The Great Stupa of Kesaria

By Matthieu Ricard on February 23, 2011

On the way between Kusinagar and Vaishali, we paid homage to the monumental ruins of Kesaria Stupa, (10 KM from Rampur Khajuria on National Highway 28, about three hours drive from Kusinagar, 120kms from Patna).

According to some scholars, this is the place where Prince Gautama cut his hair to renounce the world, after leaving his palace. Other scholars believe that the actual place was nearer from Kapilavistu.

It is also the place where the Buddha is said to have begun teaching the sutras of the ultimate truth (the Third Turning of the Wheel of Dharma).

On his last journey before passing away in Kusinagar, the Buddha is reported to have spent a night at Kesaria. He told his disciple Ananda that a stupa should be built there and his wish was carried by King Chakravarti.

Kesariya used to be called Kesaputta during the time of the Buddha. The ruins of the stupa now stand at 104 feet, one feet higher than the fame Borobudur stupa in Java, and is said to have been 150 feet high.