Rajgir (or Rajagriha) is a city in Bihar in India. It is 15 km from the ruins of Nalanda University, and 100 km from Patna, the capital of the state.
Rajgir, 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 3,000 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 is divided in two parts, the old fortified city which lies in the valley surrounded by seven hills (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.
Patna is the nearest airport which is connected to the major cities of India.
Rajgir is connected to Patna, Kolkata and Delhi by train.
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.
- Japanese stupa, (Atop Gridhakuta).
- 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). 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.
- Ropeway. Enjoy the ride on the ropeway.
- Hot springs. Take a deep bath in a hot spring (Kund).
- Sarada Group of Hotels, (Near Rajgir police station, opposite Ramakrishna Math), ☎ (06112) 255005, . Rs 600-1000.
- Bodhgaya — often requires a change of bus in Bihar Sharif
- Kakolat — a good waterfall