Rajgir Travel guide

 

 

places to vist

*  Japanese stupa, (Atop Gridhakuta).

* Gridhakuta (Vulture's Peak). The place is atop a small hill and believed to be a meditating place of Lord Buddha. On the top of the hill, there is a Viswa Shanti Stupa (Peace Stupa) build by the Government of Japan. One can reach the monument by using the ropeway or the flight of 600+ stone steps leading to the top of the hill. 

* Venuvana (Bamboo grove). Is said to be a bamboo grove gifted to Lord Buddha by Bimbisara, the then king of Magadh.

* Tapodharma/Lakshmi Narayan Mandir. Tapodharma was the site of an ancient Buddhist monestary over which a Hindu temple is built today. The place has hot water springs which are rich in sulphar and said to have a curative effects.

* Saptaparni Caves (also known as Jarasandh's sitting room). These caves hosted the First Buddhist Council and were used by early Buddhist monks as resting places as well as centers of debates.  edit

* Bimbisara's jail. This archeological site is believed to be the jail in which King Ajatshatru has imprisoned his father Bimbisara. From his prison cell, Bimbisara could see Buddha meditating on the Gridhakuta. 

* Chariot Tracks. The Chariot Route and shell inscriptions consist of two parallel furrows cut deep into the rock ground for about thirty feet and are believed to have been made by Lord Krishna's Chariot. Several undeciphered shell inscriptions are engraved in the rock around the chariot marks.

* Maniar Matth. Dating 1 century CE, the Maniar Matth is said to be a monestary of a cult which worshipped snakes. Several snake and cobra figurins have been found in the vicinity in excavations. 

* Sonabhandar. This ancient structure is said to be the treasury of Magadh. 
* Makhdum Kund. This is the shrine of a Muslim Sufi Saint Makhdum Shah and has warm springs similar to Tapodharma.

* Cyclopean walls. Believed to be 2500 years old, these Cyclopean walls are a 40 km long and 4 meteres wide fortification running around the city.

 

 

 

get there and around


By air

Patna is the nearest airport which is connected to the major cities of India.


By train

Rajgir is connected to Patna, Kolkata and Delhi by train.



By road

Rajgir is connected to Patna by road and one can reach there form Patna by using NH 31-82. There are regular buses from Patna to this town. One can also take a rented car to reach the place.


Rajgir is connected to Patna via Bakhtiarpur by rail and road. Bakhtiarpur lies midway between Patna and Mokameh. Road access is byNH 30A to Bakhtiarpur and NH 31 towards south to reach Bihar Sharif. From Mokameh NH 31 to Bihar Sharif. From there, NH 82 will leads to Rajgir. Rajgir is around 100 KM from both Patna and Mokameh. It is located in a verdant valley surrounded by rocky hills. Indian Railways run trains directly from Rajgir to Kolkata and New Delhi.


 

 

Rajgir is a city and a notified area in Nalanda district in the Indian state of Bihar. The city of Rajgir (ancient Rajagriha or Rājagṛha; Pali: Rājagaha) was the first capital of the kingdom of Magadha, a state that would eventually evolve into the Mauryan Empire. Its date of origin is unknown, although ceramics dating to about 1000 BC have been found in the city.

 

 

History


Rajgir, which means 'house of the king', was the ancient capital city of the Magadha kings until the 5th century BC when Ajatashatru moved the capital to Pataliputra. In those days, it was called Rajgrih, which translates as 'the home of Royalty'.

The epic Mahabharata calls it Girivraja and recounts the story of its king, Jarasandha, and his battle with the Pandava brothers and their allies Krishna. Jarasandha who hailed from this place had been defeated by Krishna 17 times. The 18th time Krishna left the battlefield without fighting[1]. Because of this Krishna is also called 'ranacora' (one who has left the battlefield)[1]. Mahabharata recounts a wrestling match between Bhima, one of the pandavas, and Jarasandha, the then king of Rajgir. Jarasandha was invincible as his body could rejoin any dismembered limbs. According to the legend, Bhim split Jarasandha into two and threw the two halves facing opposite to each other so that they could not join. There is a famous Jarasandha's Akhara(place where martial arts are practiced).

It is also mentioned in Buddhist and Jain scriptures, which give a series of place-names, but without geographical context. The attempt to locate these places is based largely on reference to them and to other locations in the works of Chinese Buddhist pilgrims, particularly Faxian and Xuanzang. It is on the basis of Xuanzang in particular that the site is divided into Old and New Rajgir. The former lies within a valley and is surrounded by low-lying hills. It is defined by an earthen embankment (the Inner Fortification), with which is associated the Outer Fortification, a complex of cyclopean walls that runs (with large breaks) along the crest of the hills. New Rajgir is defined by another, larger, embankment outside the northern entrance of the valley and next to the modern town.

It is sacred to the memory of the founders of both the religions: Buddhism and Jainism and associated with both the historical Buddha and Mahavira.

It was here that Gautama Buddha spent several months meditating, and preaching at Griddhkuta, ('Hill of the Vultures'). He also delivered some of his famous sermons and converted King Bimbisara of Magadha and countless others to his religion. On one of the hills is the Saptparni cave where the First Buddhist Council was held under the leadership of Maha Kassapa. Lord Mahavira spent fourteen years of his life at Rajgir and Nalanda, spending chaturmas (i.e. 4 months of the rainy season) at a single place in Rajgir (Rajgruhi) and the rest in the places in the vicinity. It was the capital of his favourite shishya (follower) king Shrenik. Thus Rajgir is a very important religious place for Jains also.

Rajgir is also famous for its association with Shishunaga Kings Bimbisara and Ajatashatru. Ajatashatru kept his father Bimbsara in captivitiy here. The sources do not agree which of the Buddha's royal contemporaries, Bimbisara and Ajatashatru, was responsible for its construction. Ajatashatru is also credited with moving the capital to Pataliputra (modern Patna).