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Vaishali [Vaiśālī; Vesāli]locked

  • Frederick M. Asher

Extract

[Vaiśālī; Vesāli]

Ancient Indian city that flourished from c. 6th century bc to c. 5th century ad. The site, in Muzaffarpur District, Bihar, spans several villages, including Basarh and Kolhua. By the 6th century bc Vaishali was the capital of the Vrjis (Lichchavis). It is important in Jainism as the birthplace of Mahavira, the last Jaina saviour, and in Buddhism (see Buddhism §I) as a place where the Buddha visited and taught. Its most important monumental remain is a pillar with a lion capital dating to the 3rd century bc. The shaft has no inscription, but the design is similar to the pillars erected by the Maurya dynasty at Lauriya Nandangarh and elsewhere. An adjacent mound, the likely location of a stupa, has yielded an image of the Buddha, shown crowned and seated (Vaishali Mus.). Excavations at Vaishali have uncovered numerous terracotta sculptures from the Kushana and Gupta periods (all Vaishali Mus.), among them a superbly rendered mother goddess image (...

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