(Last Updated on : 04/07/2015)
Vaishali is a district in Bihar
. It is named after the ancient city of Vaishali
, which is mentioned in the Mahabharata
as well as in Buddhism
. It is a part of Tirhut
division. The district is also home to the Barela Salim Ali Zubba Saheni Wildlife Sanctuary from the year 1997. Vaishali district comprises of three sub-divisions; namely Hajipur, Mahnar and Mahua.
Historical Significance of Vaishali
Vaishali is an important site for the Jains as well as the Buddhists. Vaishali was a prosperous town and a centre of Jain culture
. This place has been mentioned in Ramayana
also. The legend is that the Ikshvaku
queen Alambusha had a son Visala, who laid the foundation of the city named Visalapuri. Sumati
was one of the descendants of Visala. King Visala has also been mentioned in the Puranas too. Lord Mahavira
had also visited this place. The Shwetambara Jains consider Vaishali to be the birthplace of Mahavira
. However this is not accepted by all the Jains.
For the Buddhists too Vaishali is an important place. The second great Buddhist Council was held at Vaishali. Lord Buddha
permitted the nuns to enter the sangh at the request of Ananda, his favourite disciple, and his foster mother, Maha Prajapati, became the first Buddhist nun at Vaishali.
Geography of Vaishali
The district of Vaishali came in to existence on 12/10/1972. Earlier it was the part of old Muzaffarpur district
. Vaishali district is a part of Tirhut division. Vaishali district occupies an area of 2,036 sq km (786 sq mi). The town of Vaishali is also known as Vishala. Outside the town, leading uninterruptedly up to the Himalaya
, is the Mahavana, a large, natural forest.
Demography of Vaishali
According to the 2011 census Vaishali district has a population of 3,495,249. The district has a population density of 1,717 inhabitants per sq km. Its population growth rate over the decade 2001-2011 was 28.58%. Vaishali has a sex ratio of 892 females for every 1000 males, and a literacy rate of 68.56%.
Places to Visit at Vaishali
Some of the notable visiting sites of Vaishali are:
Relic Stupa: This stupa is near the coronation tank. Licchavis encased one of the eight portions of the Master's relics, which they received after the Mahaparinirvana. Lord Buddha gave them his alms bowl but they still refused to return. The Master created an illusion of a river which forced them to go back.
Kutagarasala Vihara: This is the monastery where Buddha stayed frequently while visiting Vaishali. It is located about three kilometres from the relic Stupa. On its ground one can see the Ananda Stupa, with an Ashokan pillar as well as an ancient pond.
Coronation Tank: Abhishek Pushkarini is the coronation tank which is a few 100 m away from the Relic Stupa.
World Peace Pagoda: The world peace Pagoda or Vishwa Shanti Pagoda was built by Japanese Nichiren Buddhist sect Nipponzan Myohoji. This is near to the coronation tank.
Festivals at Vaishali
A fine modern temple has been built, with an image of Mahavira Vardhamana. The temple has been artistically erected and has started attracting pilgrims. On the occasion of Mahavira Jayanti
a big fair is held which is attended by several people. Apart from this, the main festival of Bihar is Chhath Puja
, normally celebrated in the month of October or November.