ancient times after crossing the Ganges at Patna the first
village one came to the other side was Ukkacala, now called
Hajipur. The Buddha is known to have taught only one discourse
in at this place, the Cula Goplalaka Sutta, which you can
find in The Middle Length Discourses. However Hajipur is
also of interest because a portion of Ananda's ashes were
enshrined in the town. Ananda acted as the Buddha's personal
attendant for twenty years and outlived him by several decades.
When he knew that his life was drawing to a close he set
off from Rajgir and headed north. King Ajatasattu heard
this and, accompanied by his entourage, went after him with
the intention of begging him to stay. Meanwhile the people
of Vesali heard that Ananda was coming to their territory
and they flocked to the banks of the Ganges to welcome him.
Ajatasattu caught up with the aged saint his boat had already
reached the middle of the river.
The crowds on both banks were imploring him to come to their
side. So as not to disappoint either party and to avoid
the possibility of conflict Ananda rose into the air and
disappeared into a ball of flames. Half his ashes fell on
one side of the river, half on the other and stupas were
later built over each portion. The stupa built on the south
bank of the Ganges has long ago been washed away by the
rivers constantly changing course but the one on the northern
bank is now a grassy mound with a Hindu temple on it situated
in the western outskirts of Hajipur. Go to the centre of
town and ask for the way to Ramchaura. The temple on the
top of the stupa is called Ramchaura Mandir. Hajipur is
10 kilometres across the Ganges from Patna.