Places of Interest
(Ajatashatur's Fort ,Amaravana (Mango Garden) ,Venuban ,Bimbisara's Jail
Swarna Bhandar ,Cyclopean Wall ,Griddhakuta (Vulture's Peak)
Saptparni Cave ,Pippala Cave (Watch Tower) ,Jain temples ,Karnada Tank
46 kms from Bodhgaya, Rajgir is sacred to the memory of the founders of both Buddhism and Jainism. Rajgir today is vestiges of a legendary and historical remains like the cyclopean wall and the marks engraved in rocks.
Rajagriha in Patna district was the ancient capital city of the Magadha kings. The Buddha often came here to retreat at the Jivkamaravana monastery in a beautiful orchard. One of his most devoted and prosperous devotees, surgeon Jivaka also lived here.
The rich merchant community here soon became the Buddha's followers and built many structures of typical Buddhist architecture. The Buddha converted the Mauryan king Bimbisara, one of his most celebrated followers at the Griddhakuta hill, where he delivered many of his sermons as well. The Japanese have built a Stupa on top of the Ratnagiri hill, linked by a ropeway. After the Buddha reached 'parinirvana' his followers met at the Saptaparni cave in Rajagriha, the first Buddhist Council ever held. It was here that the teachings of the Buddha were penned down for the first time. Rajgir is also an important place of pilgrimage for the Hindus and Jains. Other places to be visited are Bimbisara ka jail, Jarasandha ka akhara, Venuvana, Karand tank, Maniyar math, Swamabhandar cave, Pippala cave, Viswa Shanti Stupa, the famous hot water springs and ruins of an old fort.
Treasure of Rajgir
Amaravana or Jivaka's Mango Garden
Site of the Royal Physician's dispensary where the Lord Buddha was once brought to have wound dressed by Jivaka, the royal physician during the reign of Ajatashatru and Bimbisara.
Site of the monastery Venuvana Vihar built by king Bimbisara for Lord Buddha to reside. This was the King's first offering to Lord Buddha.
Built by Ajatashatru (6th century B.C.), the king of Magadha during the Buddha's time.
The 6.5 sq. metre Ajatashatru's Stupa is also believed to have been built by him.
King Bimbisara was imprisoned here by his impatient son and heir, Ajatashatru. The captive king chose this site for his incarceration. For, from this spot, he could see Lord Buddha climbing up to his moutain retreat atop the Griddhakuta Hill. There is a clear view of the Japanese Pagoda. The stupa of peace was built on the top of the hill.
Two rather strange cave chambers were hollowed out of a single massive rock. One of the chambers is believed to have been the guard room, the rear wall has two straight vertical lines and one horizontal line cut into the rock; this 'doorway' is supposed to lead to king Bimbisara treasury. Inscriptions in the Sankhalipi or shell script, etched into the wall and so far undeciphered, are believed to give the clue to open the doorway. The treasure, according to folklore, is still intact.
The second chamber bears a few traces of seated and standing guards etched into the outer wall.
The Cyclopean Wall
Once 40 km. long, it encircled ancient Rajgir. Built of massive undressed stone carefully fitted together, the wall is one of the few important pre-Mauryan stone structures ever to have been found. Trace of the wall still subsist, particularly at the exit of Rajgir to Gaya.
Griddhakuta or Vulture's Peak
This was the place where the Lord Buddha set in motion his second wheel of Law and for three months every year during the rainy season,preached many inspiring sermons to his disciples. The Buddha Sangha of Japan have constructed a massive modern stupa, the Shanti Stupa (Peace Pagoda), at the top of the hill in commemoration. A bridle path leads up to the hill but it is much more fun to take the Aerial Chairlift which operates every day except Thursday.
One way ride takes 7.5 minutes and the view is splendid over the hills of Rajgir.
On hill crests around Rajgir, far in the distances one can see about 26 Jain temples. They are difficult to approach for the untrained, but make exciting trekking for those in form.
At the foot of the Vaibhava Hill. A staircase leads up to the various temples. Separate bathing places have been organised for men and women and the water comes through spouts from Saptdhara, the seven streams, believed to find their source behind the
"Saptaparni Caves", up in the hills. The hottest of the springs is the Brahmakund with a temperature of 450C.
Above the hot springs on the Vaibhava Hill, is a rectangular stone sculpted by the forces of nature which appears to have been used as a watch tower. Since it later became the resort of Pious hermits, it is also called Pippala Cave and popularly known as
"Jarasandh Ki Baithak" after the name of the king Jarasandh,a contemporary of Lord Krishna described in the epic Mahabharata
Other Places of Interest
Other archaeological sites including the Karnada Tank where Lord Buddha used to bathe, the Maniyar Math that dates from the 1st century AD, the Maraka Kukshi where the still unborn Ajatashatru was cursed as a patricide, the Rannbhumi where Bhima and Jarasandh fought one of the Mahabharat battles.
The Chariot Route and shell inscriptions are worth a visit for the strangeness of the phenomenon, two parallel furrows cut deep into the rock for about thifty feet giving credence to the local belief that they were "burnt" into the rock by the speed and power of Lord Krishna's chariot when he entered the city of Rajgir during the epic Mahabharata times. Several shell inscriptions, the undeciphered characters current in central and eastern India from the 1st to the 5th centuries AD, are engraved in the rock around the chariot marks. Virayatan--a Jain temple and Museum.
How to get There
Air : The nearest airport is at Patna 101 kms. Indian Airlines connect Patna to Calcutta, Bombay, Delhi, Ranchi and Lucknow.
Rail : Though Rajgir itself is the railway station yet the nearest convenient railhead is at Gaya 34 kms.
Road: Rajgir is connected by road to Patna 102 kms, Nalanda 12 kms, Gaya 34 kms, Pawapuri 38 kms, Bihar Sharif 25 kms etc.
Road : Regular buses are available from all the above said points to Rajgir.
Local Transport: Taxis and Buses and Tongas are available.