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Rajgir
Rajgir
Location of Rajgir
in Bihar and India
Coordinates 25°02′N 85°25′E / 25.03°N 85.42°E / 25.03; 85.42
Country  India
State Bihar
District(s) Nalanda
Parliamentary constituency Nalanda
Assembly constituency Rajgir(SC)(177)
Population 33691 (2001)
Sex ratio 1000/889 /
Literacy
• Male
• Female
51.88%
• 61.49%
• 41.06%
Time zone IST (UTC+5:30)
Area
Elevation

73 m (240 ft)

Rajgir (Hindi: राजगीर, Urdu: راجگیر) is a city and a notified area in Nalanda district in the Indian state of Bihar. The city of Rajgir (ancient Rajagriha or Rājagṛha; Pali: Rājagaha) was the first capital of the kingdom of Magadha, a state that would eventually evolve into the Mauryan Empire. Its date of origin is unknown, although ceramics dating to about 1000 BC have been found in the city.

Rajgir is connected to Patna via Bakhtiarpur by rail and road. Bakhtiarpur lies midway between Patna and Mokameh. Road access is byNH 30A to Bakhtiarpur and NH 31 towards south to reach Bihar Sharif. From Mokameh NH 31 to Bihar Sharif. From there, NH 82 will leads to Rajgir. Rajgir is around 100 KM from both Patna and Mokameh. It is located in a verdant valley surrounded by rocky hills. Indian Railways run trains directly from Rajgir to Kolkata and New Delhi.

Ancient Indian (Bharata) cities and Places(Title and location names are in English.)

Contents

History

Pilgrimage to
Buddha's
Holy Sites
Dharma Wheel.svg
The Four Main Sites
Lumbini · Bodh Gaya
Sarnath · Kushinagar
Four Additional Sites
Sravasti · Rajgir
Sankissa · Vaishali
Other Sites
Patna · Gaya · Kosambi
Kapilavastu · Devadaha
Kesariya · Pava
Nalanda · Varanasi
Later Sites
Sanchi · Mathura
Ellora · Ajanta · Vikramshila
Ratnagiri · Udayagiri
Bharhut · Barabar Caves

Rajgir, which means 'house of the king', was the ancient capital city of the Magadha kings until the 5th century BC when Ajatashatru moved the capital to Pataliputra. In those days, it was called Rajgrih, which translates as 'the home of Royalty'.

The epic Mahabharata calls it Girivraja and recounts the story of its king, Jarasandha, and his battle with the Pandava brothers and their allies Krishna. Jarasandha who hailed from this place had been defeated by Krishna 17 times. The 18th time Krishna left the battlefield without fighting[1]. Because of this Krishna is also called 'ranacora' (one who has left the battlefield)[1]. Mahabharata recounts a wrestling match between Bhima, one of the pandavas, and Jarasandha, the then king of Rajgir. Jarasandha was invincible as his body could rejoin any dismembered limbs. According to the legend, Bhim split Jarasandha into two and threw the two halves facing opposite to each other so that they could not join. There is a famous Jarasandha's Akhara(place where martial arts are practiced).

It is also mentioned in Buddhist and Jain scriptures, which give a series of place-names, but without geographical context. The attempt to locate these places is based largely on reference to them and to other locations in the works of Chinese Buddhist pilgrims, particularly Faxian and Xuanzang. It is on the basis of Xuanzang in particular that the site is divided into Old and New Rajgir. The former lies within a valley and is surrounded by low-lying hills. It is defined by an earthen embankment (the Inner Fortification), with which is associated the Outer Fortification, a complex of cyclopean walls that runs (with large breaks) along the crest of the hills. New Rajgir is defined by another, larger, embankment outside the northern entrance of the valley and next to the modern town.

It is sacred to the memory of the founders of both the religions: Buddhism and Jainism and associated with both the historical Buddha and Mahavira.

It was here that Gautama 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. On one of the hills is the Saptparni cave where the First Buddhist Council was held under the leadership of Maha Kassapa. Lord Mahavira spent fourteen years of his life at Rajgir and Nalanda, spending chaturmas (i.e. 4 months of the rainy season) at a single place in Rajgir (Rajgruhi) and the rest in the places in the vicinity. It was the capital of his favourite shishya (follower) king Shrenik. Thus Rajgir is a very important religious place for Jains also.

Rajgir is also famous for its association with Shishunaga Kings Bimbisara and Ajatashatru. Ajatashatru kept his father Bimbsara in captivitiy here. The sources do not agree which of the Buddha's royal contemporaries, Bimbisara and Ajatashatru, was responsible for its construction. Ajatashatru is also credited with moving the capital to Pataliputra (modern Patna).

Geography and Climate

The city was in a valley surrounded by five hills: Vaibhara, Ratna, Saila, Sona, Udaya, Chhatha, and Vipula.

Rajgir has also developed as a health and winter resort due to its warm water ponds. These baths are said to contain some medicinal properties that help in the cure of many skin diseases. 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. The added attraction of Rajgir is the Ropeway that leads uphill to the Vishwa Shanti Stupa (Peace Pagoda) and Monasteries built by the Japanese Devotees of the Buddha on top of the Ratnagiri hills.

