Kolhua Vaishali: Places to see in 1st Democracy of the world!

Last Updated on September 29, 2022 by asoulwindow

Table of Contents

About Kolhua of Vaishali Bihar

Kolhua in Vaishali Bihar is a must-visit place. This blog is a comprehensive guide on Kolhua of Vaishali in Bihar. It is an old Buddhist archeological site with ruins from the Maurya period, Kushan era etc. The relic stupa, Ashokan Pillar, tanks and others ruins make it a part of the must visit international Buddhist Circuit in Bihar. This is also where Gautam Buddha spent some of his important years.

I fell silent when I saw the remains of the ancient Kolhua in Vaishali. I was the only person when I visited the ancient Buddhist destination. The sheer antiquity of the place made me just observe and soak in.

Why is Kolhua in Vaishali famous?

Why is Kolhua famous? Kolhua, Vaishali is a major Buddhist pilgrimage but it is also famous for many other reasons. Below are the main reasons why Vaishali is a world-famous destination.

  • Vaishali was the city of Amrapali.
  • Vaishali has ancient Ashokan Pillar
  • Vaishali has ancient Hindu Temples
  • Vaishali is first Republic of the world
  • Vaishali is the birth place of Lord Mahavir.
  • Buddha delivered his last sermon at Kolhua Vaishali
  • Buddha announced his parinirvana in Kolhua Vaishali

Despite being a very small place, there are so many reasons which make Vaishali, Bihar famous. One more reason which makes Vaishali famous is that Buddha rested here before he finally attained Mahaparinirvana.  

Where is Kolhua Vaishali located?

Kolhua is located in the Vaishali district of Bihar. Situated at a very close distance from Patna, Kolhua of Vaishali is a must visit Buddhist destination in Bihar and North India.

The location in and around Kolhua Bihar is rural. I saw many big and small villages and vast agricultural fields around the ruins of Kolhua. The landscape was more or less similar to my home state Uttar Pradesh which is also a neighbor of Bihar.

Dry uplas or cow dung decorated the walls of the local homes even as cows chewed cud nonchalantly near a big fodder stand. Kids played in the open while women tended to daily chores. I saw similar scenes while I was on my way to Nalanda and Rajgir from Patna via private car.

During winters you can also see last swathes of undulating mustard fields, which I also saw while I was on my way to Dhangadhi in Nepal from Dudhwa National Park near Lucknow.

Soul Window Observations

It reminded me of my trips to Sanchi Stupa in Madhya Pradesh and Sarnath near Varanasi in my home state Uttar Pradesh.  The Indian states of Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar border each other in North India, which explains why so many important Buddhist sites were built so close to each other.

I also found another connection. Ashokan Pillars and Buddhist Stupas from the era of Maurya empire were excavated from all of these sites. As I connected the dots, I could not help but marvel at the rich history of India.

History of Kolhua Vaishali, Bihar

Unfortunately, not much is found in the recorded history of the ancient city of Kolhua. However, the ancient Hindu scripture Vishnu Puran, records 34 rulers of Vaishali. Early Jain and Buddhist texts also mention Vaishali.

It is said that the city of Vaishali was founded by King Raja Vishal.

Much of what we know about Kolhua is through the few ruins that remain here and the archaeological finds recovered from the area. As is common in India, oral tradition has also kept the history of Kolhua alive.

There have been some monuments which enjoyed fame and importance in some era and were lost in obscurity in another. Kolhua is one of those places, which remained unknown just few hundred years ago. And to think it was a powerful place once upon a time!

Kolhua was rediscovered in the 19th century by surveyors Cunningham and Stephenson. Stephenson had documented the Buddhist remains in the villages of Bakhra and Besarh in the year 1835. Later Cunningham joined the dots and ‘discovered’ Vaishali which matched with the description of ‘Fei-She-Li’ of Hieun Tsang, the traveler from ancient China.

It is possible that the ruins of both Bakhra and Besarh together with Kolhua formed a city as described by Hieun Tsang.

Hieun Tsang on Kolhua & Vaishali

As per the description of Hieun Tsang aka Xuanzang, the Chinese traveler to India, Vaishali was a huge city with undulating gardens of amra (mango) and mocha (banana) trees. He also waxed eloquent about the abundance of other fruits and flowers thriving in the region.

Even today, I could see many Banana and Mango trees growing in the area. Not to mention, he sung paeans about the rich and fertile soil of Vaishali, which is true even today, thanks to the umpteen agricultural fields that I saw!

Also known as Xuanzang or Hiouen Thsang, he became famous in India because he traveled overland across India for 17 long years in search of spirituality. In India Xuanzang travelled to places like Nalanda University in Bihar, Ajanta caves in Maharashtra, Ayodhya (Saket in those times), Kashmir, Punjab etc

Chinese Scholar Hieun Tsang made many observations on Kolhua and Vaishali when Buddhism was already experiencing its downfall in India. Hieun Tsang visited Vaishali when 900 years or 9 centuries had passed away since the rule of Ashoka the great in India.

