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The Mystic Town of Rajgir

Jarasandha from ancient times, Bimbisara from history, Sri Buddha from the beliefs, and the Vardhamana Mahavira; the city of Rajgir has a lot of stories to tell. When we close the eyes for one second standing in front of the city it would be as if the year is going to be back.


Rajgir, lying in the middle of five mountains, is the land of heroes, feasts and wars. Beyond that, there is a great civilization of solitary meditations, prayers and chants. About 110 km by road from Patna, this terrain will take the travelers through history and legends. Rajgir has been frequently cited in Mahabharata, Buddhist Jain scriptures and the travelogues of Chinese travellers and has become a major tourist center of Bihar along with Buddhagaya and Nalanda.

It is a major pilgrimage center of Buddhism across the globe. Rajgir is located at Nalanda District, where Nalanda University marks the intellectual symbol of India. Reach Bhaktiyur Puri from Patna through the National Highway. From there you can reach Nalanda via the State Highway. Rajgir is just about 12 kms away from Nalanda. The mountains, trees, waterways, mud, calmness and peacefulness make a special atmosphere in Rajgir.


Rajgir has many names in history and mythology. The names include Vasumati, Barhadra Tapura, Girivajra, Kushagrapura, Raja Griha etc. Girivajra is the most commonly used name. The meaning in Pali language is the king’s house. Girivajra was formed during the Mourya Empire. Rajgir is the first capital of the Magadha Empire. Rajgir witnessed the stability and ages of Buddhism and Jainism. It is the area that had spread the Upanishad Vedas and Charvaka Theory. Rajgir was the capital of the Magadha dynasty till BC 5th Century.

Rajgir was known through Bimbisara, the dominant ruler of the Magadha dynasty. Bimbisara’s son is the Ajatashatru. The capital of Magadha was Rajgir during his reign. It continued until when his son Udayan shifted the capital to Padaliputra. In BC 413 Shishunaga established Shishunaga Empire making Rajgir as the capital. Son Ajathashatru put Bimbisara in prison at Rajgir and he died in imprisonment. The ruins of this prison belong to Rajgarh’s views.

The Mahabharata too mentioned Rajgir. Jarasandhan was the king of Rajgir. When Krishna killed Kamsa, Jarasandhan came to Madurai to defeat Krishna but he failed. Jarasandhan and Pandavas encountered many times at Rajgir. Krishna defeated Jarasandha for 17 times from here. The jarassandan and Bhima battled the Dwandwa War here and finally Jarasudhana was defeated in battle at the battlefield. Bhima has cut him into two pieces and has thrown in the opposite direction. The body parts were thrown in the two directions as it would never join. It is believed that Jarasandha’s wrestling training center is here. It is also believed that Vasu, the son of Lord Brahma has built the city of Rajgir.

Buddha and Vardhamana Mahavira

Chinese travellers Fahien and Huang Tsang had visited Rajgir many times. These are referred in their travel journals. Huangsang says Rajgir is of two types- the old town and the new city. Rajgir was a Buddhist village. The Buddhodayam picturizes that, Siddhartha leaving from the palace and family was headed to Rajgir. Rajgir is the place where Gautama Buddha meditated for months. Buddha meditated at Gigrakoodam lying at the top of the mountain. It is also at this place that the kings including Bimbisara were led to Buddhism.

Venuvan Vihar forest was the place given by Bimbisara to Buddha. It is still in Rajgir and the Japan Buddhist Society has built a Buddhist temple in Rajgir. There are many who consider Rajagiri as Ayurvedic Center. After the death of the Buddha,this place happened to be the venue of  the Buddhist Council organized by the Mahakashyapa. 500 Buddhist monks recited the chants of Vinayapathaka on that day.

 Tourist places in and around Rajgir

Jarasandha ka Akhara:

According to legend, Jarasandhan and Bhima were fighting for months at this place where the Dwandvav-war took place. This is the favorite place for those who love wrestling. The soil from here is collected by some people for doing poojas.

The Ajatshatru Fort:

According to the Pali literature, the fort dating from the 6th century has 34 big gates and 64 smaller gates.

 The Cyclopean Wall:

Rajgir’s surroundings walls were around 40 km long at a time, and the miracle is that the stones used marked the time before the Mauryan rule.  The wall is built without using cement and it happened to be a wonder.


The place built for Buddha to stay and it is the best place for meditation.

Bimbisara’s Jail:

There are the remains of the prison which was built by the son Ajathashatru to imprison his father Bimbisara. Here you can see the view of Lord Buddha that he went to Prayer. Vishwa Shanthi Stupa is also visible from here.

 Jain temples:

There are 26 Jain temples within the city of Rajgir.

 Sonbhandar Caves:

It takes 6 hours journey from railway station to reach these caves. These consist of two caves within a huge rock.

 Brahma Kund:

 The hotwater springs all around is the main attraction of the pilgrims at Rajgir. The people believe that bathing in this holy water is the cure for many diseases.

The Vishwa Shanti Stupa:

It is a prominent tourist attraction of Rajgir. The 160 feet high Shanti Stupa pillar is located at the top of the Ratnagiri hill at a height of 400 meters. It is built out of marble.Buddha’s statue has been captured on the four corners of the Stupa. It is one among the 80 peaceful tombs in the world. In 1969 Japan Buddhist Society founded this Stupa and it has been built for 18 months. There are two ways to reach here. We can either take the rope way to reach the Two thousand feet height Mountains or else climb thousands of steps to reach the destination. There is the facility to pray inside the Stupa.

Gridhakuta Hill:

Viswashanti Stupa is a little distant from the Gridhakuta Mountain. Buddha meditated here for a long time. The Buddha’s words were first recorded here and the main place for the pilgrims.

Maniyar Math:

Here the main deities are the Maninaga statue. The inner wall has male snakes and the female snakes pictured. The temples and buildings built out of stone are beautifully attracted. History is that the people of Magadha worshiped the Nagas or snakes.

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