Legendary Rajgir, once crowned as the capital of mighty Magadh Kingdom, is situated in the Nalanda district of Bihar. This city was known in different names in various junctures of history.
Those names were:
Vasumati, Vrahadpur, Giri Vraj, Rajgriha and finally Rajgir. Rajgeer is today considered as one of the main attractions for the tourists coming from all parts of the world. This once glorious city had been the capitals of Kings Jarasandh, Ajatshatru and Bimbisaar.
The most important thing about Rajgir is that it has been the centre of all religions. Perhaps this is the reason that the Sangam or confluence of all religions, Rajgir has been attracting to the people of all religions. With the result that tourists, not only from India but from abroad are also pouring in large numbers.
If we leave the religious reasons, Rajgir has countless historic spots to see. For going to Rajgir, train facilities are available from the main cities like New Delhi, Varanasi, Agra, Kanpur, Hathidah, Howrah, Allahabad, Barauni and Patna. Bus services are also available from Kolkata, Gaya and Patna. Though not having the airport facility, Gaya and Patna international airports can be used to reach there.
These two cities are very near to Rajgir and tourists from distant places and abroad would not have to face any difficulty to reach to that city. The distance from Patna to Rajgeer is 100 kms. A few days back, I travelled Rajgir by bus. By the time I reached Rajgir, I was awfully tired. So first of all, I made up my mind to take bath in the hot water fall. One and a half kms from the Rajgir bus stand in the south hills, automatically waterfalls is a big surprise in addition of being the centre of attraction.
In addition to this there are several warm water falls which are called ‘Kund’. In Pali literature it is called ”Tapodaram Mahabihar”. There are about 22 hot water kunds in Rajgir out of which two namely Surya Kund and Saptdhara are the main.
In Surya kund, use of soap is prohibited. Though the main reason behind is this to save the water from pollution. Frankly speaking soap is not at all needed for taking bath in the kund. According to the specialists, as this water contains gandhak (or sulphur) and other minerals, one is saved from skin diseases and Gathia or rheumatism. Whatever may be the reality, my tiredness due to long journey vanished after taking hot water bath. So after taking bath and visiting all nearby temples, I proceeded to Venuvan.
What to See? Venuvan:
Venuvan is situated 100 meters away in north-west of Surya Kund. I entered this with buying a ticket for Rs. 3. Ticket for the children is Rs.1 and Rs. 3 for the adults whereas foreigners have to take ticket of Rs.50. The main attraction of Venuvan pond is different kinds of fishes, Japani Tample and Buddh Idol. My heart was overwhelmed to see the pond in the midst of the van which is called “Karand Niwas”.
It is said that Mahatma Budh used to take bath in this pond. Maniyar Math: This is 100 meters away from Surya Kund. According to the epic Mahabharat, Rajgir was the main Dhaam of Maninag. After digging so many idols of male and female snakes (Naag) due to which it is said that surely Maniyar Math is the symbol of this place only. In the idols dug from here, you can find the Crowned Four Arm Vishnu, Shivling and Ganesh surrounded with snakes on the rock and six armed Shiva in dancing Mudra. The Gupta Period Art of the Idols is worth seeing.
This is approximately one km from Maniyar Math. Its length and width is 200 meters. It is said that this is the place where Bimbisaar was imprisoned by Ajatshatru. Some Avseshes or remains are also found here which prove this fact.
This is the same place where in Dwapar Period the historical Malyudh or wrestling took place and in which Jarasandh died. During the period of Jarasandh, this place was akhada of Malyudh which was also called battle field.
This is a museum where the life of Lord Mahaveer is presented with pictures and words. Heart touching sacred collection of live stories of Mahaveer is situated 1.5 kms from Surya Kund. Entry ticket for the kids is Rs. 5 and Rs. 10 for the adults. Adjacent to this is the famous eye hospital Veerayatan.
Vishwa Shanti Stupa (World Peace Pillar):
This is situated 2.5 kms away from Suryakund and it is situated on the peak of the Ratnagiri Hills. The height of this pillar is more than 100 ft. On the top of the pillar there is a Kalash of ten feet height. Inside and outside, there are attractive idols of Lord Buddha which really touches the heart.
Though hilly way is there to reach the Shanti Stupa, but the easiest way to reach there is Rajju Marg (aerial ropeway) to climb the way. First time introduced in India to reach the peak of the hill it takes less than 10 minutes. For climbing the craddle and coming down you have to buy ticket of Rs.25/-.
Last time I could not avail this facility as it was Thursday and the craddle remain closed on every Thursday. Grahkoot: This is the place where Mahatma Buddha used to deliver lectures. Amongst the five hills of Rajgir, Grahkoot is one of the highest hill. Adjacent to the peak of the hills are small caves where Buddhist monk used to live. It is said that Bimbisaar could see Mahatma Buddha sitting of Grahkoot from his prison.
In addition to these main tourist spots Banganga, Coat of Ajatshatru, Wall of Cyclopean, Chariot Wheel (Rath Chakra), Shankhlipi, Sonbhandhar caves, Gorakshini Bhavni, Fort of Ajatshatru, Mardkuchi Sanskaran are the other spots of attraction for the tourist.
Where to Stay:
Railway Station Rest House, Dharamshalas and hotels are available for staying. Amongst them Rajgir, Ajatshatru, Kanak Vihar and Gautam Vihar are famous. If you stay in “Rajgeer Regency”, room rent charge for one day varies from Rs. 10,000 to Rs. 15,000. This is situated 100meter north to Veerayatan.
Here all the facilities for the tourists of the country and abroad are available. Kanak Vihar Hotel which is adjacent to the Bus Stand is within the reach of general public.
When to Go to Rajgir:
Though the tourists pour in during the whole year but it will be better if you visit Rajgir during October-March period of the year.
What to Purchase:
The tourists in huge number purchase the stone idols of Lord Mahaveer and Mahatma Buddha and the bamboo buckets. The other famous things is “Sailaav ka Khajja” which is famous all over India. – CHANDRASEKHAR AZAD