Vaishali or Vesali (in Pali language) was a city, the capital of the Licchavis and the Vajjian Confederacy. At the time of the Buddha, Vesali was a very large city, rich and prosperous, crowded with people, and with abundant food.

The city was also called Visala. Vesali is identified with the present village of Basrah in the Vaishali District in the Indian state of Bihar. The Buddha first visited Vaishali in the fifth year after his Enlightenment and spent the rainy season there.

After the Buddha’s death, a portion of his relics was enshrined in the City.

Vesali was a stronghold of the last Jain Tirthankar Mahavira aka Niganthas, and it is said that of the forty-two rainy seasons of the latter part of Mahavira’s ascetic life, he passed twelve at Vesali. Vesali was also the residence of Kandaramasuka and Patikaputta. Among eminent followers of the Buddha who lived in Vesali, special mention is made of Ugga (chief of those who gave pleasant gifts), Pingiyani, Karanapali, Siha, Vasettha, and various Licchavis.

Kutagarasala Vihara is the monastery where Buddha most frequently stayed while visiting Vaishali. It is located 3 kilometers from the relic Stupa, and on its ground can be found the Ananda Stupa, with an Ashokan pillar in very good condition, and an ancient pond.

A few hundred meters from the Relic Stupa is Abhishek Pushkarini, the coronation tank. The sacred waters of the tank anointed the elected representatives of Vaishali.

Next to the coronation tank stands the Japanese temple and the Vishwa Shanti Stupa (World Peace Pagoda) built by the Nipponzan Myohoji sect of Japan. A small part of the Buddha’s relics found in Vaishali has been enshrined in the foundation and in the chhatra of the Stupa.

The nearest airport is at Patna, the capital city of Bihar. Patna is linked by regular flights to important cities like Delhi, Kolkata, Varanasi, Lucknow, and so on. You can also reach Patna from Kathmandu, Nepal.

A convenient road network covers Vaishali connecting it to a number of important cities in Bihar such as Patna (55 km), Muzaffarpur (37 km), which are in turn linked to the rest of the country. Other important destinations in Bihar, namely; Bodhgaya (163 km), Rajgir (145 km), Nalanda (140 km) lie close by.

The nearest railway station is Hajipur, which is only 2.5 km away from Vaishali. Important trains service the railway station of Hajipur regularly. You can approach Hajipur from major cities all over India including Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai, Chennai, and Varanasi.