Rajgir - The ancient Land

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rajgir

Rajgir is a famous Buddhist destination, situated some 100 km South-East of Patna. It is also an important pilgrim center for Hindus and Jains. Rajgriha, its historical name, which means 'Home of the Royalty', was the first capital of Magadh Mahajanpadha, before the capital was moved to Pataliputra around 500 BC. The name 'Rajgriha' was used as there were many palaces around it. The land has been associated since the time of Mahabharata and Buddha.

Historically, it was the place from where King Jarasandha of Mahabharata era ruled his kingdom. He was a very famous wrestler and used to challenge the opponent in wrestling. Krishna and Bhima had wrestling with Jarasandha in this land thousands of years back. Today, Jarasandha ka Akhara (Wrestling place of Jarasandha) is a place in Rajgir which is believed to the place where Bhima and Jarasandha fought one of the battle of Mahabharata. Later, Buddha visited the place and preached sermons here. Inspired by the thoughts, King Bimbisara of Magadha adopted Buddhism and became its patron. The first Buddhist Council was held in this pious land in 483 BC, soon after the death of Buddha, under the patron of Ajatsatru (Son of Bimbisara), where the compilation of Sutta-Pitaka and Vinaya Pitaka took place.

Rajgir being a historical and religious place has several attractions which
attracts a large number of people from all religions. The most famous and
iconic attraction is Vishawa Shanti Stupa, one of the eighty stupas built
across globe to spread the message of peace and non-violence. The Stupa
has been conceptualized by Fuji Guruji, a Japanese Buddhist monk and
founder of Nipponzan Myohoji order of Buddhism. The white round building
which has four Buddha statue in each direction, is situated on a hill.
A rope-way is used to reach the place, which is an exciting experience.
The remnants of Ajatsatru fort, dating back to 6th century BC,
is also a popular attraction. The Cyclopean wall, which used to be a stone
boundary during the 5-6th century BC, encircling Rajgriha and once 40 km
long is also visible at some places in Rajgir. The hot springs around
temples is one of the most frequently visited place. People bath in
the spring, which is considered pure having source in the Saptarni caves up
in the hills.
Rajgir is dotted with the places relating to Mahabharata period and the Buddha period. There are 26 Jain temples on the hills, which can be reached through tough trekking. Also there are lot of temples in the land. The hills around the Rajgir are famous for their association with various  Jain Tirthankars. Almost all the hills have Jain temple on it. Lord Mahavir is said to have spent 14 rainy seasons in Rajgir and Nalanda between 527-497 BC. He gave his first sermon on Vipula Hill. The other famous visiting places are :

--> Sonbhandar Caves
--> Bimbisar Jail
--> Veerayatan
--> Swarna Bhandar
--> Pippala Cave
--> Gridhakuta Hills

Rajgir Mahotsava : Every year during winter Bihar State Tourism Development Corporation (BSTDC) organizes a colorful festival of dance and music in this ancient land, called Rajgir Mahotsava. Reputed artists do colorful performances which includes dances, instrumental music, devotional songs and opera.This is the best time to visit Rajgir to witness the culture of India from an ancient land.

How to reach :
Rajgir is easily accessible by roads from Patna (~100 km) and Gaya (~75 km). Rajgir has also a railway station which has trains from Patna. The nearest airport is Patna airport. BSTDC runs a tourist bus to Rajgir from Kautilya Vihar (Patna) at 7:00 AM everyday which includes Pavapuri and Nalanda also.

Trains from Patna :

  • Budh Purnima Express (03:15 AM)
  • Shramjivi Express (07:25 AM)
  • Rajgir Passenger (08:20 AM)
  • Rajgriha Intercity (09:15 AM)

Where to stay :
Rajgir has good accommodation facilities. Bihar State Tourism Development Corporation (BSTDC) also has Tourist Bungalows at disposal.

When to visit : October to February is the best time to visit Rajgir, when the temperature is cool. Visit during Rajgir Mahotsva is advisable.

Nearby Places:
The ruins of Nalanda University is situated approx 10 km from Rajgir. One can leave in morning from Rajgir, visit Nalanda and return back by night, as Nalanda does not have accommodation facilities. Pavapuri is an important Jain pilgrim, situated some 35 km from Rajgir.

Hotels in Rajgir

  • Indo Hokke Hotel
    A 3-Star hotel, 44 rooms, restaurant named 'Lotus' & Bar
    Address : Near Viraytan, Rajgir
    Phone : 06112-255231
  • Tathagat Vihar
    BSTDC run hotel, AC-Deluxe-Economy rooms, restaurant
    Address : Near Kund Area
    Phone : 06112 - 255176
  • The Rajgir Residency
    64 Deluxe rooms
    Phone : 06112 - 255404/255405
  • Siddarth Hotel
    Address : Opposite Old Japanese Temple, Rajgir
  • Ajatsatru Vihar
    BSTDC run hotel, Dormitory Beds, restaurant
    Phone : 06112 - 255176
  • Gautam Vihar
    BSTDC run hotel, AC-Deluxe-Economy rooms, restaurant
    Phone : 06112-255273

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