The Maurya period was a glorious time for Buddhism as Ashoka after converting to Buddhism actively promoted it by building various pillars, edicts and sacred Stupas across India. His aim was to propagate the Dhamma.

As per Hieun Tsang, he saw hundreds of sanghārāmas aka Vihara or monasteries in dilapidated state in Vaishali. Even in those days Hieun Tsang observed many ruins in Vaishali. I am sure that during further excavations, those ruins will be unearthed.

He added that only around 2-3 of sanghārāmas remained during his visit which were taken care of by few priests. He also talked about numerous followers of Nirgranthas (Digambara monks) and presence of many Deva Temples.   

Xuanzang claimed that the Kingdom of Vaishali measured 5000 li in circuit and had a temperate climate. He found Vaishali to be an important center of Buddhist teachings. He also talked about few people living within the Royal premises which measured 4 or 5 li round. Xuanzang also talked about another active sanghārāmas near the royal city. It housed few disciples who learned about the Little Wheel.

His observation about people of Vaishali was that they were honest religious people with a pure soul. I am surprised to see that noticed that even then Xuanzang was able to meet both heretics as well as believers in Vaishali. This shows that India always was tolerant of various faiths.

Much of what we know about Vaishali, Nalanda, Rajgir etc is through the great details of the experiences of Xuanzang in the Chinese book known as the classic Dà Táng Xīyù Jì (Great Tang Records on the Western Regions)

9 centuries after he passed away, the popular Chinese book Journey to the West by Wu Cheng’en was writer inspired by Dà Táng Xīyù Jì.

Meaning of Bihar?

Etymology: Did you know that Bihar is named after the Sanskrit and Pali word vihāra. The literal meaning of vihāra is abode. There were many ancient Buddhist vihara scattered across Bihar in old days.For a long time, Bihar was one of the most important places of India. It was a region of great spiritual activity. The people of Bihar were one of the most intelligent and spiritual.

Nomenclature of Vaishali

Vaishali is named after King Vaishalik. He was known for his heroic personality. His name also finds a mention in the Hindu epic Ramayan.

Some also say that Vaishali is called so because of the large size of the ancient city. Vishal is the Hindi word for large.

Vaishali: The first Republic of the World

Located near Patna, the capital of Bihar, Vaishali is the first Republic of the World. Much before Bhagwan Gautam Buddha even took birth, Vaishali was already running as a Republic in 6th century B.C.E. It makes me proud that we Indians can claim to be the first Republic of the world!

These claims have been substantiated with the mentions of Vaishali in ancient Jain and Buddhist scriptures.

Out of the 16 major Mahajanapadas of ancient India, Magadha was rising in power. This didn’t shake the belief of people of Vaishali in the power of a Republic state. They stuck to their guns and continued to remain a republic. Only elected chiefs were allowed to make policies on war, peace and administration.

Places to see in Kolhua Vaishali

The must visit places in Vaishali are located in close proximity with each other. Therefore, it is easy to see all points of interests in and around Vaishali a single day from Patna, the capital of Bihar.

Ashokan Pillar at Kolhua Vaishali

I was gobsmacked when I saw the beautiful Ashokan Pillar of Vaishali, Bihar. As the name suggests the 2,300 years old Ashoka Pillar was commissioned at the now nondescript Kolhua by Mauryan Emperor, Ashoka-the great!

The Ashokan Pillar in Vaishali measures a whooping 60 feet or 18.3 meters in height. A life size single sculpture of a lion sits pretty over a platform on the top of the pillar. An inverted lotus rests beneath the tiger.

Ashoka's Pillar, Kolhua Vaishali Bihar
Ashoka’s Pillar, Kolhua Vaishali Bihar

The Ashokan Pillar of Vaishali is made typically from a highly polished single piece of red sandstone. It was a common technique employed in the times of King Ashoka. This beautiful structure was previously partially exposed before it was excavated.

We all know that Lord Buddha gave his first sermon to his 5 disciples near Dhamek Stupa in Sarnath. But did you know where did Gautam Buddha ji deliver his last sermon?

Located near the ruins of an ancient Buddhist Stupa made of bricks, was built to commemorate the last sermon of Bhagwan Gautam Buddha. What also adds to the importance of Vaishali is that this is also where Gautam Buddha announced his Parinirvana.

Locally known as the Ashoka Lat or the Ashoka Column, it is a perfect example of the earliest of Ashokan Pillars which are plain and does not include the usual edict of Ashoka. However, the historians have been able to spot the engravings of a few letters in Shell character. These inscriptions belong to the Gupta period.

