Kaushambi (Buddhist Pilgrimages )

Kaushambi Kaushambi finds its first mention in the Mahabharata, as a part of the Kuru Dynasty. Further on in history, during the sixth century, it was one of the most prominent cities in the subcontinent. In fact, it may even be said that it was one of the half dozen most prosperous cities in the subcontinent at the time. The Buddha, it is generally believed, held a very fond opinion of Kaushambi, and even chose it as thesite for some of his sermons. Unfortunately, in the centuries that followed, Kaushambi fell from the glorious standing it handed enjoyed till then, and the time to come only saw it fade further away from any prominence it could hope for. As a result, archeological study of the golden period of this land is not as sharp in deduction as it could’ve been. In fact, a large part of the ruins still remains just that, excavation having not yet been done to its fullest extent. However, enough evidence has already been unearthed to regard this site with deep reverence and intrigue in terms of excavation expeditions.

Kaushambi is located in Uttar Pradesh, India, in the Allahabad division. The summers are hot and dry, and the winters may get considerably cold. Between July and September are the monsoon months, and the best time to visit the area would be immediately after this period, between October and Feb.

Although it has enjoyed a fairly prosperous existence for most of its history, perhaps the most eventful period of the land was the lifetime of the Buddha. He travelled to Kaushambi in his sixth year after Enlightenment, and revisited the place three years hence. As true for a lot of the places visited by the Buddha, this was a site for several sermons to have been imparted, lending significance to the sanctity possessed by this land in the past age. The next most influential historical figure to turn his attention to this site was the great ruler Ashoka, who went on to erect one of the many now famous Ashokan pillars here.

General Information || How To Reach || Major Attractions
Old Kaushambi || Ashokan pillar || Sheetala Temple || Prabhasgiri || Nearby place Kaushambi

General Information About Nalanda

Country : India
State : Uttar Pradesh
Location : This small district is 55 kms west of Allahabad and 160 kms from Kanpur.
Climate : Summer - April to June - Hot Winter - November to February - Cold Monsoon - July to September
Best Time to Visit : October to April
Significance : Buddha delivered a number of sermons
Language : Hindi and English
Festivals : Buddhist - Buddha Jayanti(April/May); Others - Mahavir Jayanti(Jains), Holi, Deepawali (Hindus).

Tourist Attraction in Kaushambi:

Old Kaushambi: excavation expeditions are still underway, and it is generally believed that the remaining ruins of the city as it stood 800 years ago are still rather well preserved. These include the Ghositarma Monastery, and the Vatsa University. Many idols and stupas have already been recovered from the site, and the ruins indeed make a sight to see.

Ashokan pillar: one of the few pieces of history fully rescued from the surrounding remains, the Ashokan Pillar, with inscriptions done in the Pali script can be found in the midst of the ruins of the Vatsa Mahajanapada.

Sheetala Temple: dedicated to the goddess of power, Sheetala, this is a sacred site for Hindus and is believed to have intense divine presence, and was built in 1000 CE.

Prabhasgiri: Hindu mythology dictates that this was the site where Lord Krishna perished, under the attack of Jaratkumar. Brahmi scripts from the 2nd century BCE have been found in caves towards the top of the mountain.

Nearby Place:

Allahabad : 60km away from Kaushambi sits Allahabad, a place of immense importance to Hindu pilgrims. This is where the supposedly holy rivers Ganga and Yamuna meet. There are several noteworthy sights here, like the Allahabad temple, and an Ashokan Pillar.

Varanasi : approximately 150 km to the west of Kaushambi lays Varansasi, another site of great reverence in terms of Hindu pilgrimage. The ghats and the Ganges are assigned such divinity here, that ‘puja’ and ‘daan-dakhsin’ practices can be observed being carried out all year round with unwavering zest.

How to Reach Kaushambi

Airways - the closest airport would be at Allahabad, around 60 km away, but this may not prove to be the most prudent option depending on one’s travel plans. Alternative airport options are Varanasi, 150 km away, and Kanpur, which is 160 km away. Both these airports receive international flights and are rather well connected domestically as well.

Railways - technically the closest railway station is Allahabad, at a distance of 50 km, though Bharvari, a station situated 40 km away, may be a better travel route for some. Taxis and buses are easy to find from Bharvari to Kaushambi.

Roadways - Private taxis, buses, as well as state buses are readily available for commuting by the roadways, which are well connected to the neighboring cities and major ones, via NH 2 and 27.

Buddhist Tourist Pilgrimage in India

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