The Kesariya Stupa, also known as the Kesariya Pagoda, is an ancient Buddhist monument located in the state of Bihar, India. It is considered to be the world’s largest and tallest Buddhist stupa, standing at a height of 104 feet (32 meters) and a circumference of 1,400 feet (427 meters).
History and Importance:
The Kesariya Stupa was built during the rule of the Mauryan dynasty in the 3rd century BC. It is believed to have been constructed by King Ashoka, one of the most prominent Mauryan emperors, to honor the relics of Lord Buddha. The stupa was later enlarged during the Gupta period in the 6th century AD.
The Kesariya Stupa is significant in Buddhism as it is said to contain the relics of Buddha. According to Buddhist scriptures, after Buddha’s death, his ashes were divided into eight parts and distributed among his followers who built stupas to enshrine them. It is believed that one of these parts was enshrined in the Kesariya Stupa.
The Kesariya Stupa is built in a circular shape with a raised platform, which is accessed by a flight of stairs. The stupa has a hemispherical dome at the top, which is believed to represent the world of the Buddha. The dome is surrounded by a series of smaller stupas, which are decorated with intricate carvings and sculptures.
The stupa is made of bricks and stands on a circular stone plinth. The plinth has a diameter of 160 feet (49 meters) and is surrounded by a circular wall, which is adorned with numerous carvings and inscriptions.
Visiting the Kesariya Stupa:
The Kesariya Stupa is located near the town of Kesariya in the East Champaran district of Bihar. It is approximately 110 kilometers from the state capital, Patna. The site is well-connected by road, and visitors can reach the stupa by hiring a taxi or taking a bus.
There is no entrance fee to visit the Kesariya Stupa, and the site is open to visitors throughout the year. However, it is advisable to avoid visiting during the summer months as the temperature can get quite high. Visitors can also explore the nearby archaeological site, which includes the ruins of a monastery and several other stupas.
In conclusion, the Kesariya Stupa is an important Buddhist site and a significant piece of ancient architecture. Its size and scale are a testament to the rich history and culture of India, and it continues to attract visitors from all over the world.