Soul Window Observations

I craned my neck to admire the seated lion capital sitting atop a tall monolithic polished sandstone column from Ashoka’s time. It’s the beauty of India is that unlike most other continents, the vestiges of past can still be seen here. That is because India has always been one of the most powerful nations of the world! How many others countries can boast of a 2500 years old edifice, still standing tall?

Also visit a nearby small pond known as Ramkund.

Ashokan Pillar comparison with Sarnath and Sanchi

“Is this for real?”, I asked myself!  Of all the ancient Ashokan pillars I have seen in India, the one at Vaishaliis the most complete one and also in best condition. However, unlike the Ashokan Pillar I saw in Sarnath in Varanasi, the pillar at Vaishali was not as elaborate.

Unlike the Ashokan Pillar of Sarnath, I did not see any wheel or carvings of any other animals on the Ashokan Pillar of Vaishali. Unlike 4 lions in the pillar of Sarnath, the Vaishali pillar had just one lion.

Ruins of Kolhua

As I wandered around the maze of ruins of Vaishali, I found myself lost in a time warp! Much like the ruins of Buddhist places such as Nalanda, Rajgir and Sarnath, I noticed the bricks visible in most of the exposed structures.   

Some of the notable excavation in Vaishali revealed a Swastika shaped monastery. Unlike Germany in Europe, in Hinduism and Buddhism, Swastika is considered auspicious and pious.

Votive Stupas, big and small shrines and water tanks were scattered across the ancient ruins of Vaishali. Other finds by Archaeological Survey of India include remains of Kutagarshala.

The archaeologists had also discovered a life size statue of Lord Buddha, in the year 1853.

Relic Stupa of Buddha, Kolhua, Vaishali

Not much is left to be seen at this Relic Stupa. Buddha’s relic stupa originally measured only 26 feet or 8.07 meters which makes it a small stupa. Raised as early as 5th century B.C., the Relic Stupa of Buddha is the most important tourist attraction of Vaishali. The Licchavis had consecrated the relics of Buddha in this Stupa eons ago.

The relic Stupa was just a mud stupa in its early days.Over the centuries, more additions and beautifications were done to the stupa in the Maurya, Sunga and Kushan eras. The excavators noticed the ayaka projections in the South and east direction. This makes it one of the earliest examples of the use of Ayakapattas.

They strengthened the mud stupa by encasing it under solid brick walls. The work was done in 4 subsequent phases. As a result, the final diameter of the Stupa was approximately 40 feet or 12 meters.

The relic Stupa of Buddha is still a significant one because it was one of the 8 original relic stupas which housed one eighth of the sacred ashes of Bhagwan Buddha.

In was in the year 1958 when the Relic Stupa was excavated by the reputed Kashi Prasad Jaiswal Research Institute of Patna.

You can now understand why the Stupa of Vaishali is so important and significant. This was the spot where a Stupa was built over the relics of Buddha. It stayed there for a long time until it was shifted to the impressive Patna Museum.

The stone casket excavated here originally contained the relics of Buddha such as ashes, a copper punch marked coin, a small conch, a fragmentary piece of gold leaf and 2 glass beads.

As is also the case with Stupas of Sarnath, the original Stupa located here was just a small soil mound, similar to the pre-Buddhist tumuli of India which were used as burial mounds for ascetics. Later additions were made during the subsequent Maurya Period. Shunga and Kushan eras also left its mark on the place.

I gaze at the plain surface of the Buddhist Stupa, transporting myself in an era ruled by Ashoka the great! A bird zipped past my head and brought me back from my stupor to present. Back to present reality, I found myself ruminating at the dilapidated condition of a very important Stupa.

History of Buddhist Stupas

As per the Buddhist traditions, the Mallas of Kushinagar performed a royal ceremony fit for a universal emperor after he attained Mahaparinirvana in Kushinagar.

Upon his cremation, the corporeal remains, the ashes of Buddha were carefully kept inside a stone casket and divided in 8 parts.

The Lichhavis of Vaishali were one of the 8 claimants of the relics of Bhagwan Buddha after his Mahaparinirvan. The 8 claimants of the original relics of Buddha were

  • Lichhavis of Vaishali
  • Sakyas from Kapilvastu
  • Mallas of Pava (now called Padrauna)
  • Mallas of Kushinagar
  • Ajatshatru-the King of Magadha
  • a Brahmin from Vethdweep
  • Koliyas from Ramagram,
  • Bulis from Alakappa

I remember my mom, who belonged to Gorakhpur used to say this phase often, ‘Padrauna ke bauk’ which meant fool from Padrauna. Though I don’t know the story behind it.

Buddha Stupa 2

This Buddhist Stupa holds equal significance as well as this stupa was built to mark an important event in the life of Buddha.

