Difference between revisions of "Rajgir"
Revision as of 15:20, 20 May 2009
Rajgir is a city in Bihar, located about 15 km from the ruins of Nalanda University. Rajgir is near the site of Gridhakuta (Vulture's Peak), where the Buddha stayed and gave teachings on the Mahayana (the second turning of the wheel), and Venuvana, the first Buddhist monastery. The area around Rajgir is also known for its hot springs, which are open to the public.
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.
The city was in a valley surrounded by five hills: Vaibhara, Ratna, Saila, Sona, Udaya, Chhatha, and Vipula.
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. 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 one, 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. 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).
This place has been associated with both the historical Buddha and Mahavira. 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 added attraction of Rajgir is the Ropeway that leads uphill to the Shanti Stupa and Monasteries built by the Japanese Devotees of the Buddha on top of the Ratnagiri hills.
There are several train and buses are available from Patna, Capital of Bihar State. Patna is well connected by air and rail.
The main attaction of Rajgir is Buddhist Temple on the Mountain. Walk there is enjoyable; there's also a rope-way.
Other attraction include hot springs.
Gridhakuta (Vulture's Peak)
The hill is listed in Buddhist canonical texts as one of the places stayed in by the Gautama Buddha when at Rajgir; and several notable events, including an attempt on his life by his evil cousin Devadatta occurred there. Described both by Faxian and Xuanzang it was identified in the later nineteenth century as a hill lying to the east of Old Rajgir. It is now crowned by the Japanese-built Shanti Stupa and has a chairlift to the top.
Magadha king Bimbisara gave a bamboo grove (Venuvana) to Gautama Buddha, which was the first Buddhist monastery ever. It was given to Buddha so that he and his monks could take rest here, and give discourses to people.
Jivaka, the greatest physician of Buddha's time, was from Rajgir. Jivakarma is the garden where he used to grow herbs for his medicines.
The Tapodarama Monastery was located on the site of the hot springs. Now a Hindu temple is constructed there, called the Lakshmi Narayan Mandir. In ancient times, hot springs used to be the site of the Tapodarama, a Buddhist monastery at the time of Gautama Buddha. Also King Bimbisara used to take bath there sometimes.
The cave of Saptparni is where the First Buddhist Council was held under the leadership of Maha Kassapa. Also Buddha sometimes stayed there, and it was used as an accommodation for visiting monks.
Jarasandha Ka Akhara
The great albeit evil warrior whose relentless attacks on Mathura prompted Lord Krishna to migrate the populace of Mathura to Dwarika, used to practice martial arts here every day.
Ancient Chariot tracks
The Chariot Route and shell inscriptions are worth a visit for the strangeness of the phenomenon. The chariot tracks consist of two parallel furrows cut deep into the rock for about thirty feet, possibly by the large quantity of chariots that came to deliver goods to Rajgir.
Other archeological sites :
1. The Karnada Tank where Lord Buddha used to bathe
2. The Maniyar Math that dates from the 1st century CE
3. The Maraka Kukshi where the still unborn Ajatashatru was cursed as a patricide
4. The Rannbhumi where Bhima and Jarasandh fought one of the Mahabharat battles
5. Swarnabhandar Cave
6. Viswa Shanti Stupa
7. Ruins of an Old Fort
8. 40 km long and 12 ft (3.7 m) wide 2500 year old cyclopean walls
Take a deep bath is hot spring (Kund).