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Rajgir :: City Information

Best Travel Duration

October to March

About Rajgir

Now a small town, Rajgir was once the capital of the kingdom of the mighty Magadh empire and was known by various names such as Vasumati, Barhdrathpura, Girivraja, Kusagrapura, and Rajgriha. The great Hindu epic Ramayana says that the mythical king Vasu, a son of Lord Brahma, founded this town and named it Vasumati.

According to the Mahabharata, Jarasandha who was killed by Bhima in a duel, ruled over this area and his capital was at Barhdrathpura. Though nothing is known about the other names Kusagrapura, Girivraja and Rajgriha, they figure regularly in Buddhist and Jain texts. The last Rajgriha is the one from which the present name Rajgir has been derived.

During the sixth century BC, Rajgir was the capital of the powerful kingdom of Magadh. It was also the centre of great religious and intellectual activity. The Buddha made several visits to this town and stayed here for a considerable time to propagate his doctrine. Jain texts, on the other hand, say that their last apostle, Mahavira, passed 14 rainy seasons in Rajgir and Nalanda.

It was also the birthplace of Muni Suvrata, a predecessor of Lord Mahavira and the center of the Ajivika sect.

Places to Visit

Ajatashatur's Fort

 

Ajatshatru's Fort, built in sixth century BC, is situated around six km from the Rajgir railway station. The fort was. Bimbisara's jail is also situated here where, according to the legends, he was imprisoned by Ajatshatru.

Griddhakuta (Vulture's Peak)

 

On the Griddhakuta or Vultures Peak, the Buddha set in motion his second Wheel of Law and for three months every year during the rainy season preached his disciples about it. The Buddha Sangh of Japan has constructed a massive modern stupa, the Shanti (peace) stupa at the top of the hill. One can climb up to the top along a bridle path but the aerial chairlift is far more exciting.

Swarna Bhandar

 

The Swarna Gufa is around six km from the railway station. It is believed that there is a treasure house of gold still hidden here. It is said that if one can decipher the inscription engraved here, the doors to the golden vaults would open.

How To Get To rajgir

By Air:

 

The nearest airport for Rajgir is Patna. There are regular flights for Delhi, Calcutta, Varanasi, Lucknow, Mumbai, and Katmandu from this airport. The nearest international airport is Calcutta.

By Rail:

 

Rajgir is on a branch line of Eastern Railway and there are daily trains to Patna and other places nearby.

By Road:

 

There are regular buses from Patna, Nalanda, Gaya, and Bodhgaya to Rajgir. One can arrange for guided tour packages to Rajgir from Patna.