keshariya

The magnificent stupa at Kesaria dates back to the nineth century, and is considered the largest and the highest in the world. Half excavated and half covered by the wild vegetation, this stupa looks like pagoda in Myanmar, and it is stipulated to be the prototype of the massive Borobudur Stupa in Indonesia.

It is believed that the Buddha crossed Gandak (called Amona river in Buddhist tradition) to enter into current Bihar from Uttarpradesh and took off his royal robes and sword to hand over to his attendant. He wore Kesaria robe here and thus the place acquired its name from the historic happening. According to Thai sources, his horse could not bear the separation from his master and came back again and breathed his last. A stupa, which got washed away later, was erectd here in his memory.

When the Buddha left Vaishali before Mahaparinirvana, the devoted Licchavi princes followed the Buddha as he wandered through the countryside. As a token of gratitude to them, he handed them his alms bowl and implored them to return to Vaishali. From that point onward he wanted to walk to Kusinagar only with a retinue of selected bhikkhus. The princes stubbornly refused to leave the side of their master. Left without a choice, the Buddha used his psychic powers to create an illusory flood that separated them from him.

Before leaving Kessaputta, the Licchavis built a stupa commemorating the event and expressing their sorrow. The stupa was later enlarged by King Asoka and subsequent rulers, especially during the Gupta period who added layers and embellished it with hundred of sculptures.

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