Rajgir India was the ancient capital of Magadh
and the meditation place of the Great Buddha. Ajatsatru, the son of
Bimbisara raised a stupa at the fort in honour of Buddha. Presumed to be an
important Buddhist pilgrimage site, it was here that Buddha spent 12 years
in retreat at the Jivkamaravana monasteries in a beautiful orchard. Lord
Buddha converted the Mauryan king Bimbisara, one of his most celebrated
followers to accept Buddhism at the Griddhakuta hill, where he also
delivered many of his sermons as well.
Rajgir is also an important place of pilgrimage for the Hindus and Jains in India.
Lord Buddha spent his days of retreat during the rainy season and used to
meditate and preach on Gridhrakuta, the "Hill of the Vultures".
Lord Mahavir also spent 14 years of his life at Rajgir.
Location of Rajgir
Rajgir is situated 10 kms south of Nalanda and some 60 km away from the
state capital Patna. Rajgir is considered sacred to the memory of the founder of
both Buddhism and Jainism. Rajgir was earlier the ancient capital of the Magadha
Climate in Rajgir
Summer are hot and humid and the average temperature can reach
approximately 45°C. Winters are cold with the average night temperature
at around 10°C. Normally, temperature stays around 20°C. The best
time to travel the place is from October to February.
Major Buddhist Attractions of Rajgir
Gridhrakuta or Vulture's Peak -
The Vulture peak is the
exact location in Rajgir where Lord Buddha sat in meditation for three months in the
rainy season. The Buddha sangha of Japan have constructed the massive modern
stupa called the Viswa Santi stupa at the top of the hill. A path goes up to
the hill but there is also an aerial chairlift. The Vishwa Shanti Stupa is
on a 400 m high hill and is built in marble. The four shining statues of
Buddha are on the four sides of the stupa.
Saptaparni Cave -
Just outside the town and on the
Vaibhara hill are the Saptarni Caves. It was here that the first Buddhist
Council gathered shortly after the Buddha's death to compile his teachings
in writing. The Pippala Cave is nearby which was once used as a watchtower
and later as an abode for the hermits.
Jain Temples -
Far towards the Vaibhara hill one can see
about 26 Jain temples which are difficult to approach for the untrained, but
can make up for an exciting trekking for the strong and adventure lovers.
Built around the hot springs these shrines are of great importance to the
Venu Vana Monastery -
King Bimbisar, the ruler of
Magadha built the Venu Vana Monastery as a residential place for Lord
Buddha. It was then gifted to Lord Buddha by the king, who was a firm
follower of the Buddha and even converted to Buddhism under the instructions
of the lord. The place looks like a monastery in the Japanese style. This is
the place where the Buddha formed the Vinaya rules, told Jataka stories and
gave holy discourses which makes an interesting place to travel.
Hot Springs -
Evolving from the bottom of the Vaibhava
Hill are the seven hot springs, called Saptadhara, that attract all - from
the travellers to the people suffering from health problems. The hottest of
these sulphur springs is the Brahmakund, where the water is a steaming 45
degrees centigrade. Buddha used the waters of the saptadhara to heal the
sick and the sufferers.
Ajatasatru's Fort -
This fort comes complete with watch
towers and ramps giving access to the top of the fort for locating enemy
hiding nearby. Built in the 5th century its outer wall was made of block
stones to give additional strength to the massive bastion.