It was at this spot that a local chief of monkey presented a bowl of honey to Lord Buddha. The event holds immense importance as per the ancient Buddhist literature. In fact, it is one of the 8 most significant events in the life of Gautam Buddha. The Stupa was built here to commemorate the same.

Much like the relic stupa we discussed above, this Stupa was also a small one. The earlier Stupa was commissioned by Ashoka-The great! As is the case with many other Stupas of India, much of enlargement happened during the Kushana era.

Not only did the Stupa increase in its height and width during Kushana period but also a brick paved circumambulatory path was added around the Stupas for the devotees to walk.

More embellishments such as addition of ayakas at regular intervals and brick encasing happened in the glorious Gupta and late Gupta era.

Unlike the huge Buddhist structures whichI saw in Sanchi Stupa in Madhya Pradesh and Sarnath, the Stupas and other structures of Vaishali were quite small.

Kolhua is also significant because it was here that Gautam Buddha included women in to the sangha and opened a first of its kind monastery for nuns.

No wonder Buddhist from different places of India, countries of South Asia and South East Asia revere these ancient Stupa. You can often see robed men circumambulate around the Stupa in clockwise direction.

This Stupa is located right next to the Ashokan Pillar with lion capital. It is said that Lord Buddha spent a long time here during rains.

Many precious artefacts have been excavated from the area around the Stupa in Kolhua such as a crowned monkey, seals, sealings, beads, inscribed potsherd, terracotta figures, semi-precious stones etc. The crowned monkey figure is related to the same monkey who gave honey to Buddha. Even bricks embedded with semi-precious stones have been excavated here.

Markat Hrid

It is also said that the monkey also created a 7 layered tank known as Markat Hrid aka Markata hrada for Buddha Bhagwan. It measures around 65 x 35 meter in dimension.

The brick lined tank, Markat Hrid is located near the Ashokan Pillar and Stupa in Kolhua. It has two bathing ghats, one at the western wing and another at the southern wing.

Palace and Tank of Amrapali

Amrapali was the famous courtesan who is also responsible for developing the city of Vaishali and thereby adding to its prosperity. She eventually became a disciple of Buddha Bhagwan. She became a Buddhist monk after Buddha included her in Sangha. These are some lesser-known facts.

Vaishali was where the proud chief court dancer Amrapali once lived. It is possible to still see the tank which was a part of the palace of Amrapali. The curious fact about this ancient tank is that no matter what, the weed never grows inside the tank.

It may grow around the tank but never inside the tank. I visited Vaishali in the harsh month of June and saw no weed growing in the tank.

It is said that Vaishali owned a huge orchard of mango trees near Vaishali. She even welcomed Bhagwan Buddha in her mango orchard when he visited here.

The mere name reminds me of the Amrapali mango available in Uttar Pradesh. I am not sure if this common mango variety is named after her. There are many such offbeat places to see in Kolhua Vaishali Bihar.

Vaishali Museum

Contrary to the other Indian museums which are closed on Mondays, the museum at Vaishali is closed on Fridays. So do bear this fact in mind when you visit Vaishali. This museum is not to be missed.

Bhawan Pokhar Mandir

This is a Hindu temple. This ancient temple was built during the Pala period. You can see various idols of Gods and Godesses from the Hindu pantheon. The offbeat Bhawan Pokhar Temple islocated on the northern banks of Bawan Pokhar. It is an unheard-of place.

Raja Vishal Ka Garh

Vaishali Bihar hides so many mysteries in its fertile land. I had heard of the ruins of Raja Vishal Ka Garh. However, no locals were able to help me with the directions. Unable to find the ruins myself either on internet or from locals, I decided to spend some extra money on my budget trip to Bihar.

I hired a local rickshaw who knew where Raja Vishal Ka Garh was located. He charged me extra money but since the sun was about to set and I had to return to Patna on the same day, I paid him with halfhearted bargaining attempts. He also showed me Vaishali Museum for the same price.

When I arrived at Raja Vishal Ka Garh, just before the sundown, I was crestfallen to see that not much remains to be seen here barring a few bricks which indicated where the building once stood. A Bihar Tourism signboard indicated that it was the ruins of the Fort of Lichhavi King Vishal. Vaishali was once the capital of Lichhavi family.

There was no barricading when I visited which meant, I negotiated the undergrowth and made wasted efforts to understand the foundation of the building.

Raja Vishal Ka Garh happens to be the oldest structure located in this region. The old artefacts, antiques and other objects of historical importance which were unearthed here are displayed at the museum.

It is easy to miss this unexplored place because it is located slightly away from the crowds. This lesser-known place is still a major tourist attraction in Vaishali for the discerning traveler.

