Vaishali, 44 kms from the birth place of Lord Mahavira, the Jain Tirthankar (in 527 B.C.) was a famous city in the days of the Buddha. Ruins of the old city have been discovered near the village Basarh, on the north bank of the Ganga.

Vaishali derived its name from king Vaishala, a famous ruler mentioned in the Ramayana. Once this region, with Vaishali belonged to the Lichchavis, a clan of KShatriyas who ruled the territory in a republican fashion.

An interesting reference was made to them by the Buddha. "Look at the Lichchavis of Vaishali, monks," said the Buddha. "Look at their umbrellas of gold, their dazzling garments, their decorated chariots. Those who cannot behold the conference of the gods should see those Lichchavis who seem to be in no way inferior."

It is said that once the city experienced a terrible plague. The citizens requested the Buddha to visit the city. With his arrival, the plague ended. The Buddha took a liking for the place. Here, in the garden of the courtesan Ambapali, he delivered the series of his last sermons.

In 383 A.D. the Second Buddhist council met here and two stupas were ereted to recall the event. An Ashokan column, ancient tanks, Jain Shrines, Buddhist stupas, Raja Vishal Ka Ghar and the Museum are worth visiting.

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