Rajgir, "House of the King", is an important religious place for Hindus, Buddhists and Jains. This ancient town has reference in Mahabharata, Buddhist and Jain texts. Rajgir was also developed as health and winter resort with its warm water ponds. (Interactive map of Rajgir)
History of Rajgir
Rajgir was the ancient capital city of the Magadha kings until the 5th century BC. Jarasanadh who hailed from this place had defeated Krishna 18 times. Mahabharata reco unts a wrestling match between Bhima and Jarasandh, the then king of Rajgir. Jarasandh was invincible as his body could rejoin any dismembered limbs. According to the legend, Bhim split Jarasandh into two and threw the two halves facing opposite to each other so that they could not join.
It was at this place the Gautam Buddha spent several months meditating, and preaching at Griddhkuta,(Hill of the Vultures'). He also delivered some of his famous sermons and converted King Bimbisara of Magadha and countless others to his religion. Rajgir is also famous for its association with Maurya Kings Bimbsara and Ajatashatru. Ajatshatru kept his father Bimbsara in captivity here. On one of the hills is the cave of Saptparni where the first Buddhist Council was held under the leadership of Bhikshu Kashyap. The Saptparni cave is also the source of the Rajgir Hot Water Springs that have curative properties and are sacred to the Hindus, Buddhists and Jains. Today an aerial ropeway provides the link with a hilltop stupa "Peace Pagoda" built by the Japanese.
Places of Interest in Rajgir
Amaravana (Jivaka's Mango Garden)
Jivaka, the royal physician during the times of Ajatshatru and Bimbisara used to practice here. It is said that lord Buddha was also brought here for a cure of a wound.
The twin Rock-cut caves, are supposed to be the doorway to the treasury of King Bimbisara. One of the cave is said to be the guard room. While the other is supposed to be the passage to king Bimbisara's treasury. The treasure, according to folklore, is still intact.
The Cyclopean Wall
The 40 km long wall encircles ancient Rajgir. Built from massive pieces of stones, it was constructed before the Mauryan rule.
Griddhakuta (Vulture's Peak)
At the top of Ratnagiri hill, where Lord Buddha preached many inspiring sermons, a Peace Pagoda has been built by the Buddha Sangh of Japan. There is a roapway which takes around 8 minutes to take tourists on the top. It gives a splendid view of Rajgir.
There are more than 25 Jain temples around Rajgir. Situated on mountains, they are approached easily by those who love trekking.
The hot springs are a major tourist attractions. They are at the foot of the Vaibhava Hill. The hot water is supposed to come from the 'Saptaparni Caves', situated on top of the hill. Brahmaputra is the hottest spring with water temperature being 45 degree C. Separate bathing places for men and women have been organised.
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