Hajipur in Bihar
Hajipur in Bihar, historically known as Ukkacala is the first village after crossing the sacred River Ganga at Patna. Among the many Buddhists pilgrimage sites in Bihar, Hajipur is of great significance as Lord Buddha delivered one of his discourses, here. He preached the Cula Goplalaka Sutta, a Middle Length Discourse. The ashes of Ananda, Buddha’s personal attendant for 20 years are also preserved here. Thus, Hajipur forms the prime Buddhist pilgrimage sites in India.
Legend has it that Ananda, realizing that his life was nearing its end, left Rajgir moving northwards. On knowing it, King Ajatashatru and his men followed Ananda requesting him to stay back. Hearing about Ananda’s arrival, people of Vaishali gathered on the banks of the Ganges to receive him. When King Ajatashatru caught up with Ananda he was amidst the river. Crowds that gathered on both riverbanks requested Ananda to come over to their side. To avoid disappointment, Ananda rose into air and disappeared into a ball of flames. With his ashes falling on both the banks, Stupas were built on the same spots on either side.
With the river changing its course over time, Stupa on the southern bank was washed away. The other, presently is a grassy mound over which the Hindu temple, Ramchaura Mandir has been built.
Other Tourist Spots :
Vaishali : Lord Buddha delivered his sermons frequently and the second Buddhist Council was also held here, after almost a century of his Mahaparinirvana. Buddhist pilgrimage sites mainly include Ashok pillar, Buddha Stupa I and II and Shanti Stupa.
Sonepur : A sleepy town, Sonepur awakens every year on Kartik Purnima with one of Asia’s largest cattle fairs. People from all over the world gather here to witness it.
Muzaffarpur : In ancient India, Muzaffarpur along with Champaran and Darbhanga formed the Lichchavi kingdom. Historical sites, displaying Buddhism India are aplenty.
How to reach Hajipur:
Air : Patna is the nearest airport, well connected with major Indian cities.
Rail : Hajipur has its own railhead; Patna is well connected with major Indian cities.
Road : Frequent bus and taxis ply from Patna and other cities in Bihar.