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Encyclopedia > Kosambi

Kosambi (Pali) or Kausambi (Sanskrit) was one of the greatest cities in India in the Buddha's time (500 BC). It was the capital of the Vatsas or Vamsas (J.iv.28; vi.236). Pali may refer to: Pāli, a Middle Indo-Aryan language Pali, Rajasthan, a town and district in Rajasthan, western India Pali, a Hawaiian word, meaning cliffs Nuuanu Pali, a region on the Hawaiian island of Oahu Ballaleshwar Pali, the Ganapati temple of pali and place in Maharastra This is... The Sanskrit language ( , for short ) is an old Indo-Aryan language from the Indian Subcontinent, the classical literary language of the Hindus of India[1], a liturgical language of Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism, and one of the 23 official languages of India. ... Standing Buddha sculpture, ancient region of Gandhara, northern Pakistan, 1st century CE, Musée Guimet. ... Vatsa (also knowns as Vamsa, Batsa, or Bansa) was one of the sixteen Mahajanapadas (great kingdoms) of Uttarapatha, in what is now modern India. ... Batsa or Bansa was one of the eminent sixteen mahajanapada of uttarapatha or Aryabarta. ...

The Buddhist Commentarial scriptures give two reasons for the name Kosambī. The more favoured [1] is that the city was so called because it was founded in or near the site of the hermitage once occupied by the sage Kusumba (v.l. Kusumbha). Another explanation is [2] that large and stately margossa-trees (Kosammarukkhā) grew in great numbers in and around the city.

Pilgrimage to
Holy Sites
The most important places of pilgrimage in Buddhism are located in Northern India and Southern Nepal, in the area between New Delhi and Calcutta. ...

The four main sites
Lumbini · Bodh Gaya
Sarnath · Kushinagar Lumbini (Sanskrit for the lovely) is a Buddhist pilgrimage site located in Rupandehi District, Lumbini Zone of Nepal near the Indian border. ... Bodh Gaya or Bodhgaya is a city in Gaya district in the Indian state of Bihar. ... Sarnath (formerly also Mrigadava, Rishipattana, Isipatana), located 13 kilometres from Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, India, is the deer park where Gautama Buddha first taught the Dharma, and where the Buddhist Sangha was founded. ... Kushinagar or Kusinagar is a Buddhist pilgrimage site located next to Kasia a rural town in the state of Uttar Pradesh, 52 km off Gorakhpur, in northern India. ...

Four additional sites
Sravasti · Rajgir
Sankissa · Vaishali SrāvastÄ« or SāvatthÄ« (Chinese: 舍衛), a city of ancient India, was one of the largest cities during Gautama Buddha’s lifetime. ... Rajgir is a city and a notified area in Nalanda district in the Indian state of Bihar. ... Capitol of the Asokan pillar at Vaishali Vaishali or Vesali (Pali) was a city, the capital of the Licchavis and the Vajjian Confederacy. ...

Other sites
Patna · Gaya
 Kausambi · Mathura
Kapilavastu · Devadaha
Kesariya · Pava
Nalanda · Varanasi
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This article or section does not adequately cite its references or sources. ... Gaya was a confederacy of chiefdoms that existed in the Nakdong River valley of Korea during the Three Kingdoms era. ... Kosambi (Pali) or Kausambi (Sanskrit) was one of the greatest cities in India in the Buddhas time (500 BC). ... Mathura (मथुरा) is a city in India, located approximately 50 km north of Agra, and south of Delhi. ... Kapilvastu, formerly Taulihawa (or, Kapilbastu Kapilvastu District or Tilaurakot), aprox. ... Devadaha was a township of the Sākiyans. ... Kesariya is a small city in Bihar, India. ... Pawapuri in Bihar is a holy site for Jains, located 38 kilometers from Rajgir and 90 kilometers from Patna, India. ... A view of the ruins of Nalanda University In the extreme rear is visible stucco (lime plaster fresco) wall art from the Gupta period. ... VārāṇasÄ«   (HindÄ«: वाराणसी, UrdÅ«: وارانسی, IPA: ), also known as Benares, Banaras, or Benaras (HindÄ«: बनारस, UrdÅ«: بنارس, ; IPA: ), or Kashi or Kasi (काशी کاشی ), is a famous Hindu holy city situated on the banks of the river Ganges (Ganga) in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh. ...

