Vaishali

Vaishali district is a district in Bihar, India. It is named after the ancient city of Vaishali of Mithila, which is mentioned in the Mahabharata as well as in Buddhism and Jainism.
It is a part of Tirhut division.Vaishali derives its name from King Vishal. Even before the advent of Buddhism and Jainism, Vaishali was the capital of the vibrant Vajji confederation, since before the birth of Mahavira (c. 599 BC), which suggests that it was perhaps the first republic in the world, similar to those later found in ancient Greece.In that period, Vaishali was an ancient metropolis and the capital city of the republic of the Vajji confederation of Mithila, which covered most of the Himalayan Gangetic region of present-day Bihar. Very little is known about the early history of Vaishali. The Vishnu Purana records 34 monarchs of Vaishali, the first being Nabhaga, who is believed to have abdicated his throne over a matter of human rights and believed to have declared: “I am now a free tiller of the soil, king over my acre.” The last among the 34 was Sumati, who is considered a contemporary of Dasharatha, father of the Hindu god, Rama. Numerous references to Vaishali are found in texts pertaining to both Jainism and Buddhism, which have preserved much information on Vaishali and the other mahajanapadas. Based on the information found in these texts, Vaishali was established as a republic by the 6th century BCE, prior to the birth of Gautama Buddha in 563 BCE, making it the world’s first republic.
Mahavira was born in Vaishali. Gautama Buddha delivered his last sermon at Vaishali and announced his Parinirvana there. Vaishali is also renowned as the home of Amrapali, a great courtesan who appears in many folktales as well as in Buddhist literature. Amrapali became a disciple of Gautama Buddha. A kilometre away is Abhishek Pushkarini, the coronation tank. The sacred waters of the tank anointed the elected representatives of Vaishali. Next to it stands the Japanese temple and the Vishwa Shanti Stupa built by the Nipponzan-Myohoji-Daisanga sect, a Japanese new religion. A small number of sarira found in Vaishali have been enshrined in the foundation and in the chhatra of this stupa. Near the coronation tank is Stupa 1 or the Relic Stupa. Here the Licchavis reverentially encased one of the eight portions of Buddha’s relics, which they received after his Parinirvana. After his last discourse, Buddha set out for Kushinagar, but the Licchavis kept following him. Buddha gave them his alms bowl but they still refused to return. The Master created an illusion of a river in spate which compelled them to go back. This site can be identified with Deora in modern Kesaria, where Ashoka later built a stupa. Ananda, the favourite disciple of the Buddha, attained Nirvana in the midst of the Ganges outside Vaishali. The Islamic curse fell on Vaishalin13th century when repeated Muslim invasions led to mass beheading and forced conversions. Buddhism gradually disappeared among the local populace due to the hostility of Muslims towards the atheist nature of Buddhism.

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