22 kilometres north west of Bettiah is the small town of
Lauriya Nandangar. King Asoka is believed to have raised
some forty pillars but the only one that still stands complete
and in its original location is in this village. Rising
to just over 12 meters high and still exhibiting a remarkable
polish despite centuries of exposure to the elements, it
is a most impressive monument. Six
of Asoka's edicts issued in 244 BC are inscribed on the
pillar and a crouching lion sits on its top. It is a fine
piece of sculpture but its face is missing, having been
shot at with by a cannon in 1660. For a translation of the
edicts on the pillar read The Edicts of King Asoka, Wheel
other thing to see in Lauriya Nandangar is the huge stupa
located behind the local sugar mill. Although now only 24
meters high it has a circumference of nearly 457 meters,
making it one of the biggest stupas ever built in India.
It must have been built to commemorate some important
event or enshrine some precious relic, but what it was is
no longer known. There are hotels in Bettiah and Motihari
but you'll need to lower your standards to rock bottom.
If you are heading to Kusinara from either Vesali or after
having visited the three places further north you will have
to cross the bridge over the Gandak near Gopalganj where
there is a decent hotel.