Famous For: Vishwa Shanti Stupa, Vulture’s Peak or Griddhakuta, Japanese Stupa, Venu Vana, Rajgir Ropeway, Makhdum Kund, Bimbisara’s Jail, Veerayatan Museum, Cyclopean Walls, Saptapari Caves, Sonabhandar, Maniar Matth, Pawapuri, Kundalpur, Tapodharma or the Lakshmi Narayan Mandir, Chariot Tracks, Hiuen Tsang Memorial Hall, Rajgir Hot Springs, Ghora Katora Lake, Stupa Of Sariputra, Ajatshatru Fort, Jivaka’s Mango Garden, Swarna Bhandar, Pandu Pokhar, Jarasandha Ka Akhara, Jarasandha’s Baithak, Shankhalipi Inscriptions, Yesthibhana, Griddhakuta Hills, Chariot Wheel Marks.
Major Attractions: Vishwa Shanti Stupa, Saptaparni Cave, Ajatshatru Fort, Bimbisara Jail, Cyclopean Walls, Jain Temples, Venu Vana, Rajgir’s Hot Springs.
Ideal Visit Time: 3-4 days. The weather in Rajgir is warm and temperate. The best time to visit Rajgir is in winter, that is, between October and March.
Rajgir (historically known as Girivraj) is an ancient city and a notified area in Nalanda district in the Indian state of Bihar. The city of Rajgir was the first capital of the kingdom of Magadha, a state that would eventually evolve into the Mauryan Empire. The city finds mention in India’s greatest literary epic, the Mahabharata, through its king Jarasandha. Its date of origin is unknown, although ceramics dating to about 1000 BC have been found in the city.
Let’s talk about some major sites worth seeing in Rajgir are as follows:
Hot springs are in abundance in Rajgir. All of them are considered to be sacred places for Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism. The Hot Springs are also known for its medicinal values. The Saptarni cave source of Hot Spring is regarded as the most sacred one. The hottest Hot Spring in Rajgir is Brahmakund with 45°C. The Hot Springs are located at the foot of the Vaibhava hills. The water gushes out from the stream named as “Saptadhara”. The hottest spring over here is the Brahmakund, which is 45°C. There are separate bathing places for men and women and the water is supposed to have medicinal properties.
Being a Buddhist pilgrimage, Rajgir is also known as being a pilgrimage for Jainism. There are many Jain temples in and around Rajgir. Digambar Jain Siddha Kshetra Temples are the most prominent ones. Rajgir is surrounded by four hills and these hills have 8 temples. Besides these 8 temples, two are situated in the valley. Lal Mandir, one of the most popular temple is located in the Udaigiri hills. It is a magnificent structure of red and white stones. The Jain temples on the hills surrounding Rajgir are worth the visit. Not only is it fun to go for a tracing on the hills, but also the surrounding landscape provides delightful panorama. There are 26 Jain temples in all.
Saptaparni Cave or Sattapani Cave is a historical site in Bihar. Located 2 km from the main town of Rajgir, it is a hill cave that was acclaimed to be the place where Buddha spent a year or two here before ascending to the heavenly abode. Saptaparni Cave is an important site for the followers of Buddhism. The Saptaparni Cave was the cave where the first congregation of the Buddhist Council took place after Lord Buddha attained Nirvana. The place also has a Burmese temple and a Japanese temple.
Vishwa Shanti Stupa
Vishwa Shanti Stupa (World Peace Pagoda) is a popular Buddhist pilgrim site. It is situated on the Ratnagiri hill. It’s showing the four phases of Buddha’s life through four golden statues of Lord Buddha. The Peace Pagoda is said to be built by a Japanese Buddhist monk, Nipponzan Myohoji in 1969. The Shanti Stupa is a beautiful structure in white and is one of the major Buddhist attractions at Rajgir. It is located at the top of Ratnagiri hill. The stupa has four golden statues symbolizing the four major stages in his life: His birth, His enlightenment, His teaching and His death.
