Sunday, 14 August 2011

The Captivating 'VAISHALLI'

Who knew that the mere glimpse of this marble beauty some five years back would bring me back to this place! It was 26th June and the school was to reopen on 28th after summer brought a saddening feeling and my heart started sinking at the very thought of losing my freedom and once again dragged to the chores of school. But the very thought of visiting Vaishalli brushed aside this passing gloom...and then it was me and my the tank filled and set off to my destination just 55 kms away. Weather being nice had no problem in reaching there except a little traffic jam on the Mahatma Gandhi Setu....reached Hajipur....took to the left and then Lalganj and from there to Vaishalli.... a small village, surrounded by banana and mango groves as well as rice fields, has an impressive past...driving through the shady trees creating an arch forming a green umbrella over head and greeneries on both sides of the road was in itself a pleasure.It seemed I was in a green tunnel. From faraway I could see the dome of the Shanti Stupa...reaching there I found out that it really justified its name with its peaceful and serene surrounding. I climbed the stairs and saw Buddha in different poses- preaching, meditating, addressing,and mahanirvana forms. The view of the landscape from that height was simply breathtaking  Vaishalli is one of the earliest republics in the world (6th century B.C.)It was at Kolhua that Lord Buddha preached his last sermon. A life-size Lion Pillar beside the brick Stupa was erected by the emperor Ashoka in the 3rd century B.C. to commemorate this event. A hundred years after the Mahaparinirvana of the Buddha- Vaishalli hosted the second great Buddhist Council.Two stupas were erected to immortalise this event. The dark clouds had gathered till then and there rose a high wind. I took some snap shots in a hurry and then we were off to Kolhua excavated site. It had started drizzling and driving through the hamlets, banana and mango groves I had a nice glimpse of the pastoral life- the kachcha houses or huts, a few pucca houses too, the plain villagers, children having fun and enjoyment, the weekly 'Haat-Bazar'. the quiet life reminded me the lines by Alexander Pope-"Happy the man, whose wish and care
                                            A few paternal acres bound,
                                            Content to breathe in his native air
                                                                   In his own ground."

I reached Kolhua in just half an hour got the entry tickets and set out to explore the past....I just ambled  on the nice cobbled pavement , sat on the old antique wooden bench relishing the whole view completely lost in its enchanted beauty.The drizzle had dispersed almost all the local tourists except me. Every bit of speech dropped and the silence seemed golden in that solitude. Evening had started setting in and the a row of birds flew over eager to reach their nests. I too, with heavy steps took leave from that place-a place far from the madding crowd with beautifully mowed sprawling lawn, evenly cut hedges, flowering plants, the discplined Ashoka trees, well placed old fashioned benches and the soothing tranquility was picturesque enough to leave an everlasting imprint on my forlorn mind and heart. The back journey was equally pleasant though somewhat lost in the recollection as well as dreaming of some other chance in near future.




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