Location : In Bihar, 105 kms from Patna.
Attractions : Griddhakuta, Pipphali House or Cave, Jain Temples, Hot Springs, Laxmi Narayan Temple, Venuvana, Tapodarama etc.
Best Time To Visit : October to March
Rajgir is a town located in Nalanda district of the state of Bihar. Literally meaning the 'house of king', Rajgir was the ancient capital city of the Magadha Kings until the 5th century B.C when Ajatshatru moved the capital to Pataliputra ( now Patna). During that period, Rajgir was called as Rajgirh, which mean the 'home of Royalty' The mythological epic Mahabharata has called it Girivraja, besides, it has also been mentioned in Buddhist and Jain scriptures with different name. Chinese Buddhist pilgrims, Faxian and Xuanzang has given the reference of Rajgir and many other nearby locations in their works. Rajgir has been associated with both the Buddhism and Jainism religions and also with Lord Buddha and Mahavira. Echoing with the great historic tales, Rajgir is now a famous pilgrimage and tourist destinations of Bihar. Due to its warm water ponds, Rajgir has now developed as a health and winter resort. According to local belief the hot springs contain some medicinal properties that help in the cure of many skin diseases. The Rope way is another attraction of Rajgir that leads uphill to the Shanti Stupa and Monasteries built by the devotees of Lord Buddha. Moreover, whether you are religious minded people or a common tourist, visit Rajgir and enjoy a vacation of lifetime.
Tourist Attractions in Rajgir
Griddhakuta (Vulture's Peak) : Griddhakuta is an ancient hill and described in Buddhist canonical texts as one of playes where Lord Buddha stayed when he was at Rajgir. Described both by Xuanzang and Faxian, Griddhakuta was identified in the later 19th century and now crowned by the Japanese built Shanti Stupa and has a chairlift at the top. Griddhakuta has remained a major destination for pilgrims in both the ancient and modern periods.
Pipphali House or Cave : Papphali House is also an ancient place mentioned in the Pali Canon. It is regarded as the place where Maha Kassapa stayed for a short time, when he was ill. Actually Maha Kassappa stayed at the Pipphali Cave, but adjacent to this there was also a house with the same name.
Jain Temples : There are 26 Jain Temples on hill crest around Rajgir. Jain Temple are located at tough terrain and it is very difficult for the untrained to reach there. However, if you are an experienced in trekking you will surely enjoy the trek to the temple.
Hot Springs : Hot Springs of Rajgir are very popular and they lie at the foot of the Vaibhave Hill. Separate bathing arrangements have been made for men and women and a staircase leads upto the various temples. The water of the springs comes from the Saptadhara through spouts, believe to find their source behind the Saptaparni Caves high in the hills. The Brahmakund spring is the hottest of the springs and has a temperature of around 45 degree Celsius.
Venuvana : Venuvana, a bamboo grove was given by Bimbisara to Lord Buddha, which was also the first Buddhist Monastery ever. The bamboo grove was given to Buddha so that he and his monks could relax here and give their massages to people.
Jivakarama : Jivakarama monastery was donated to Buddha by Jivaka, the greatest physician of Buddha's time.
Tapodarama : An ancient monastery of the time of Lord Buddha, Tapodaram was located on the site of the hot springs. Now a Hindu temple has been erected here, called the Laxmi Narayan Temple. During the ancient times, the hot springs used to be the site of Tapodarama, a Buddhist monastery.
Saptaparni Cave : Saptaparni Cave is the site where the first Buddhist Council was held under the guidance of Maha Kassapa. Lord Buddha also stayed at this place sometimes and it was used an an accommodation for monks.
Jarasandha Ka Akhara : Jarasandha Ka Akhara is an important place related to the great albeit evil warrior who used to practice martial arts here daily. There relentless attack on Mathura also caused Lord Krishna to migrate the people of Mathura to Dwarika.
