District: East Champaran
Sub-divisions: Motihari Sadar, Sikharna,
Raxaul, Areraj, Chakia
Population: 30,43,061 (31 lakh)
Area: 3,968 square kilometre
Height above sea level: 113 metre
Summer: Maximum: 48 °C minimum: 20°C
Winter: Maximum: 28°C minimum: 2°C
Rainfall: 186 cm
Best season: November to February
Road distance: 160 km away from Bihar's capital
Rail route: Nearest railway station: Chakia
Main railway stations: Patna, Hajipur
Air route: Nearest airport at Patna
Main Spots of tourist Interest
East Champaran, the land of Gautam Buddha
and Mahatma Gandhi, has of late made its coveted position
in the international tourist map for the highest Buddhist
Legend says that when Gautam Buddha left his home in quest
of knowledge, he reached Lauria Areraj via Shakya, Malya kingdom.
He met a saint called Alar Kalam, in whose ashram he stayed
for a few days.
Mahatma Gandhi also started his first Independence movement
against the British rule in 1917 from this place.
Places of Tourist Interests
Buddhist Stupa, Kesaria
Location: Kesaria Stupa is situated
160 kms away from Bihar's capital, Patna. The place is on
Chakia-Sahebganj road, at a distance of 35 km southwest from
district headquarters Motihari.
Importance: Kesaria Stupa has
catapulted East Champaran in the international tourist map.
In 1998, the Archeological Survey of India (ASI) had declared
that the Stupa with 104 feet height and diameter of 1,400
feet was the highest in the world. It is one feet higher than
the world renowned Borobudur Stupa in Indonesia.
At least 10-12 crore bricks were used to construct the Stupa
which has seven storeys. On the peak of the Stupa statue of
Lord Buddha and below them his beloved disciple's image has
been established, which represents Buddha's last meeting with
his disciples. Several small mud statues have been established
on the Stupa in small puja houses.
Experts believe that the Stupa was constructed by people of
Lichchavi dynasty of Vaishali. Lime and “Surkhi”
dust) have been used to construct the Stupa. Legend says when
Lord Buddha reached Kesaria via Rajgir and Vaishali people
started following him as they wished to go along with him.
However, Buddha, through his Yogic power, cut a deep river
on the land and stopped people from following him. As a departing
gift he presented them his begging bowl (Bhiksha patra) and
asked them to return. In remembrance of this episode, people
of Lichchavi dynasty constructed the Kesaria Stupa. The incident
was engraved on a pillar, which was seen by Chinese scholar
Fa Hien in the fifth century BC.
According to Hieun Tsang, in pre-birth Lord Buddha was born
here as Emperor Marvadev. After successfully ruling his vast
empire, he renounced the worldly comfort and proceeded for
Aamr forest and became an ascetic and later he left for his
heavenly abode.The Archaeological Survey of India has marked
Kesaria Stupa as a protected monument.1 km away from this
place a huge mound of mud has also been found, which is spread
in 200 square feet.
Ashokan Pillar, Lauriya, Areraj
Location: Ashokan pillar is
situated 16 km west on Motihari-Pratapur main road.
Importance: It is believed that
during Buddhist era this place was ashram of Aalar Kalam and
Gautam Buddha had gone to meet him. Ashokan pillar is 37 feet
9 inch high. At the base its diameter is 11 feet 2 inch and
at the top its diameter is 8 feet. On the pillar Ashokan scriptures
are written from 1 to 6 number.
According to Jagdishwar Pandey, former director, K P Jaiswal
Research Institute, Patna, after leaving Kapilavastu and crossing
Shakya, Koliya satraps; Gautam Buddha changed his attire as
a Bhikshu on the banks of Anoma river (at present the river
is known as Harboda river at Rampurva in East Champaran).
To quench is thirst of knowledge Buddha reached the ashram
of Aalar Kalam (presently at Lauria-Areraj). After stay putting
in the ashram for a few days, he decided to quit the place,
as he found the teachings of ashram unfit to fight the bouts
worldly sorrows. To depict this episode in the life of Gautam
Buddha, Emperor Ashoka got constructed Ashokan pillar and
The Archaeological Survey of India has classified the Ashokan
pillar as a protected monument.