Kesariya or Kessaputta of the ancient times is 55 km from Vaishali in the state of Bihar. The tour of the place is must because it boasts of the tallest stupa in the world prior to the earthquake of 1934 in Bihar. The Kalama Sutta, One of the Buddha's most celebrated discourses was given to the Kalama people while the Buddha was staying in their chief town, Kessaputta or Kesariya.
Buddha had advised that his teachings must be accepted after careful scrutiny and thought. According to Buddhist legend when Buddha left Vaishali on his way to Kusinagara in his last year, a large group of Vijjians followed him and refused to leave him. When they finally reached Kesariya, the Buddha pressed them to return back to their homes, which they agreed but reluctantly. He handed over his begging bowl to them. A stupa was built on the site to commemorate the event. Chinese pilgrims, Fa-hian and Hiuen Tsang visited this stupa and wrote short accounts of it.
The stupa rises in five terraces each of a different shape so that it would look like a giant mandala from above. Each terrace has niches with the life size statues of the Buddha with in it. The stupa is undergoing excavation and conservation work. According to Alexander Cunningham, originally the stupa was 1400 ft in circumference and 51 ft in height. It was estimated that the dome would have originally been about 70 ft high. The Kesariya is recommended for people on tour of Buddhist Sites in Bihar.
How to Reach
Kesariya can be reached from Vaishali, which is 55 km away. The nearest airport from Kesariya is at Vaishali while the railway station is at Hajipur. There are bus and taxi services from Vaishali for Kesariya.
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