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 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. This area also notable in Buddhism, as one of the favorite places for Gautama Buddha and the well known "Atanatiya" conference was held at Vulture's Peak mountain.
View of Rajgir hills from Jarasandha's Akhara
Rajgir is connected to Patna via Bakhtiarpur by rail and road. Bakhtiarpur lies midway between Patna and Mokameh. Road access is by NH 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 green valley surrounded by rocky hills. Indian Railways run trains directly from Rajgir to New Delhi, Shramjeevi Express.
Ancient Indian (Bharata) cities and Places(Title and location names are in English.)
The name Rajgir came from Rājagṛiha 'house of the king' or "royal house", or the word rajgir might have its origian in its plain literal meaning, "royal mountain". It 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 defeated by Krishna 17 times. The 18th time Krishna left the battlefield without fighting. Because of this Krishna is also called 'ranachod' (one who has left the battlefield). 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 Gridhra-kuta, ('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 Haryanka Kings Bimbisara and Ajatashatru. Ajatashatru kept his father Bimbisara 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 seven 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. Another attraction of the region is the ropeway that leads uphill to the Vishwa Shanti Stupa (Peace Pagoda),Makhdoom Kund and monasteries built by 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)
Dry/warm season: October to March
Rajgir is famous for its hot water springs, locally known as Brahmakund, a sacred place for Hindus. Another major attraction is the peace pagoda, Vishwa Shanti Stupa, built in 1969, one of the 80 peace pagodas in the world, to spread the message of peace and non-violence. The rope-way that leads to it is another attraction. The Japanese temple is beside the Venu Vana. Venu Vana is an artificial forest, where one can enjoy Eternal peace, and meditate.And famous Makhdoom Kund.
As of 2001 India census, 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.But now the literacy average of Rajgir is (increasing from 2007) about 70%.
- State Bank of India
- Nalanda co-operative Bank
- HDFC Bank Ltd
- Punjab National Bank
- Bank of India
- Bank of Baroda
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.
How to Reach
- Bus : Regular buses are available from all the above said points to Rajgir.
- Local Transport: Taxis and Buses and Tongas are available.