Laxmi Narayan Temple : Laxmi Narayan Temple, a pink-coloured Hindu temple is dedicated to Lord Vishnu and his consort Goddess Laxmi. Within its grounds the temple has ancient hot springs, where the people used to take a dip in the ancient time. Now the spring has been tapped at a higher level and flows through many ceramic pipes in a hall, where people sit under it and enjoy the bath. Muslims are not allowed to enter inside the hot spring bath hall.
Bimbisara's Jail : Situated in the middle of the valley, Bimbisara's Jail is a ruin of circular structure with turrets at each corner. Discover in the year 1914 AD, the Bimbisara's Jail looks like a military structure and possibilities are that it could be a Buddhist monastery of the first millennium AD.
It is said that Bimbisara was imprisoned by his son Ajastashatru here, and took the glance of Gridhakuta and the Lord Buddha through a window.
Tourist Attractions Around Rajgir
Nalanda : Just 10 kms Rajgir is Nalanda, from where ruins of the ancient university have been excavated. One of the oldest universities of the world, the Nalanda University was founded in 5 th century AD and flourished till the 12th century.
Kundalpur : Kundalpur is 18 kms away Rajgir, the Digamber sector of the Jains believe that Lord Mahavir was born here. Here you will see a Jain temple and two lotus lakes - the Pandava
and the Dirga Pushkarni.
Swarajpur - Baragaon : Located at a distance of 18 kms from Rajgir, Swarajpur - Baragaon is a pilgrimage destination and houses a lake and temple of Surya, the Sun God. Thousands of people visit this pilgrimage destination during 'Vaisakha' (April - May) and in 'Kartika' (October - November) during the Chhath Puja.
Bihar Sharif : Situated at a distance of 25 kms from Rajir, Bihar Sharif once the capital of Muslim Governors of Bihar between the 13th and 16th centuries. Bihar Sharif houses the tomb of a Muslim Saint of 14th century Makhdum Shah Sharifuddin and attracts thousands of pilgrims of all religions every year.
Pawapuri : Located 35 kms away from Rajgir, Pawapuri is a place of great importance for the Jains. Pawapuri is home to two beautiful temples Jalamandir and Samosharan temple. Mahavira Teerthanks, the greatest profounder of Jainism had given his last sermon and Mahaprinirvana here, and he was cremated here also.
Other Attractions of Rajgir
Rajgir Dance Festival : Department of Tourism and Development Bihar organizes the dance festival from October 24 to 26. During the festival the artists from the state present the classical and folk dances.
Malamasa Mela : Malamasa Mela is held here in every three years in which thousands of the people participate. According to the Indian calendar every three years has a 13th month which is considered auspicious, that's why this festival is held.
Makar Sankranti Mela : A specific festival of R ajgir, the Makar Sankranti Mela is held on the last of the lunar calendar month 'Paus' (mid January). During the Mela the devotees offer flowers to the deities of the temples at the hot springs and take a holy dip.
How to Reach Rajgir
By Air : Nearest airport is located in Patna (107 kms), which has flights for major destinations of India. Indian Airlines / Alliance Air and many other airlines operate flight to and from Patna to Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Ranchi and Lucknow. From the airport private taxis are available for various parts of Patna.
By Train : Rajgir is connected by rail with Patna which is the major railhead of Bihar. Patna railway station is served by large number of express and superfast trains with all the important cities of India.
By Road : Good motorable roads connect Rajgir with important places of the state and rest of the country. From Patna, the Bihar State Tourism Development Corportation (BSTDC) organises round trips to Rajgir. Air Conditioned and Non-Air Conditioned cars, mini deluxe coaches and deluxe coaches are also available. You can also hire cars or taxis from Patna to Rajgir for a day trip.
Places Where You Can Stay Good accommodation options are not available at Rajgir, better you stay in Patna and take a day trip to Rajgir. Patna has a number of deluxe and budget hotels that offer accommodation at reasonable rates. Some of the popular hotels of Patna include Hotel Maurya Patna (South Gandhi Maidan), Hotel Chanakya (Beer Chand Patel Marg), Pataliputra Ashok (Beer Chand Patel Marg), Samrat International (Fraser Road) etc.