District: West Champaran
Sub-divisions: Bettiah, Bagaha, Narkatiaganj
Population: 23,33,666 (23 lakh)
Area: 4,249.90 square feet
Height above sea level: 113 metres
(Summer) Maximum: 48°C Minimum: 20°C
(Winter) Maximum: 28°C Minimum 2°C
Rainfall: 186 cm
Best season to visit the place: November
Rail connectivity: Nearest station: Bettiah
(Muzaffarpur-Narkatiaganj rail route)
Main railway stations: Patna, Hajipur
Air connectivity: Nearest airport- Patna
Main Spots of tourist Interest
Besides Bodh Gaya, Rajgir, Nalanda and Vaishali,
West Champaran is considered to be an important place having
remains of Buddhist era. According to Buddhist’s scripture,
when Gautam Buddha left his home along with his companion
(sarthi) Chandak he changed his attire at this place only.
He dropped his princely dress, cut his hair and became a bhikshu.
During the last phase of his life, Buddha returned to Kushinagar
via Vaishali and Kesariya where he attained Mahaparinirvan.
According to historians, after third Buddhist conference held
in Patliputra, Emperor Ashoka visited above mentioned places
and finally reached Kapilavastu.
From 241-42 BC Ashoka the great got constructed Ashokan Pillars
at Areraj, Lauriya and Rampurva. In India, besides these places,
Ashokan Pillar could be found in Delhi, Allahabad, Sanchi
and Sarnath. Emperor Ashok had got engraved message of peace,
love and brotherhood on pillars at Allahabad, Rampurva, Lauriya-Nandgarh
and Lauriya Areraj. The culture of West Champaran, situated
in the north-west Bihar, was glittering at a time when Vedic
litterateurs had crossed Sadaneera river (now Gandhak river)
under their Eastern campaign.
This place had been epicentre of Oriental and Eastern traditions.
Several great men in the ancient times like king Janak of
Ramayan era, poet Valmiki, Kaurav-Pandav (Mahabharat era),
Gautam Buddha (6th century BC), Vajisangh, Chanakya, Chandragupta
Maurya, Emperor Ashoka (2nd century BC- 6th Century BC) have
been associated with this place. In 1627 AD king Ugrasen Singh,
who belonged to Kashyap Gotra of Jetharia clan, had got Bettiah
from Shahjahan who was ruler of Delhi. The last ruler of Bettiah
Raj, king Harendra Kishore Singh, ruled till 1884 AD. He had
two wives and one of her them at the age of 23 sat on the
throne and she ruled till 1897 AD.
Places of Tourist Interests
Ashokan Pillar, Lauriya Nandangarh
Location: Lauriya Nandangarh
is situated 25 km north-west from Bettiah and 3 km west on
Importance: Ashokan edicts are
engraved on the Ashokan Pillars. According to historians,
during Mauryan era
Lauriya Nandangarh was ‘halting station’ for the
Buddist monks who used to go to China via Nepal and Tibet
for spread of the religion. During that time Patliputra-Vaishali-Areraj-Lauria-Rampurva
combined with Kapilavastu till Uttarpath was named as ‘Royal
Lauriya Nandangarh on Lauriya-Narkatiaganj road is a unique
Ashokan Pillar that has figures of peacocks engraved on it.
There are six edicts on the pillar written in Brahmi and Prakrit.
From among the six other main pillars only on Delhi-Topra
Ashokan Pillar seven edicts have been engraved. Lauriya Nandangarh
Ashokan Pillar has a lion placed on its tops. Its height is
32 feet 9 inch, its base has a diameter of 35 feet 9 inch
and its top has a diameter of 26 feet 9 inch. At the top of
the pillar is a lion facing East and squatting on a round
platform. Below the round podium there are designs of rope,
peacock and inverted lotus on which some people believe is
an Iranian bell. The pillar stands on a square rock platform
and its base stands from 10 feet below the ground. This
50 tonne architectural marvel was made from red sandy rock
found at Chunar near Buxar. It is believed that the Chunar
rock might have been ferried by huge boats on river Budhi
Various names have engraved on this pillar like:
1660-61 AD name of Mohiuddin Mohammad Aurangzeb Emperor Alamgir
Gazi 1664 AD, in Devnagri, some thing has been written which
is undecipherable. 1692 AD name of a British has been engraved.
Archaeological Survey of India has marked this monument as
Buddhist Stupa, Lauriya Nandgarh
Location: Buddhist Stupa, Lauriya
Nandgarh, is one the most unique monument, situated 25 km
Bettiah and 3 km west on Valmiki road.
Importance: Among the huge stupas
found in the country, Nandangarh stupa is considered to be
one of the biggest stupa, which is spread in an area of 6000
square metres. Several rare artefacts have been found at this
place like a gold idol of goddess, a copper box, idols of
beads and Mrinmay. It is assumed that this stupa was constructed
during Sunga dynasty. During excavation one more stupa has
been found underneath, where images of Kaniska and Havik have
been found. Close to Nandangarh Stupa towards South, spread
in 1 hectare area, there are treasure troves of rare artefacts.
Idols, toys, copper plates etc have been found at this place.
Ashokan Pillar, Rampurva
Location: Ashokan Pillar, Rampurva
is situated in Rampurva village, which is 8 km north-west
of Gaunha Railway station. The village is on the banks of
river Hadboda. Two pillars are found in this village.
Importance: Two pillars are
found at this village. In ancient times they were 200 metres
apart. On one of the pillars,
which is dilapidated now, six edicts of Emperor Ashoka are
inscribed. It also has the statue of Vrisha (bull) on the
top. At present this statue is preserved in Rashtrapati Bhawan,
New Delhi. On the second pillar’s top is a statue of
lion, which is now at Indian Museum, Kolkata. Seeing their
historical importance, the ASI has marked them as ‘protected’.
During Ashokan era this place was considered as an important
place, as the emperor had got constructed the two pillars
at such a close distance.
Buddhist era it was important route which started from Srivasta
and connected Kapilavastu and passed through todays Rampurva,
Lauriya, Nandangarh, Bettiah, Lauriya, Areraj, Kesariya, Vaishali,
Patliputra (Patna), Rajgir and reached Bodh Gaya (the place
where Gautam Buddha got enlightenment).
According to Pali literature, travelogues of Hieun Tsang and
Fa Hien at Rampurva Gautam Buddha got his head tonsured and
shed his princely attire before proceeding for the journey
of knowledge. However, controversy had erupted over this,
as another Buddhist scholar Cunningham had suggested that
Buddha had renounced his worldly life at Chandauli village
in Gorakhpur (Uttar Pradesh). However, Jagdishvar Pandey,
ex-director, K P Jayaswal Research Institute, Patna has ended
up the row by stating in 1991 that the former is true.
Stone cave of Hetukunwar
Location: Valmikinagar is close
to Indo-Nepal border located in West Champaran district. Between
Bhikhnathori there is Shivalik range of Himalaya mountain
and it stretches for about 50 km. The range is classified
as Western range and South-eastern range (Ramnagar toon).
In between them there are three small Dars — Someshwar
Dar, Bhikhna Thori and Marvat Dar.
It is believed that this place might have been a place of
historical importance in ancient times. From North, East and
West a river stretches and in West across the river is Himalayas
and terrain of Nepal. There is a route to Tibet 8 km north
of Rampurva in West Champaran via Thori in Nepal. This place
even today is considered important for its monuments.