Rajgir

The abode of Gods – Rajgir

Rajgir, meaning the abode of Gods, is a town in Nalanda district about 93 km southeast of Patna. The town has been an important part of major religions like Hinduism, Jainism and Buddhism. Relics associated with the Jain and Buddhist religions have been uncovered amid archaeological excavations. Gautam Buddha is said to have spent numerous months in meditation on Gridhakut which means Hill of Vultures. Mahavira spent around 14 years of his life in Rajgir and its adjacent districts.

The ropeway can be utilized to reach to the Vishwa Shanti Stupa. A ride on the ropeway gives astonishing views of the town and the Shanti Stupa itself. The ropeway can take just a single individual at any given moment. Constructed in 1965, this blazing-white, 40m stupa stands atop Ratnagiri Hill about 5km south of town. Recesses in the stupa feature golden statues of Buddha in four stages of his life – birth, enlightenment, preaching and death. The hot springs, known for their medicinal values and religious value are prevalent among explorers and voyagers. The town is surrounded by hills all around which give various trekking opportunities. There are a couple of temples you can visit like the Maniyar Math that is devoted to Mani Naag, the local god.

The fascinating surrounds of Rajgir are bounded by five semiarid rocky hills, each lined with ancient stone walls – vestiges of the ancient capital of Magadha. As both Buddha and the Mahavira spent some serious time here, Rajgir is an important pilgrimage site for Buddhists and Jains. And a mention in the Mahabharata also means that Rajgir sees a large number of Hindu pilgrims, who come to bathe in the hot springs at the Lakshmi Narayan Temple.

Hindu pilgrims visit the Lakshmi Narayan Temple, about 2km south of town (turn right out of the bus stand and keep walking), to enjoy the health benefits of the hot springs here. Temple priests will show you around, pour hot water on your head as a blessing and ask for generous donations.

Rajgir is littered with historic sites, so bank on spending a couple of days here, including a side trip to Nalanda. It’s a lovely part of Bihar; greener and more rural than other places in the region, and relatively hassle-free.

RajgirMahotsava is the town’s major cultural festival, featuring three days of classical Indian music, folk music and dance at the end of November, or sometimes December.