Hajipur

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Hajipur, Vaishali Overview

Hajipur is one of those cities of India which has connected the past and the present in a smooth transition over the years. Though scarce and scattered, Hajipur keeps coming back in the pages of Indian history - be it the time of Lord Buddha or the rule of Islam or the British era, in some way or other, Hajipur is always there. The district of Vaishali, of which Hajipur is the headquarter as well as the largest city, is known for being the place where Lord Gautama Buddha decided upon his final resting - nirvana after bodily death.

The land of Hajipur is dotted with many temples, mostly Hindu. Followers of both Vaishnavism and Shaivism, two significant sects of Hindu faith, visit this place for the many places of worship scattered all over the city. Nestled amidst stretches of agricultural lands and acres of banana plantation, these temples appeal to those for whom spirituality is at the core of travelling. Hajipur also has one of the longest bridges of Asia, stretching over the river Ganges for 5.75km.

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Hajipur was once known as Ukkacala, back in the ancient times. The mention of this town and its nearby places, together forming the land of Vaishali, dates back to the time of Mahabharata, even though not in elaborate details. It is also known for being the land of the Licchavis and the birthplace of Lord Mahavir.

Most importantly, the significance of Hajipur lies in Buddhism. Lord Buddha preached here a middle length discourse called Cula Gopalaka Sutra and later on announced his Parinirvana - salvation of body, mind and soul. Also, a part of the remains of Lord Buddha's long-time personal attendant and his closest disciple Ananda was enshrined here.

In the Mughal history of our country, Hajipur gets a small mention in the fights between rebel Afghan rulers of Bengal and Emperor Akbar; and then later in British Indian history as a small town in the Muzaffarpur district, situated at the confluence of Ganges and Gandak rivers.

Kaun Haara Ghat
The Kaun Haara Ghat is one of the main attractions of Hajipur, not so much for its current existence as much as for the ancient legend associated with it. The very famous fight between the Gaja elephant and the Graah crocodile is said to have been fought here, and the place got its name from everyone asking 'kaun haara?' or 'who lost (the fight)'' This is one of the most significant events of Hindu mythology, related to the stories of Lord Vishnu. A pictographic depiction of this fight can be seen all over the city of Hajipur - it is like an emblem to the place.

Deep Narayan Singh Museum
Located right in the heart of Hajipur at Gandhi Ashram, the museum named after the late Chief Minister of Bihar was established in 1979 by the Directorate of Archaeology and Museum. Among the collection are weaponry, coins and artefacts from the Mauryan and Gupta era, both of which prospered around the then seat of power Pataliputra, now Patna. It also has blow-ups of local freedom fighters. It provides an important insight into Bihar's past and present.

Ramchaura Mandir
Ramchaura Mandir is a Hindu temple dedicated to Lord Rama located at Rambhadra near Helabazar, Hajipur. The folklore says that the temple stands here since the days of Ramayana and Lord Rama himself blessed the place with his presence on his way to Janakpur, where his footprints are worshipped by his devotees. Ram Navami is a huge and important festival here, for obvious reasons, and it is celebrated with lots of enthusiasm.

Mahatma Gandhi Setu
Mainly used for transportation between north and South Bihar, the Mahatma Gandhi Bridge also provides a brilliant scenic view of both the banks of river Ganges here, all rich and lush green with agriculture and banana plantations. The bridge connects Hajipur with Patna and with a length of 5.75 km, is one of the longest river bridges of Asia, and the second longest one of India. A walk from one side of this bridge to another is a comparatively long one, but it's worth it, especially during the sunset or sunrise.

Bateshwar Nath Temple
In a place full of temples, this one is the oldest in Bihar as it goes back in time right to the Mughal era, or so says the myth. The local legend goes that the temple is a self-made and established one and it appeared magically under a thousand-year-old Banyan tree. Because of such an interesting story about its past, the local people have a lot of respect for this temple. It is, however, a quiet and spiritual place in the middle of the green stretches of pastures and will appeal to those who love to travel in the more uncommon, quaint sites.

Baithakji Hajipur
Hajipur is one of the 84 Baithaks of India. This temple, like all other ones, is dedicated to Shri Mahaprabhuji, also known as Vallabhacharya. He was the founder of the Pushtimarg sect of Vaishnavism, and he toured the whole country barefoot thrice to spread his knowledge, conduct Krishna-related seminars and discussing his path with other religious leaders. The Baithaks are the shrines which the followers of this sect visit and pay their respect. It is a spiritual and peaceful establishment to visit and take in the essence of the faith.

Nepali Mandir
Located in the west of Hajipur, the Nepali Mandir is a pagoda-style temple dedicated to Lord Shiva. Unlike the other Shaivite temples which are made of stones, this one is made of finely carved wood and resembles the architectural style of the Himalayan shrines. Hence it was given the name 'Nepali'. It is a great piece of structure to look at, and the confluence of traditional Hindu style and the touch of the northern mountains is worth experiencing.

Stone sculptures and Madhubani paintings, local handicrafts are a must-buy when in Hajipur. Several villages around Vaishali make delightful homemade made toys. Sikki Work, the humble blade of grass is hand-woven into delightful baskets and mats. Another famous item here is the Lac Bangles which comes from the nearby city of Muzaffarpur.

Hajipur city is connected by the trains of Northern and North Central Railway, and its station is called Hajipur Junction, after the city. It is also well connected with other main cities around, especially Patna and Muzaffarpur via buses.

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