Kesariya Stupa

Kesariya is an Indian town situated in Buhar in the district of East Champaran. King Ashoka built a stupa in this site and is thought to be the biggest stupa in India if not the whole world. Kesariya Stupa is approximately 110km from Patna which is the capital of Bihar. The rich heritage of the Buddhist architecture depicts ancient times of the site. The stupa was discovered in 1998 and has attracted so many visitors to the region. It is believed to date back to 200AD and 750AD, and has been associated with Raja Chakravati who was the 4th Century ruler.

The stupa stands at 104feet, with a circumference of 1400 feet. It is believed to have stood at between 123 feet and 150 feet but must have been affected by the earthquake that shook India in 1934. During the strong quake, part of the stupa sunk to the ground, reducing it to its current stature.

The stupa has an interesting history as well. It is believed to have been built to honor the site where Lord Buddha must have spent the last days of his journey while preparing to attain Nirvana. History has it that he handed over his begging bowl to the Licchivis, who are the people of Vaishali as he requested them to get back to Vaishali after his death. The stupa is therefore said to have been built by the Licchivis to venerate the end life of Lord Buddha. At first, it was a mud stupa before it gained its current stature during the Maurya, Kushana and Sunga periods.

For the Buddhists, the stupa serves as a holy site for pilgrimage the world over. With its towering height, it is a reminder to people of the Lord Buddha’s last days and what he stood for; which is a gentle and compassionate approach towards everyone. During excavation that took place in 1998, a number of items were found in the place. Some of them included arrow heads, Islamic coins, earthen lamps, decorated bricks, terracotta items and copper items. The discoveries led to Kesariya Stupa becoming one sought after tourist attraction site in the world. Most visitors love the ancient appearance of the site, not to mention the history behind the stupa. Another adorable feature is the favorable climate of the region. Some places that have attracted large number of visitors include Vaishali and Kushinagar.

Vaishali is an ancient village related to Ramayana. It has several scenic sites like the double storey Buddhist monastery, some ruins of the monastery, the Kolhua pillar, Bhawan Pokhar temple, stupas of Buddha, Vaishali museum and a mound often referred to as Raja Vaihala Ka Garh. The endemic rice fields as well as huge mango groves have surrounded the place to give it an ideal look.

Kushinagar has a lot of significance to Buddhist followers. The place is believed to have housed Lord Buddha during the last stages of his life. At the same time, his last sermon was given here before passing on. It is also associated with Jain saint known as Mahavira. Some of the notable places to visit in Kushinagar include Rambhar Stupa, the peace pagoda, Mahaprivirnivana Temple, Mathakuar Shrine, Kushinagar museum and Nirvana stupa.

Keseriya Stupa is accessible by road, air and rail, making it a perfect destination for one who owns a car as well as people who enjoy taxi rides. The road to the place is connected to several others like Muzzarffarpur and Motihari. The nearest railway station is Kesaria Station with a broad gauge network. The nearest airport is Patna which is approximately 150km to Kesaria Stupa. There are plenty of hotels to stay at. They include Nikko Lotus and the Royal Residency. A holiday to Kesariya Stupa is a must for people who love history and a wonderful landscape.

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