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Rajgir, The Sacred City For Buddhists And Jains

Are you a history buff? Do you love learning about our glorious and rich past? Visiting Rajgir may satisfy the historian, art lover and curious traveler in you. The place is packed with memories and has traces of the royal aura lingering even today.

Bihar has gained a tricky reputation over the past few years. Local violence and escalating tensions had given the place a tricky reputation. Slowly the scenario is changing and it is a relief! The state was one of the vital power centers in ancient times and there is a lot of history we can learn. Did you know the powerful and rich kingdom of Magadha was in Bihar? Magadha was the kingdom that the glorious Gupta Empire and Maurya Empire were built on. In fact, it was so vast that it was considered a country! In today’s times Magadha would have included the Indian states of Bihar, West Bengal, Orissa, some parts of Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand and the countries of Nepal and Bangladesh! Isn’t that mind boggling? With such an envious heritage, Bihar is a delight for travelers and tourists of all ages. There is a lot for families, young tourists and children to see and enjoy. Tourists head to Patna, Gaya and Nalanda which are worth a trip definitely but if you want to go somewhere unique, head to Rajgir.

The best time to visit Bihar is between November and March as the winters aren’t extreme and summers can be too hot. Getting to Rajgir is easy as you can take a train from Patna or Gaya. Cabs, buses and taxis are also available from Patna (110 km), Gaya (78 km) or Nalanda (12 km) According to records and sources, Rajgir was the capital of the Magadha Kingdom. Historians, archaeologists and conservationists have found relics and artifacts from centuries ago. The city has seen the birth and rise of Jainism and Buddhism. ‘Rajgir’ literally translates to ‘home of the king’ or ‘royal mountain.’ Records and sources prove that Gautama Buddha spent time meditating here in the valley. And Lord Mahavira, the patron saint of Jains (a sect in India) lived here for a chunk of his life. Thus Buddhists and Jains treat the city as a holy and sacred venue. Every year devotees come to pay their respects and celebrate their ancestors. There are many temples dedicated to Jain saints in the city surrounded by 7 hills.

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For Buddhists, this place is special because it has a Peace Pagoda. The Vishwa Shanti Stupa is one of the 80 Peace Pagodas in the world. Designed to create peace and harmony, these places have a serene atmosphere and encourage people to think beyond the ideas of caste, religion or class. Rajgir has the oldest Peace Pagoda in India. A Japanese Temple also sits right ahead of the Pagoda. The forests and the valley allow you to become one with nature. If the real nature isn’t enough, there is an artificial forest in the city! Venu Vana is a man made oasis created for tourists and explorers to meditate, pray and be in the moment. Your trip to Rajgir wouldn’t be complete without visiting this haven. Rajgir is also home to natural hot water springs. The springs are collectively called the Brahmakund. The waters from 7 different local springs blend together and create this unique phenomenon. The warm and hot baths across the city have led it to becoming popular in the winter season. Tourists and locals flock to help the heated waters warm them up. Like all hot water springs, they are considered to be beneficial for skin and health.

Featured Photo of Vishwa shanti stupa by Chandan Singh  under CC BY 2.0

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