Birthplace of Bhagwan Mahaveer

Did you know that Vaishali also has a Jain connection? Not many know that Vaishali is the birth place of Lord Mahaveer, who was also the 24th Jain Tirthankara. I am surprised to see that just a small signboard commemorated his birth in Vaishali. It is believed that Lord Mahavir lived here till the age of 22. It is a must-visit place.

This when I have seen beautifully carved Jain temples across India such as the Jain Temples of Pavagarh in Gujarat in West India. Not to forget the grand Jain Temples of Mount Abu and Ranakpur in Rajasthan, Palitana Tirtha in Gujarat and Girnar jain temple, also in Gujarat. I saw some nice Jain Temples in Mumbai in Maharashtra as well while shooting across Mumbai for Outlook Traveller’s guidebook on Mumbai.

Nevertheless, it is still a blessing to be in a land where Lord Mahavira was born around 2550 years ago! To compensate, you can visit the institute meant for research on Jainism. The library located here is worth a dekko as well.  

In Hinduism, birth places of luminaries often have huge Hindu temples built on the spot, such as Ram Janm Bhoomi in Ayodhya and Krishna Janm Bhoomi in Mathura, both located in my home state Uttar Pradesh. The other such simple buildings associated with a religious head I saw was in Jordan in Middle East. Located on the border of Israel and Jordan, I was surprised to see mere simple barricading around the holy spots where Jesus Christ was baptised.


It is a must-see place in Vaishali Bihar. Have you ever seen a Shivlinga with four faces? If you are visiting Vaishali, do not forget to see the Chaturmukhlinga. It has the faces of Surya Bhagwan and Bharma, Vishnu and Mahesh carved.

The trinity represents Lord Brahma as the creator, Lord Vishnu as the preserver and Lord Mahesh or Shiv Bhagwan as the destroyer. Do read my blog on Elephanta Caves of Mumbai where I saw the most beautiful Idol of Trimurti.

From an ancient inscription on the base of Chaturmukhlinga, we know that it can be traced back to the glorious Gupta era. You can see the locals performing pooja, offering prayers and doing bhajan kirtan at the temple located here. It is an offbeat place to see in Vaishali. This hidden gem is an unusual place to see near Kolhua Bihar.

World Peace Pagoda

As is common with most Buddhist places, Vaishali has a modern World Peace Pagoda as well. Also known as Vishwa Shanti Stupa, the World Peace Pagoda is a must-see place in Vaishali, Bihar. It is located near the Vaishali museum.

It is said that the construction of the Shanti Pagoda at Vaishali was the last wish of Fujii Guruji also known as Nichidatsu Fujii. Fujii Guru ji was the founder of Nipponzan-Myōhōji order of Buddhism.

World Peace Pagoda Kolhua Vaishali Bihar

Nichidatsu Fujii was a Japanese Buddhist Monk who became famous after he commissioned the construction of numerous World Peace Pagodas in nations as different as India, Nepal, United States of America and other nations of Europe and Asia.

Nakasato, a Japanese supervised the construction and maintenance of Vishwa Shanti Stupa at Vaishali in Bihar.

More than 80 such peace pagodas now exist around the world! First ever peace pagodas were constructed at Nagasaki and Hiroshima in Japan. These Pagodas are built as a symbol of World Peace.

Vaishali was chosen as the site for World Peace Pagoda because of its significant Buddhist history. The Vaishali peace pagoda stayed under construction from the years 1990 to 1996.

As I circumambulate here in clockwise direction, I noticed an inscription on the Pagoda which said ‘Namu Myoho Renge Kyo’. It’s literal meaning is ‘I devote myself to the Wonderful Law of the Lotus-Flower Sutra’.

I also stop to admire the various statues of Bhagwan Buddha made in fiber and glass. As is common in other pagodas I saw these were painted in gold as well. The sacred relics of Buddha ji have been enshrined safely on the base and top of the Shanti Stupa.

The World Peace Pagoda of Vaishali, located at the Coronation Park measures 125 feet in height and 118 feet in width. The diameter of its impressive white dome is 65 feet.

The other World Peace Pagodas I have visited in India and Nepal are as below

  • Shanti Stupa in Leh in Ladakh in North India
  • Vishwa Shanti Stupa in Ratnagiri Hills, Rajgir in Bihar in North India
  • Global Vipassana Pagoda of Mumbai in Maharashtra in West India.
  • World Peace Pagoda of Pokhra in Nepal
  • World Peace Pagoda of Lumbini, also in Nepal. It is the birthplace of Lord Buddha.

How many World peace pagodas constructed by Nipponzan Myohoji sect of Japanese Buddhists have you visited so far?

Kolhua: An international Destination

Kolhua, despite being an off the beaten track destination, is an international tourist magnet! Despite the neglect, Kolhua Vaishali is a major Buddhist pilgrimage of India and a must visit place in Bihar. Seeking spiritual elevation is the best thing to do in Kolhua,Vaishali, Bihar.