Kosambi in Buddha's time

In the time of the Buddha its king was Parantapa, and after him reigned his son Udena [3]. Kosambī was evidently a city of great importance at the time of the Buddha for we find Ananda mentioning it as one of the places suitable for the Buddha's Parinibbāna [4]. It was also the most important halt for traffic coming to Kosala and Magadha from the south and the west. [5]. Ananda(Ch:阿難) was one of many principal disciples of the Buddha, a devout attendant and was renowned as the Ananda was the first cousin of the Buddha, and was devotedly attached to him. ... In Buddhism, parinirvana (Sanskrit; Pali: Parinibbana) is the final nirvana, traditionally understood to be within reach only upon the death of someone who attained complete enlightenment. ... Kosala was an ancient Indian Aryan kingdom, corresponding roughly in area with the region of Oudh. ... Magadha was an ancient kingdom of India, mentioned in both the Ramayana and the Mahabharata. ...

The city was thirty leagues by river from Benares. (Thus we are told that the fish which swallowed Bakkula travelled thirty leagues through the Yamunā, from Kosambī to Benares [6]). The usual route from Rājagaha to Kosambī was up the river (this was the route taken by Ananda when he went with five hundred others to inflict the higher punishment on Channa, Vin.ii.290), though there seems to have been a land route passing through Anupiya and Kosambī to Rājagaha. [7]). In the Sutta Nipāta (vv.1010-13) the whole route is given from Mahissati to Rājagaha, passing through Kosambī, the halting-places mentioned being: Ujjeni, Gonaddha, Vedisa, Vanasavhya, Kosambī, Sāketa, Sāvatthi, Setavyā, Kapilavatthu, Kusinārā, Pāvā, Bhoganagara and Vesāli. Ayodhya (अयोध्या) is an ancient city of India, the old capital of Awadh, in the Faizabad district of Uttar Pradesh. ... SrāvastÄ« or SāvatthÄ«, a city of ancient India, was one of the largest cities during Gautam Buddha’s lifetime. ... Kushinagar or Kusinagar is a rural town in the state of Uttar Pradesh, 52 km off Gorakhpur, in northern India. ... Pawapuri in Bihar is a holy site for Jains, located 38 kilometers from Rajgir and 90 kilometers from Patna, India. ... Vaishali can refer to: Vaishali District, in Bihar state, India. ...

Near Kosambī, by the river, was Udena's park, the Udakavana, where Ananda and Pindola-Bhāradvāja preached to the women of Udena's palace on two different occasions [8]. The Buddha is mentioned as having once stayed in the Simsapāvana in Kosambī [9]. Mahā Kaccāna lived in a woodland near Kosambī after the holding of the First Buddhist Council [10]. Ananda reciting the Sutta Pitaka King Ajatasattu sponsored the First Buddhist council. ...

Buddhist historical events in Kosambi

Buddhist monasteries in Kosambi

Already in the Buddha's time there were four establishments of the Order in Kosambī - the Kukkutārāma, the Ghositārāma, the Pāvārika-ambavana (these being given by three of the most eminent citizens of Kosambī, named respectively, Kukkuta, Ghosita and Pāvārika), and the Badarikārāma. The Buddha visited Kosambī on several occasions, stopping at one or other of these residences, and several discourses delivered during these visits are recorded in the books. (Thomas, op. cit., 115, n.2, doubts the authenticity of the stories connected with the Buddha's visits to Kosambī, holding that these stories are of later invention).

The Buddha spent his ninth rainy season at Kosambī, and it was on his way there on this occasion that he made a detour to Kammāssadamma and was offered in marriage Māgandiyā, daughter of the brahmin Māgandiya. The circumstances are narrated in connection with the Māgandiya Sutta. Māgandiyā took the Buddha's refusal as an insult to herself, and, after her marriage to King Udena, tried in various ways to take revenge on the Buddha, and also on Udena's wife Sāmavatī, who had been the Buddha's follower [11]. Vassa (Thai พรรษา, pansa or phansaa), also called Rains Retreat, is the traditional retreat during the rainy season lasting for three lunar months from July to October. ...