Griddhakuta Hill is a sacred hill in the region of Rajgir. It is a religious small hill where Buddha paid frequent visits to have a dialogue with his disciples. The second helm of commandments by Buddha was taught here. Lotus Sutra and Prajnaparamita were also dictated at Griddhakuta Hill by him. Vulture Hill is another name of this hill. The Gridhakuta hill is also known as the Vulture’s Peak. This is the place where Lord Buddha preached many of his teachings and sermons.
Cyclopean walls are 40 km long walls encircling old Rajgir. It is made of raw stones and was built during the Mauryan period for marking the capital of Rajgir. Even though the wall is no more in its glorious form, yet it still attracts tourists. Cyclopean Walls are popular because they are one of the oldest existing structures in Rajgir. They’re standing in the same position over 2500 years. These walls protected the region of Rajgir from any foreign invasion. Many soldiers also guarded this place. Presently, Cyclopean Walls is a monument of the national interest and is managed by the ASI. Tourists from different parts of Bihar and do not miss out to admire the amazing Cyclopean Walls.
Inside the Ajatshatru Fort is the Bimbisar Jail. It is said that Ajatshatru kept his father, Bimbisar in the prison after he became king. It is situated in the southern side of Maniyar Math. It is surrounded by high walls and stone pillars. It is said that King Bimbisar decided to stay in this small room of the prison during his last days as he could see Lord Buddha, who was residing in the fort at that time going to Girdhkut Parvat for meditation. Hence, the jail provides a amazing view of the World Peace Pagoda.
Ajatshatru Fort was built by the Magadha King, Ajatshatru during 6th century during Gautam Buddha’s time. The fort has a stupa which is also known as the Ajatshatru stupa spreading across 6.5 sq. meters. The fort is an architectural features of beauty. Especially the high walls and the stone tower attracts tourists by its gigantic size. It is said that Lord Buddha resided here during its construction.
Ghora Katora Lake
Ghora Katora Lake is a well-known lake in Rajgir by set amidst a hilly region. Since the shape of the lake resembles the face of the horse, it is known by the name of Ghora Katora. In the previous times, herds of wild horses used to visit here for drinking water. After the development in the area, it completely stopped. Ghora Katora Lake is surrounded by hills and known for its natural beauty. Due to its beauty, people often visit the site to seek some calmness from the chaos of life. The activity of boating can be enjoyed at Ghora Katora Lake.
Rajgir Wildlife Sanctuary
Rajgir wildlife Sanctuary is situated at Rajbir, around 102kms from the capital city of Patna in Bihar. The sanctuary covers an area of around 36sq kms and is surrounded by various hills. These hills are related to Buddhist & Jain religion and have a very rich historical past. The place has a very beautiful classical monsoon climate. The place abounds in natural vegetation cover and mainly comprises of tropical momentary forests. There are various rare species of plants and trees that are hard to find somewhere else. The sanctuary shelters various species of animals like Hyenas, Leopards, Nilgai, Barking Deer etc.
How To Reach
By Road: Traveling from nearby districts to Rajgir is very satisfying bye road. Private and state run buses connect Rajgir to Patna, Gaya, Nalanda, Pawapuri, Bihar Sharif and many other cities in the neighbouring region. So you can easily make your trip to Rajgir.
By Train: Rajgir railway station is less than 1 km away from the town centre. Gaya railway station is the major railway station. It’s about 60 km southwest of Rajgir and it’s connected to major cities in the state and other metros of the country.
By Air: Gaya Airport is about 68 km southwest of the town. It’s connected to Delhi, Kolkata and Varanasi. It’s also connected to international destinations like Kathmandu, Colombo and Bangkok. Patna airport, about 98 northwest of the town is well connected to most Indian cities. As per last information available there are around 80 flights operating daily between these two cities. Patna is well connected to other cities too such as Mumbai, Bangalore and Ahmedabad. It’s therefore relatively simple to fly to Patna and thereafter reach Rajgir. There are taxis available from both airports to reach Rajgir.