Vaisali is an
ancient place. It finds mention in the Ramayana. The legend is that the Ikshvaku queen
Alambusha had a son Visala, who had founded the city named Visalapuri. Sumati, who had
played host to Sri Ramchandra, was one of the descendants of Visala. The Puranas also
mention King Visala. Sri Ramchandra is supposed to have passed one night here while going
During the time of Vardhamana Mahavira, the 24th of the Jain Tirthankaras
and a contemporary of Lord Buddha, Vaisali was a prosperous place. Mahavira Vardhamana had
visited it. A large section ofSwetambar Jains takes Vaisali to be the birth-place of
Mahavira. But this is riot accepted by all the Swetambar Jains. Nor do a large section of
Digambar Jains accept Vaisali as the birthplace of Mahavira.
In recent years, however, the bulk of the Jains of Bihar and some other places have
started treating Vaisali to be the birth-place of Mahavira and Mahavira Jayanti-the
birth-day of Lord Mahavira-is now celebrated with great pomp at Vaisali.