Temperature: maximum 40 °C, minimum 20 °C. Winter: maximum 28 °C, minimum 6 °C
Rainfall: 1,860 mm (mid-June to mid-September)
Best season: October to March

Demographics

As of 2001 India census[2], Rajgir had a population of 33,691. Males constitute 53% of the population and females 47%. Rajgir has an average literacy rate of 52%, lower than the national average of 59.5%: male literacy is 61%, and female literacy is 41%. In Rajgir, 19% of the population is under 6 years of age.

Transportation and Hotels

Bihar State Tourism Development Corporation (Bihar Tourism) provides travel facility from state capital Patna to visit Bodh circuit (Bodhgaya, Rajgir, Nalanda, Vaishali, Kesaria, Lumbini, Kushinagar, Sarnath), Jain Circuit (Rajgir, Pawapuri) and Sikh Circuit in Bihar. Also, Corporation owns hotels and circuit house at respective tourist places. These hotels are available for tourist at very reasonable price.

Vulture's Peak, view from a nearby hill
Remains of the monastery called Jivakambavana
Hindu Devotees bathing in the Lakshmi Narayan Mandir
Bimbisara's jail

Picture Gallery

References

  1. ^ See Bhagavata Purana, 10.70.30
  2. ^ "Census of India 2001: Data from the 2001 Census, including cities, villages and towns (Provisional)". Census Commission of India. Archived from the original on 2004-06-16. http://web.archive.org/web/20040616075334/http://www.censusindia.net/results/town.php?stad=A&state5=999. Retrieved 2008-11-01. 

External links

  1. Acela Sutta - To the Clothless Ascetic
  2. Samaññaphala Sutta - The Fruits of the Contemplative Life''

Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

South Asia : India : Plains : Bihar : Rajgir

Rajgir is a city in Bihar, India, located about 15 km from the ruins of Nalanda University, and 100 km from Patna, the capital of the state.

Understand

Rajgir or Rajagriha meaning the abode of Kings has been mentioned fist in the ancient Hindu epic Mahabharata as the capital of Magadh, ruled by the mighty King Jarasandha. Although the exact time of the origin of this city has not been established, it is estimated by scholars that it must be around 3000 years old.

Rajgir has been mentioned in Ancient Buddhist and Jain scriptures and also in the travelogues of Buddhist travellers Huen Tsang and Fa Hian who visited India during the Mauryan and Gupta times. The city has been divided into two parts, the old fortified city which lies in the valley surrounded by five hills namely: , Chhatha, Ratna, Saila, Sona,Udaya, Vaibhara and Vipula ; and the new city established by Ajatshatru, the son of Bimbisara and a contemprary of Lord Buddha.

Rajgir has been closely related to Hiduism, Buddhism and Jainism and has played host to Lord Buddha and Mahavira; thus has many archeolgical sites related to Buddhism and Jainism.

Get in

By Air

Patna is the nearest airport which is connected to the major cities of India.

By Train

Rajgir is connected to Patna, Kolkata and New Delhi by train.

By Road

Rajgir is connected to Patna by road and one can reach there form Patna by using NH 31-82. There are regular buses from Patna to this town. One can also take a rented car to reach the place.

Get around

See the Japanese stupa built atop Gridhakuta, enjoy the ride on the ropeway, take bath in the natural warm water springs and visit the various ancient archeological sites.

See

Gridhakuta(Vulture's Peak)

The place is atop a small hill and believed to be a meditating place of Lord Buddha. On the top of the hill, there is a Viswa Shanti Stupa (Peace Stupa) build by the Government of Japan. One can reach the monument by using the ropeway or the flight of 600+ stone steps leading to the top of the hill.

Venuvana(Bamboo grove)

Venuvana is said to be a bamboo grove gifted to Lord Buddha by Bimbisara, the then king of Magadh.

Tapodharma/ Lakshmi Narayan Mandir

Tapodharma was the site of an ancient Buddhist monestary over which a Hindu temple is built today. The place has hot water springs which are rich in sulphar and said to have a curative effects.

Saptaparni Caves (also known as Jarasandh's sitting room)

These caves hosted the First Buddhist Council and were used by early Buddhist monks as resting places as well as centers of debates.

Bimbisara's jail

This archeological site is believed to be the jail in which King Ajatshatru has imprisoned his father Bimbisara. From his prison cell, Bimbisara could see Buddha meditating on the Gridhakuta.

Chariot Tracks

The Chariot Route and shell inscriptions consist of two parallel furrows cut deep into the rock ground for about thirty feet and are believed to have been made by Lord Krishna's Chariot. Several undeciphered shell inscriptions are engraved in the rock around the chariot marks.

Maniar Matth

Dating 1 century CE, the Maniar Matth is said to be a monestary of a cult which worshipped snakes. Several snake and cobra figurins have been found in the vicinity in excavations.

Sonabhandar

This ancient structure is said to be the treasury of Magadh.

Makhdum Kund

This is the shrine of a Muslim Sufi Saint Makhdum Shah and has warm springs similar to Tapodharma

Cyclopean walls

Believed to be 2500 years old, these Cyclopean walls are a 40 km long and 4 meteres wide fortification running around the city.

Do

Take a deep bath is hot spring (Kund).

  • Sarada Group of Hotels, Near Rajgir police station (opposite Ramakrishna Math), (06112) 255005, [1]. Rs.600-1000.  edit
  • Bodhgaya - often requires a change of bus in Bihar Sharif
  • Kakolat is a good waterfall.
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