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West Champaran

West Champaran

West Champaran
Commissionary: Tirhut
Headquarters: Bettiah
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 to February
Rail connectivity: Nearest station: Bettiah (Muzaffarpur-Narkatiaganj rail route)
Main railway stations: Patna, Hajipur
Air connectivity: Nearest airport- Patna

Main Spots of tourist Interest

Historical Importance

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 Valmiki road.
Importance: Ashokan edicts are engraved on the Ashokan Pillars. According to historians, during Mauryan eraAshokan Pillar, Lauriya Nandangarh 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 road’.

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. Ashokan Pillar, Lauriya NandangarhThis 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 Gandhak.
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 ‘protected’.


Buddhist Stupa, Lauriya Nandgarh
Location: Buddhist Stupa, Lauriya Nandgarh, is one the most unique monument, situated 25 km north-west fromBuddhist Stupa, Lauriya Nandgarh 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,Ashokan Pillar, Rampurva 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.

Ashokan Pillar, RampurvaDuring 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 Valmikinagar andStone cave of Hetukunwar
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.

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