Buddha visited Campa at least once, perhaps several times
and it is the eastern most place he went which can still
be identified. According to legend the city got its name
from the numerous campaka trees that grew around it. The
flowers of this tree are famous for their strong sweet perfume.
The town on the ancient site are now known as Champanagar.
The Buddha taught the Kandaraka Sutta, the famous Sonadanda
Sutta and several other important discourses here.
first is from The Middle Length Discourses and the second
is from The Long Discourses. In the city was a tank called
Gaggara's Lotus Lake which was famous for the thousands
of beautiful lotuses that grew in it and also because a
grove of campaka trees on its banks was the Buddha's favourite
resort while in the city. A large body of water now called
Sarovana Talarb represents the lake the Buddha knew. In
the early 1900's when silt was being cleared from the lake
several Buddha statues were found but their whereabouts
is now unknown.
the locals how to get there. Champanagar is right off the
main pilgrims route which means that it is a bit of a hassle
getting there. On the other hand it also means that when
you sit besides Gaggara's Lotus Lake you can
be certain that your contemplation wont be interrupted by
postcard and trinket sellers. The best way to get to Champanagar
is to take the road that follows the Ganges from Patna east
to Bhagalpur, a journey of about 220 kilometres. It is probably
only worth the trip if you also intend to visit the ruins
of Vikramasila which are another 50 kilometres further on.
Bhagalpur District is one of the most wretched and lawless
in Bihar, quite an achievement, so avoid travelling at night
even by car and be cautious at unofficial road blocks. Allow
at least two days for this trip. Accommodation is scarce
but there is a hotel opposite Bhagalpur railway station.
Don't leave your soap in the bathroom overnight as I did,
the rats will eat it.