A Pilgrimage Special: An Ancient Republic
While traveling to Patna, the capital of Bihar and just before reaching it, we had stopped at Vaishalli which itself, used to be the capital of the Lichchhavis who were supposed to be credited with the world's first republic. Vaishali had been visited by Lord Buddha a number of times and besides delivering several sermons, it was near here that he admitted women to the Holy Order. It was here too that legend had it that several monkeys dug up a tank for Lord Buddha's comfortable stay besides, offering him a bowl of honey. Places of interests which we visited included the Asoka Stupa, a dome-shaped mound of 4.6m high and diameter 20 m which has been seen by Hsuan Tsang himself! One of the Asokan Pillars which managed to withstand the Muslims onslaught stood nearby, just as the Markata-hrada, the tank or pond called Rama-kunda supposedly dug up by the colony of monkeys mentioned earlier.