Vaishali Mahotsava, celebrated at Vashali, is a popular festival. Vaishali is the place where Buddha attained Parinirvana. It is also the venue of the Second Buddhist Council where hundreds of monks met to settle a dispute about Vinaya rules and to chant the suttas together.
Vaishali Mahotsava is celebrated by both the Digambara and the Shwetambara Jains. The festival is held on the birthday of Lord Mahavir, the Jain Teerthankar, on 13th day of the bright half of the Chaithra month. The festival is celebrated among Jain followers all across the country generally but Vaishali Mahotsava has especial appearance in this regard.
Other than Bihar, the festival is celebrated grandly in the states of Rajasthan and Gujarat where the Jains are settled in large numbers. On this day, Jain pilgrims from all over the country congregate at the ancient Jain shrines at Girnar and Palitana in Gujarat and at Mahavirji in Rajasthan and Pawapuri.
On the occasion of Mahavir’s birthday a grand festival is held here. On this auspicious and holy day, grand chariot processions with the images of Mahavir are taken out. Rich ceremonies are held in the temples and fast and charities to the poor and the needy are done. On this day the Jain scriptures are devotedly read and in some places big fairs are held.