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With a total population of about 42000, Rajgir (Royal Mountain) is a historic city and popular tourist destination in the Nalanda district of Bihar. Rajgir is a worthwhile location to visit and explore because it has many historical secrets hidden behind its walls. The distances between Rajgir and Patna, Patna Railway Junction, Gaya International Airport, and Nalanda are 78 km, 75 km, and 110 km, respectively.
Location: Rajgir, Bihar
Nearest Airport: Gaya International Airport
How to reach: By road
Best time to visit: September-October
Known For: Ancient temples and natural hot spring
WHAT TO SEE
Griddhakuta (Vulture’s Peak), Pippala Caves
Jain Temples, Hot Springs
Venuvana, Jivakarma Monastery
Jarasandh ka Akhara, Saptaparni Cave
Laxmi Narayan Temple
Rajgir is well-known for its connections to numerous dynasties, monasteries, and Kings. Rajgir served as the Haryanka Dynasty’s capital during that time period and was referred to as Rajgriha (House of Royals).
It was known as Girivraja or the Jarasandha dynasty in the Mahabharata. King Jarasandha was slain by Bhima, one of the Pandavas, during a wrestling contest.
Rajgir is very popular among Jains and Buddhists as it was the birthplace of the 20th Jain Tirthankar Munisuvrata. Both Gautam Buddha and Mahavira taught their beliefs and learnings to the people during the 5th and 6th centuries BC. Nalanda University is situated near Rajgir where Lord Mahavira spent fourteen years of his life. King Ashoka also stayed here when he was traveling to Bodh Gaya to visit the temple where Lord Buddha attained enlightenment.
Rajgir is very rich in culture as it is closely related to both Buddhism and Jainism. Gautam Buddha attained enlightenment near Rajgir and the 24th guru of Jains was also born in Bihar and spent 14 years of his life in the caves of this ancient city. Rajgir witnessed many great people who brighten up mankind.
Today, still the majority of people in Rajgir follow Buddhism and Jainism. They go and stay in caves for meditation, take hot springs, live in monasteries, etc.
Every year in Rajgir, the tourist department of Bihar organizes Rajgir Nritya Mahotsav, and with the help of the festival, they try to show the regional as well as classical art of Indians.
To get a glimpse of Ancient India there are some places to visit in Rajgir
It means Vulture’s Peak. According to Buddhist Texts, it is an ancient hill where Lord Buddha stayed. In the 19th century, the Japanese Shanti Stupa was built there and it became a major attraction for both ancient and modern travelers.
It is also called Jarasandha ki Baithak situated in Vaibhava Hills. It was used as an ideal location for meditation because of peace. It is a popular Buddhist pilgrim destination.
There are a total of 26 Jain temples in Rajgir. Some Jain temples are situated in difficult terrain, making access difficult for the average person. Swetambar Jain Temple and Kundalpur Rishabhdev Jain Temple are a couple of examples.
They are very popular among tourists and are located at the foot of the Vaibhava Hills. The water of springs came from Saptdhara through spouts. Among all of them, Brahmakund is considered the hottest.
Venuvana, a bamboo grove was given to Lord Buddha by King Bimbisara of the Haryanka Dynasty. It was the first Buddhist Monastery. This was the place where monks used to stay and relax during their journey.
Jivaka (one of the greatest physicians of that time), donated this Monastery to Lord Buddha.
Jarasandha Ka Akhara
It is a place related to the Mahabharata period. Jarasandha, an evil warrior used to practice his martial arts skills here.
The first Buddhist Council took place here under the guidance of Maha Kassapa. Sometimes Lord Buddha used to stay here which makes this place famous among Buddhists.
Activities in Rajgir:
Rajgir Dance Festival
Rajgir Nritya Mahotsava, often referred to as Rajgir Dance Festival, is a celebration of dance and music. It is a three-day event that was first held in 1986. The festival, which features both classical and folk dance as well as classical music, is put on by the Nalanda Administration with the assistance of the Bihar Government. Participants come and take part from all around India. It takes place in October (the previous week). The tourists who come each year to celebrate and promote India’s rich culture have a special place in their hearts for this festival.
Hot Spring Bath
It is considered as hot water as it comes from the foot of Vaibhava Hills and is very pious. So tourists come and never skip the bath there. It is also a belief that hot spring baths cure many skin diseases; it passes through many ayurvedic plants and generates medicinal properties in them.