The Schism at Kosambi

A great schism once arose among the monks in Kosambī. Some monks charged one of their colleagues with having committed an offence, but he refused to acknowledge the charge and, being himself learned in the Vinaya, argued his case and pleaded that the charge be dismissed. The rules were complicated; on the one hand, the monk had broken a rule and was treated as an offender, but on the other, he should not have been so treated if he could not see that he had done wrong. The monk was eventually excommunicated, and this brought about a great dissension. When the matter was reported to the Buddha, he admonished the partisans of both sides and urged them to give up their differences, but they paid no heed, and even blows were exchanged. The people of Kosambī, becoming angry at the monks' behaviour, the quarrel grew apace. The Buddha once more counselled concord, relating to the monks the story of King Dīghiti of Kosala, but his efforts at reconciliation were of no avail, one of the monks actually asking him to leave them to settle their differences without his interference. In disgust the Buddha left Kosambī and, journeying through Bālakalonakāragāma and the Pācīnavamsadaya, retired alone to keep retreat in the Pārileyyaka forest. In the meantime the monks of both parties repented, partly owing to the pressure exerted by their lay followers in Kosambī, and, coming to the Buddha at Sāvatthi, they asked his pardon and settled their dispute [12]. The story of the Buddha going into the forest is given in Ud.iv.5. and in S.iii.94, but the reason given in these texts is that he found Kosambī uncomfortable owing to the vast number of monks, lay people and heretics. But see UdA.248f, and SA.ii.222f). The Vinaya (a word in Pali as well as in Sanskrit, with literal meaning discipline) is the textual framework for the Buddhist monastic community, or sangha. ...

Other events

Bakkula was the son of a banker in Kosambī [13]. In the Buddha's time there lived near the ferry at Kosambī a powerful Nāga-king, the reincarnation of a former ship's captain. The Nāga was converted by Sāgata, who thereby won great fame [14]. Rujā was born in a banker's family in Kosambī [15]. Citta-pandita was also born there [16]. A king, by name Kosambaka, once ruled there. The word Naga can refer to several different things. ...

During the time of the Vajjian heresy, when the Vajjian monks of Vesāli wished to excommunicate Yasa Kākandakaputta, he went by air to Kosambī, and from there sent messengers to the orthodox monks in the different centres (Vin.ii.298; Mhv.iv.17). This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ... Vaishali can refer to: Vaishali District, in Bihar state, India. ...

It was at Kosambī that the Buddha promulgated a rule forbidding the use of intoxicants by monks (Vin.ii.307).

Kosambī is mentioned in the Samyutta Nikāya [17]

Current location of Kosambi

Kosambī is identified with the two villages of Kosam on the Jumna, about ninety miles west of Allahabad. [18]. Vincent Smith places it further south [19]. The river Yamuna is a major river of northern India, with a total length of around 1370 km. ... This article includes a list of works cited or a list of external links, but its sources remain unclear because it lacks in-text citations. ...


  1. ^ E.g., UdA.248; SNA.300; MA.i.535. Epic tradition ascribes the foundation of Kosambī to a Cedi prince, while the origin of the Vatsa people is traced to a king of Kāsī, see PHAI.83, 84
  2. ^ e.g., MA i.539; PsA.413
  3. ^ MA.ii.740f; DhA.i.164f
  4. ^ D.ii.146,169
  5. ^ See, e.g., Vin.i.277
  6. ^ AA.i.170; PsA.491
  7. ^ See Vin.ii.184f
  8. ^ Vin.ii.290f; SNA.ii.514; J.iv.375
  9. ^ S.v.437
  10. ^ PvA.141
  11. ^ DhA.i.199ff; iii.193ff; iv.1ff; Ud.vii.10
  12. ^ Vin.i.337-57; J.iii.486ff (cp.iii.211ff); DhA.i.44ff; SA.ii.222f
  13. ^ MA.ii.929; AA.i.170
  14. ^ AA.i.179; but see J.i.360, where the incident is given as happening at Bhaddavatikā
  15. ^ J.vi.237f
  16. ^ J.iv.392
  17. ^ S.iv.179; but see AA.i.170; MA.ii.929; PsA.491, all of which indicate that the city was on the Yamunā) as being "Gangāya nadiyā tīre." This is either an error, or here the name Gangā refers not to the Ganges but to the Yamunī.
  18. ^ CAGI.448f
  19. ^ J.R.A.S.1898, 503ff


  • Early history of Kausambi, IIT Delhi archive
  • Entry on Kosambi in the Buddhist Dictionary of Pali Proper Names



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