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Kesariya

Kesaria or Kessaputta in Buddha’s time lies in the Champaran district, Bihar. Standing at a height of 104 feet with a circumference of almost 1400 feet, Kesaria houses the world’s largest Stupa dating back to around 200 to 750 AD. Lord Buddha delivered the renowned Kalama Sutta here, to the Kalama people, advocating followers to analyze his teachings thoroughly before accepting them. Being among the prime Buddhist pilgrimage sites in India, tourists throng to this historical site.

Legend has it that as Buddha left Vaishali to Kushinagar in the final year of his life; the Lichhivis joined Him refusing to leave. Buddha convinced his followers to leave, which disappointed the crowd. To cheer them Buddha gave his begging bowl to the Lichhivis. He even advised them to head to Vaishali after his death. A Stupa was built at this site to commemorate the incident, also visited by Hieun Tsang.

Initial height of the Stupa was 150 ft but a massive earthquake reduced it to 123 ft, which got reduced to its present height. Excavations revealed significant findings like Islamic coins, arrowheads, copper/ terracotta items, earthen lamps, decorated bricks etc. Many Buddha images in "Bhoomi Sparsh Mudra" and other sitting postures have been unearthed. Thus Kesaria Stupa, one of the Buddhist pilgrimage sites in Bihar reminds of Lord Buddha’s humanitarian approach towards people irrespective of their caste and creed.

Other Tourist Spots :

Vaishali : Lord Buddha delivered his sermons frequently. 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, II and Shanti Stupa.

Muzaffarpur : In ancient India, Muzaffarpur along with Champaran and Darbhanga formed the Lichchavi kingdom. Historical sites, displaying Buddhism India are aplenty.

Hajipur : Ashes of Ananda, disciple of Lord Buddha are preserved in a Stupa over which stands the Hindu temple, Ramchaura Mandir.

How to reach Kesaria :

Air : Patna’s is the nearest airport, well connected to major Indian cities
Rail : Hajipur is the closest railhead, Patna being another alternative.
Road : Kesaria has a good road network to cities like Muzaffarpur and Motihari.