Author Topic: Kesariya Stupa Pilgrimage Site (Bihar)  (Read 1407 times)

Offline Dharmakara

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Kesariya Stupa Pilgrimage Site (Bihar)
« on: July 26, 2014, 07:11:52 pm »
I was over at the Thinking Particle website ( and came across some beautiful photos of Kesariya Stupa --- at 104 feet, the stupa is one foot taller than the Borobodur Stupa in Java. It is also taller than the second largest stupa at Ghorakatora in the Nalanda district.

Kesariya is located 55 km north west of Vaishali in the state of Bihar in India. In the time of the Buddha, it was known as Kessaputta, where the Buddha delivered His famous Kalama Sutta to the Kalama people. Through this discourse, the Buddha urged His followers to analyse His teachings thoroughly before accepting them.

Also, as per legend, the Buddha left Vaishali for Kusinara (Kushinagar) in the last year of His life. As He proceeded on His journey, a large group of Vijjians joined Him and declined to leave. When they reached Kessaputta, the Buddha persuaded them to leave. The crowd was unhappy, so just to cheer them up gave His begging bowl. A stupa, later came up at this site to commemorate the incident, as well as the Kalama Sutta. This stupa was visited by both Fa-hien as well as Hieun Tsang. Both these Chinese traveller left brief details of their visiting experience to this stupa.

The stupa has five large terraces each of which varies in shape and enshrines a life like statue of Lord Buddha. When seen from above, the stupa gives an impression of a mandala. The stupa was measured by Cunningham who found that the circumference was 1400 feet while the height was 51 feet. He also worked out that originally, the dome of the stupa would have been 70 feet tall. Excavation and restoration work on the stupa is still under process.

Offline 7th_Samurai

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Re: Kesariya Stupa Pilgrimage Site (Bihar)
« Reply #1 on: July 27, 2014, 06:30:15 am »
Thanks for this Dharmakara.  An amazing architectural wonder of ancient India that has withstood (at least partially) both invasion and earthquakes.  Legend has it that the devotees who built the stupa buried the Buddha's begging bowl in it.  According to Alexander Cunningham, who visited the site in 1861, the current stupa is build atop the remains of an earlier and potentially much larger stupa (based on the unusually large dimensions of the lower mound).  Would definitely be on the list of places to see if ever making the trip to India.


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