small one originally but was broadened later in 2nd century BC.
The Monument on the Relics Casket of Lord Buddha
According to Buddhist literature, after the salvation of Lord Buddha, the Lichchavis got 1/8th parts of his ashes over which a large monument was built. In 1985, this monument was excavated by Dr. A.S.Altekar and inside, a stone casket was found containing some ashes and "Manka". That casket is now with the Patna Museum. The Archeological Survey of India has developed a beautiful garden around this monument.
On the north bank of Abhishek Pushkarni, the Archeological Survey of India has built a beautiful museum. The things found during the excavations of Vaishali have been kept in this museum.
World Peace Pagoda (Vishwa Shanti Stupa)
On the south bank of Abhishek Pushkarni, the tallest peace pagoda of the world is situated. In the year 1983, the President of Japan Buddhist Union Nichidatsu-Fuzee-Gurajee laid the foundation stone of this largest peace pagoda. The pagoda was then built by the religious institution named Nipponjan Myhoji and it was inaugurated on 23rd October 1996 by the honourable President of India, Dr. Shankar Dayal Sharma. A beautiful Japanese Buddhist temple is also located near by.
Baniya Chaturmukhi Mahadeo
One kilometer north of the Abhishek Pushkarni, in the village Bania, there is a Chaturmukhi (four sided) Shiv Linga made of black stone in a temple. According to historians, it was made by one of the Pal Kings.
About 4 kilometers north of Abhishek Pushkarni at Kolhua village there is a large "Chunar" stone pillar called "Lathis of Bhimsen" by the local people. However, the historians called it as "Ashoka Pillar". The height of this pillar from ground level is 30 feet and its diameter is 5 feet (average). Its upper end is like reverse lotus over which a stone piece is kept. On this stone one lion facing to the north can be seen sitting. It appears that entire pillar along with the lion is made from one single piece of stone. General Alexander Kanningham wanted to pull down this pillar but owing to low water from inside, he could not do so. The polish work done over the pillar is wonderful even from today's standards. The pillar has flowery inscriptions over it in a most typical script that has not been deciphered till today. The people have inscribed many names in which the oldest name is of G.S.Warloo (1780) and Rieuvenvaro (1792). Rieuvenvaro was a famous mathematician, solar scientist and eminent member of Bengal Asiatic Society. In the present time, the Archeological Survey of India is busy in detailed excavation work and has found a large number of motive stupa (monument) around the pillar which proves that this place is most important. The Chinese travellers also witnessed the Ashoka Pillar.
The Stupa and the Buddha Idol
There is a stupa just north to the Ashoka Pillar. Its height from the ground level is 17 feet and the diameter is of 65 inches. It is wholly made of bricks. The measurement of the brick used is 12" x 9.5" x 2.5". This stupa was fully excavated by the Archeological Survey of India itself but the output was nothing. Even in the literatures, there is an absolute scarcity of materials regarding this stupa.
Over the stupa, there was a temple previously which was seen in 1862 by General Alexander Kanningham. In this temple, there was a beautiful Pala period Bodhistva idol made of black stone. At present, this idol is with Vaishali Museum. Over this idol, something is inscribed which can be read as well. The Chinese traveller and Kanningham are of the view that here is the half-way monument of Ananda where Ashoka worshipped.
Manky Tank (Markathad, Ramkund)
On the south of Ashoka Pillar, a tank measuring 200 feet in length and 100 feet in width made of pucca brick is situated. It is called Rama Kunda. In real sense, Buddhist literature and the Chinese travellers descriptions referred to this tank as Markathad. Here the monkeys had offered honey to Lord Buddha. The measurement of the bricks used in its construction is 15.5" x 9.5" x 2" and water from river on the west used to drain into it. On the bank of the pond in the west direction, facilities for changing of clothes for the ladies and gents can be found. In course of excavation on the north-west direction of the pond, one large Nandi idol was also found. It is located around 100 feet south-west of Ramkund. In it some smaller and some large fooms are made. The measurement of bricks in this construction is same as that of the Ramkund. Nothing else of importance has so far been found in the course of on going excavation. According to the descriptions of Buddhist literature and Chinese travellers, this construction would have been the part of "Mahaban Kutagarsala and Mahaban Mahabir". Perhaps future will reveal something of importance as a result of detailed on going excavation work.
The Palla of Bhimsen
There are two large soil "Tilah" in the north-west direction of the Ashoka Pillar. The local people call it the "Bharof Bhimsen" or the "Palla of Bhimsen". These two "Tilah" are very ancient monuments and were made of soil at many places. Such monuments have been found in India. Fahain also describes in his reference.