Every year, many Buddhist pilgrims visit Kolhua Bihar to seek spiritual upliftment and connect with the Buddhist roots. Kolhuais one of the most sacred places for Buddhists around the world. Devotees from nations like Japan, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, Thailand, Taiwan, Korea, Sri Lanka etc visit Kolhua Bihar on a regular basis.

In fact, some nations such as Sri Lanka have also built Buddhist temples and accommodation for devout people who stay around Kolhua of Vaishali Bihar for a long time, especially in auspicious rainy season.

Souvenirs Shopping Guide to Kolhua Bihar

After visiting all the sightseeing attractions of Kolhua Bihar, shopping for local products is the best thing to do here. Below are the top things to buy in Kolhua Vaishali Bihar:

  • Khaja
  • Sikki work
  • Homemade toys
  • Local handicrafts
  • Stone Sculptures
  • Lovely Madhubani paintings
  • Lac Bangles of Muzaffarpur

Festivals of Kolhua Vaishali

You must time your Vaishali tour covering all the major attractions around the below mentioned festivals.

Vaishali Mahotsav

Every year on the full moon day of the Hindu month of Vaisakh, Vaishali Mahotsav is celebrated with much fanfare. In Gregorian calendar it falls somewhere around mid-April. Vaishali Mahotsav is celebrated to mark the birth anniversary of Lord Mahavir, also known as Lord Vardhamana. It is an unusual thing to do in Vaishali.

Sonepur mela

Not many know that Pushkar fair of Rajasthan is not the biggest cattle fair of India. It is just marketed well. Also known as the Sonepur festival of Bihar, it is the biggest cattle fair of Asia. Located at the confluence or sangam of holy river Ganga Maiyya and Gandak, the 15 days long festival attracts lakhs of people from all corners of India and other foreign nations.

You can club your Vaishali trip with the Sonepur Mela as its venue is just 35 kilometers away from Vaishali. The Sonepur mela begins from the full moon day of the Hindu month Karthik. It corresponds to October or November in the Gregorian calendar.

Books on Kolhua and Vaishali Bihar

To understand Kolhua, Vaishali and Bihar better, I recommend you to read below books

  • A matter of rats by Amitava Kumar
  • Bihar ka Itihas by Kauleshwar Rai
  • Bihar Chronicles by Shashank Shekhar
  • History of Bihar by Radhakrishna Choudhary
  • Vaishali ki Nagarvadhu by Acharya Chatursen
  • Journey to the West by Wu Cheng’en (Chinese)

Films on Kolhua Vaishali

Do watch the old Bollywood film called Amrapali. Indian Actress played the role of Amrapali while actor Sunil Dutt enacted the role of Ajatshatru in the movie.

Excursions from Kolhua Vaishali

What is there to do near Kolhua Vaishali Bihar? This is a commonly asked question. Places near Vaishali are full of Buddhist history.

Below are some of the top places to see around Vaishali and Bihar.

  • Rajgir
  • Nalanda
  • Bodhgaya
  • Odantapuri
  • Madhubani
  • Mujaffarpur
  • Shergarh Fort
  • Barabar Caves
  • Rohtasgarh Fort
  • Sita Kund, Rohtas
  • Kaimur Hills, Rohtas
  • Telhar Kund or Telhar waterfall, Bhabua
  • Patna (Ancient Kumhrar is a must visit)

These nearby places are also great weekend getaway from Patna, the capital of Bihar.

Best Time to Visit Kolhua Vaishali


October, November, December, January, February and March are the best time to pay a visit to Vaishali. September also has pleasant and moderate temperatures. October and November are mildly cold with sunny days. December and January are the coldest months in Vaishali. February and March are again mildly cold. The best weather condition in Vaishali is in winter.


Summer is not the best time to visit Vaishali. April, May, June are the hottest months in Vaishali. The temperatures are very high in summer here.


July and August are the rainy months in Vaishali. There are perhaps also the months when Gautam Buddha spent time in Vaishali. The climate of Vaishali in rainy months is so soothing.

Where to stay near Kolhua Vaishali

This is a frequently asked question on Kolhua Vaishali Bihar. The tourist amenities in Kolhuaare limited. Still there are some good accommodation options available in Vaishali. Beware though that there are not many luxury hotels near Kolhua Vaishali. You can choose between the non-AC and AC rooms of Youth Hostel. Dormitory beds are also available here.

Vaishali Residency is a luxury property for those who do not want to compromise on comfort and modern frills.

Tourist Bungalow at Ambapali Vihar is also a good choice.

