The literal meaning of the word Rajgir means 'house of the king' which is
apt for the place considering the fact that it was the capital of the
Magadha Kings until 5th century BC. In fact, the place was the first
recorded capital of India which was a political as well as spiritual nerve
centre of the region. Situated in the rocky hills, it is about 46 km away
from Bodhgaya and the place has many attractions which are important to both
Buddhists as well as Jains.
The place is important for the Buddhists as Lord Buddha spend 12 invaluable
years here in this place. The first Buddhist council after Buddha was held
in the Saptaparni caves near Rajgir. The Mauryan King Bimbisara was
converted by Lord Buddha at the Griddhakut Hill. At this place, Lord Buddha
delivered many of his sermons as well.
Rajgir is just 10 km south of Nalanda and it was here that some of the
famous sermons of Lord Buddha were delivered. Once it was a great city
whereas now the place has turned into a village, though the remnants of its
glorious past still remain.
» Pipali Cave -
The Pipali cave finds mention in the
Pali literature because the place was often used by Lord Buddha for
meditation after his mid day meal. It is located a little up in the Vaibhara
hill from the top of which one could see the panoramic views of the
surrounding areas and lush fields. The cave was so named because there was a
sacred pipal tree at the entrance of the cave where Lord Buddha used to
» Jarasandh Ki Baithak -
Just follow the foot track
on the Vaibhara hill and you'll reach the place known as Jarasandh ki
Baithak. The historians say that the place used to be a military out post
whereas there is an another nearby attraction as well which is pretty well
known as Jarasandh ka Akhada.
» Amravan or Jivaka - Mango Garden -
The place was the site for the dispensary of Jivaka, the royal physician. It
was here that he got to dress the wounds of Lord Buddha when he was injured.
Buddha lived in this Amravan for sometime where Ajatshatru used to come here
to meet him for spiritual guidance. The place was gifted to the Buddhist
order by Jivaka.
» Topada, the hot water springs -
Topada are the
hot water springs of Rajgir which also find a mention in the Mahabharata.
Even today the place is famous for the hot water springs at the base of the
Vaibhara hills which attract the tourists and pilgrims alike. The sick and
infirm also throng the place in the belief that they would be cured by the
waters of the springs.
Nalanda is well known around the world for the ancient International
monastic university that existed here. The university was established in the
5th century BC by the Gupta emperors, and later it became a famous learning
centre in the course of time. It is said that Lord Buddha and Lord Mahavira
have also taught here. There were about 9 million volumes in the library of
the university. Even today the remains of the university can be found in the
area of about 14 hectares. The university could accommodate about 10,000
students and 2,000 teachers in its complex.
Nalanda University Archaeological Complex -
The university was built in
the Kushana style of architecture. You could find here huge gardens, bronze
statues as well as red brick edifices. Out of all the temples, the temple
number 3 is most interesting as it has statues of Buddha in various poses.
» Nalanda Archaeological Museum -
The museum was
established in 1971 and has a rich aggregation of bronze statues of Buddha,
Hindu Gods as well as Goddesses. That's not all as the place has rare
manuscripts, copper plates, stone inscriptions etc. These articles were
found in the excavation of the university site. The museum remains closed on
» Nava Nalanda Mahavihara -
Set up in 1951, it is
the new study centre for Buddhism and Pali literauture. Here research work
on Buddhism and Pali literature is also carried out.
» Huen Tsang Memorial Hall -
Huen Tsang was the
world renowned Chinese traveller who came to India in 5th century AD to
study the society of India. He spent 12 years in the university as a teacher
as well as a student. The existence of the memorial stands testimony to his
contributions to the university.
BY IRCTC LTD