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Situated in East Champaran district of Bihar, Kesariya is an important Buddhist destination falling on the ancient route that connected Pataliputra with Kusinara (present Kusinagar) and Nepal. The place had pre-eminence in ancient Buddhist as is evident from rich architectural heritage scattered around it.
Ancient Kesariya was called Kesaputta and was a republic ruled by Kalamas, which was later annexed by its monarchical neighbour Kosala. Alara Kalama, the teacher of Buddha before enlightenment, is said to belong to Kesaputta. Buddha is also said to have had direct connection with Kesaputta. According to Jataka stories Buddha ruled this place as a Chakravartin Raja in his previous birth. Similarly, it was during one of his visits to Kesaputta that Buddha gave one of his most important discourses, the celebrated Kessaputtiya Sutta, popularly known as Kalama Sutta. Kesariya stupa is believed to have been built to honor the place where Lord Buddha had spent the last days of his journey, before attaining Nirvana. It is said that on his last journey to Pawa Lord Buddha handed over his begging bowl to the following Lichhivis, people of Vaishali and requested them to go back to Vaishali. To venerate the end life of Lord Buddha, the Lichhivis are said to have built this stupa. While formerly, it was only a mud stupa, it gained its present structure in the Maurya, Sunga and Kushana period. Huien Tsang mentions having seen the grand Stupa in Kia-shi-po-lo (Kesariya) but it was deserted and vegetation had overgrown. Today, Kesariya stupa serves as a holy site for the Buddhist pilgrims around the world. Standing tall, it acts as a reminder of the last days of Lord Buddha and his compassionate and gentle approach towards people. In the 1998 excavation, the place around the stupa was found to house significant items, like Islamic coins, arrow heads, copper and terracotta items, earthen lamps, decorated bricks, etc. A number of images of Lord Buddha, in ‘Bhoomi Sparsh Mudra’ and other sitting postures, were also found.
Kesaria was claimed the tallest and the largest Buddhist Stupa in the world. But Mirisawetiya, Abhayagiriya, and Ruwanweliseya in Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka are the taller than Kesariya with over 300 feet each. Jetawanaramaya, also situated in Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka is the tallest largest stupa in the world standing at approximately 400 feet (122m). The stupa was discovered in 1998 during an excavation led by Archaeologist KK Muhammed of Archaeological Survey of India (ASI). The stupa dates to between 200 AD and 750 AD and may have been associated with the 4th century ruler, Raja Chakravarti. The local people call this Stupa as Devala, "means the house of god". Before the excavation of this, they believed that inside it there is a temple of 'Lord shiva' which is built by king Bhema .
At 104 feet, Kesaria Stupa is one foot taller than the Borobodur Stupa in Java. It is also taller than the stupa at Ghorakatora in the Nalanda district. The world's tallest buddhist stupa is Jetavanaramaya, Sri Lanka with a height of 400 feet(122m)
Viraat Ramayan Mandir
Viraat Ramayan Mandir is an upcoming Hindu temple complex that began construction in Kesaria, Bihar, India, in 2012 with an estimated budget of INR500 crore. When completed, it will be the largest religious monument in the world, even larger than the Angkor Wat, Cambodia. The Virat Ramayan Mandir will be almost double the height of the world famous 12th century Angkor Wat temple complex in Cambodia, which is 215 feet high.The temple will have a hall with a seating capacity of 20,000 people.
Transportation and hotels
Bihar State Tourism Development Corporation  provides travel and accommodation from the state capital, Patna, for visits to the Bodh circuit (Bodhgaya, Rajgir, Nalanda, Vaishali, Kesaria, Lumbini, Kushinagar, Sarnath), Jain Circuit (Rajgir, Pawapuri), and Sikh Circuit in Bihar. The corporation owns hotels and circuit homes at these tourist destinations.
-  Bharat Online.com
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