Solo Budget Trip Tips for Kolhua Vaishali

I was on a solo backpacking trip in Kolhua. It is a very pocket friendly destination. The only money I had spent was a few rupees on bus tickets and entrance tickets. I did not stay in Vaishali or near Kolhuaand neither did I have sit-down meals, so that helped me saved money.

You can easily visit Kolhua from Patna under INR 1,000 by bus. This includes the money spent on food and water as well.

These solo budget travel tips will help you see Kolhua on a backpacking budget. Kolhuaalong-with places like Murudeshwara and Mattur Sanskrit Village in Karnataka in South India are some of the most budget friendly destinations I have ever been to.

Vegan and Vegetarian Food around Kolhua Vaishali

There are not many proper stand-alone restaurants around Kolhua Vaishali. It is a small village. Expect city style meals at some hotels. I had delicious samosas from the road side stalls as I waited for my best. It was one of the best one I ever had. It is a good idea to pack some food.

Is it safe to visit Kolhua Vaishali?

Yes, Kolhua Vaishali is very safe to visit. Much like other Buddhist places in Indian which I visited such as Rajgir, Nalanda, Piprahwa, Ganwaria, Kapilvastu, Kaushambi, Sankisa, Kushinagar and Shravasti, Kolhua is also visited by Buddhist monks.

Though located in a remote village, Kolhua is very safe. However, if you are not planning to stay in Vaishali, then you should try to get back to Patna before dark as you can get stuck here.

ATM near Kolhua Vaishali

Be warned that there are not many ATMs in Vaishali or near Kolhuaand digital currency is not accepted at most places here. I withdrew some cash in Patna right before the Kolhuatrip. Patna, being a big city and a capital of Bihar has many ATMs.

Photography Tips for Kolhua

This historical destination is scenic. The villages around Kolhuaare picturesque, especially in winters. I clicked some nice pictures of the historical monuments of Kolhuaduring the golden hour of evening. The monuments of Kolhuaglow beautiful in the evening and morning sun. This is the best time for photography here.

Hire local tourist guide in Kolhua Bihar

I observed that no local guide was available to explain about the excavated site to me. However, if you ask around, you might find someone to help to guide about place.

If you fail to find a tourist guide, you can simply read this information packed detailed travel guide on Kolhuawhere I have explained about each monument of Kolhuaand its history in great detail.

This travelogue on Kolhua, which is based on my own experience, is the most exhaustive essay on Kolhua Vaishali. You will not find these stories in the not found in old school guide books on travel.

Languages spoken in Kolhua

Bhojpuri and Magahi are the main languages which are spoken in Kolhua Bihar. Hindi is also the most commonly spoken and understood language. Some Buddhist monks and tourist guides can also speak and understand English very well in Vaishali Bihar.

Soul Window Travel Tips on Kolhua

It is better to read before visiting Kolhua. Alos watch related video on Kolhua for a holistic understanding before heading here.

UPSC Exam question on Kolhua

Questions on the Mauryan Empire, ruins of KolhuaandVaishali, Gautama Buddha etc are often asked in the UPSC Civil Services Preliminary Exam for for IAS, PCS and IFS. All you wanted to know about Kolhua are answered here.

Toilet facility in Kolhua Vaishali

Clean toilets are located near the monuments of Kolhua complex in Vaishali.

Entry fee in Kolhua complex of Vaishali

There is a small entry fee to enter the Kolhua complex and Vaishali Museum. But there are also plenty of free things to do in Vaishali. Free walking tour in the World Peace Pagoda and some hidden gems of Vaishali is highly recommended by me.

Backpacking Budget Travel Tips for Vaishali

Since most of the points of attractions in Vaishali are located at a short driving distance from each other, it is an inexpensive place. What makes Kolhuavery pocket friendly is the fact that the cost of travel and accommodation here is very low.

Luxury travel Tips for Kolhua Vaishali

Do not expect much of a luxury around Kolhua. That said, you can still find some good luxury hotels nearby because many international Buddhist tourists from South East Asia, Japan, Korea etc visit Kolhua regularly. The nearby Patna has more luxury hotels and other modern frills.

What to wear in Kolhua Vaishali?

You are expected to dress respectfully because Kolhuaand other Buddhist sites in Vaishali are one of the most highly revered Buddhist pilgrimages in the world.

Duration of Visit in Kolhua

How many days to spend in Kolhua?

What can I do in 1 day in Kolhua and Vaishali? I was actually able to reach Kolhua from Patna in shared autos and buses, hire a local rickshaw, see all the major places of interest in Kolhua, take a bus back to Patna before dark and arrived in Patna by night.

What can I do in 2 days in Kolhua? Many people, especially Buddhist devotees stay for many days and even weeks and months in Kolhua Vaishali. If you want to seek a higher spiritual path then you must also stay in Kolhua Vaishali for long term.

Local Transport for sightseeing around Kolhua Vaishali

As a solo, male Indian traveler on a budget, it was difficult for me to find places like Raja Vishal Ka Garh. Also, since I made a day trip to Kolhuafrom Patna, so by the time I had finished visiting all the tourist attractions of Kolhua complex, it had started to get dark.

So, I decided to hire a local auto rickshaw which took me to the Stupa, museum and Raja Vishal Ka Garh. These rickshaws are easily available on the highway and outside the major tourist places in Kolhua Bihar.

How to reach Kolhua Vaishali Bihar

Kolhua is a popular weekend destination from Patna. I saw many local people from the nearby Patna who visited Kolhuaruins in large groups. Exploring Kolhua and Vaishali is a top thing to do with family and kids. For many Kolhua is a picnic spot near Patna. It is also apt destination for solo budget travel.

Distance between Patna and Kolhuais just 40 kilometers and it takes only 1 hour and 15 minutes via NH322.

Here are all possible ways to reach Kolhua Bihar

By air

The nearest airport from Kolhuais at Patna. The city of Patna has a major airport which is connected with all the main cities of India such as Lucknow, Varanasi, New Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and Kolkata etc.

By Train

The nearest railway station from Kolhuais at Hajipur which is just 2.5 kilometers away from Vaishali. Patna, the capital of Bihar has the closest major railway station from Kolhua.

By Road Trip

You can also hire a car from Patna and visit Kolhua. Most of the foreigners from Buddhist nations prefer to book a car and arrive quickly in Kolhua.

I was on a solo, budget trip so I could not afford a private cab. In case you can afford it, please book an easy 1 hour long private cab from Patna.

By Bus

Most bus conductors will drop you at the main entrance of Kolhuafrom where it is located at a walking distance.

While returning back from Kolhuato Patna, I had to wait for a long time for bus. The bus arrived but there was no place to sit. I was not complaining as at least I was able to return back to Patna after making a day trip to Vaishali.

I had passed the Gandhi Setu and Kumhrar of Patna while I took a shared auto rickshaw from rickshaw stand near Hanuman Mandir in Patna Railway Station precincts. Buses to and from Kolhua Vaishali are also available. The buses drop at the main gate of Vaishali. You can walk towards Kolhua complex easily from the highway where the bus drops.

By Auto

I had taken a combination of auto rickshaws and buses to reach Kolhua. I had taken a shared auto rickshaw from the auto stand near the famous and beautiful Mahavir Mandir or Hanuman Mandir near Patna Railway Station. From here the auto dropped me at the start of the long bridge known as Gandhi Setu. The Mauryan era site Kumhrar also fell on the way to Gandhi Setu from Patna railway station.

From Gandhi Setu, I took another connecting shared auto to the next stop. While returning, I waited for a bus for some 10-20 minutes outside the main gate of Kohlua complex. It was starting to get dark and that made me worried. Luckily it is India and there is always a bus, hotel or restaurant which is available. The bus soon arrived and dropped me straight to Patna.

Distances from Kolhua

Distance between Patna and Kolhuais 68 kilometers and it takes around 2 hours via Patna-Parsa-Siwan Highway

Distance between Bihar Sharif and Kolhuais 120 kilometers and it takes around 3 hours and 45 minutes via NH31

Distance between Nalanda University and Kolhuais 114 kilometers and it takes around 3 hours and 30 minutes via NH31

Distance between Rajgir and Kolhuais 148 kilometers and it takes around 4 hours and 30 minutes via NH31

Distance between Madhubani and Kolhuais 130 kilometers and it takes around 3 hours and 4 minutes via NH27

Distance between Bodhgaya and Kolhuais 191 kilometers and it takes around 5 hours and 20 minutes via SH69

Conclusion: Why visit Kolhua Vaishali Bihar

Is Kolhua Bihar worth a visit? Here are my final thoughts. In a nutshell, Kolhuain Vaishaliis one the best Buddhist Sites I have visited in India. The well-preserved Buddhist Stupa and the Ashokan Pillar of Kolhua are some of the highlights of Vaishali.

Once a powerful Kingdom, the Relic Stupa of Buddha in Vaishali speaks volumes of its ancient history. Ashoka from the Mauryan Empire had left his lasting impact on Kolhuawhich can be seen to date.

A top place to see in Bihar in North India, Kolhuais a famous international Buddhist destination, popular with the Buddhist pilgrims of India, Tibet, South Asia and South East Asia. There are many secrets of Kolhua Bihar which are yet to be revealed.

To summarize, Kolhuais a must-see Buddhist site. Do share this blog with your friends and family. Abhinav Siingh of A Soul Window has been mentioned as the No.1 travel influencer of India on many occasions. Do not forget to share the blog with your family and friends!

The view from my Soul Window is from the times of Buddha!

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