About Rajgir : -
Rajgir just 15 kms from Nalanda is
located the complex of temples and
monasteries. The place is called Rajgir. It is one of the most
important tourist places in India. Being located in a valley,
Rajgir is a very scenic place. The small hill grit town is
covered with lush green forest which add to the beauty of the
place. Rajgir was the capital of the Magadh Mahajanpad (State)
when Patliputra was not formed. In those days it was called
Rajgrih. Rajgir or Rajgrih means the home of Royalty. This place
has been associated with Lord Buddha and Buddhism. Buddha not
only spent many years in Rajgir but also delivered sermons here
and proselytized emperor Bimbisar at the Griddhakoota hill. The
Jivekarmavan monastery was the favorite residence for Buddha.
Even Bimbisar gave Venuvan Vihar to Buddha for his residence. It
is said that it was at Rajgir that physician treated Buddha,
Jivak after he was injured by his cousin Devdatta.The teachings
of Buddha was penned down at Rajgir and it was also the venue
for the first Buddhist Council. Today Rajgir has come up as one
of the most important pilgrimage for the Buddhist.Rajgir also
has some very beautiful Hindu and Jain temples which attracts
Hindus and Jains also to the place. Not only as a place for
worship, Rajgir has come up as health and winter resort with its
warm water ponds. These ponds are said to contain some medicinal
properties which help in the cure of many skin diseases. The
added attraction of Rajgir is the Ropeway which takes you uphill
to the Shanti Stupa and Monasteries built by the Japanese
Devotees on top of the Ratnagiri hills.
Jarashand ka Akhara: This is the Ranbhumi where Bhima and
Jarasandh fought one of the Mahabharat battles.
Jivakameavan Gardens: Seat of the Royal Physician's
dispensary where Lord Buddha was once brought to have wound
dressed by Jivaka, the royal physician during the reign of
Ajatshatru and Bimbisara.
Ajatshatru Fort: Built by
Ajatshatru (6th century B.C.), the king of Magadha during the
Buddha's time. The 6.5 sq.meter Ajatshatru's Stupa is also
believed to have been built by him.
Cyclopean Wall: Once 40 Km long, it encircled ancient
Rajgir. Built of massive undressed stone carefully fitted
together, the wall is one of the few
important Pre-Maurayan stone structures ever to have been found.
Traces of wall still subsist, particularly at the exit of Rajgir
Shanti Stupa: The Vishwa
Shanti Stup is located on a 400 meter high hill. The stupa is
built in marble and on the four corners of the stupa are four
glimmering statues of Buddha. To reach the top of this hill one
has to come through the “Ropeways”. This place is also called
Venu Vana: Site of the monastery Venuvana Vihar built by
king Bimbisara for Lord Buddha to reside. This was the king's
first offering to Lord Buddha.
Karanda Tank: It is the tank in which Buddha used to bathe.
Sonbhandar Caves: Two rather strange cave chambers were
hollowed out of a single massive rock. One of the chambers I
believed to have been the guard room, the rear wall has two
straight vertical lines and one horizontal line cut into the
rock; the doorway is supposed to lead to king Bimbisara
Treasury. Inscriptions in the Sankhlipi or shell script, etched
into wall and so far undeciphered, are believed to give the clue
to open the doorway. The treasure, according to folklore, is
still intact. The second chambers bears a few traces of seated
and standing etched into the outer wall.
Bimbisar jail: his impatient saon and heir, Ajatashatru,
imprisoned King Bimbisara here. The captive king chose this site
for his incarceration, for, from this spot he could see Lord
Buddha climbing up to his mountain retreat atop the Griddhakuta
hill. There is a clear view of the Japanese Pagoda. The stupa of
peace was built on the top of the hill.
Nalanda, founded in the 5th century AD, is famous as the ancient
seat of learning. The ruins of the world's most ancient
university lies here which is 62 km from Bodhgaya and 90 km
south of Patna. Though the Buddha visited
Nalanda several times during his lifetime, this famous center of
Buddhist learning shot to fame much later, during 5th-12th
centuries. Hieun Tsang stayed here in the 7th century AD and
left detailed description of the excellence of education system
and purity of monastic life practiced here. He also gave a vivid
account of both the ambiance and architecture of this unique
university of ancient times. In this first residential
international university of the world, 2,000 teachers and 10,000
monks students from all over the Buddhist world lived and
studied here. The Gupta kings patronized these monasteries,
built in old Kushan architectural style, in a row of cells
around a courtyard. Emperor Ashoka and Harshavardhana were some
of its most celebrated patrons who built temples, monasteries
and viharas here. Recent excavations have unearthed elaborate
structures here. An International Center for Buddhist Studies
was established here in 1951. Nearby is Biharsharif, where an
annual urs is celebrated at the Dargah or tomb of Malik Ibrahim
Baya. Baragaon, 2 km away has a sun temple, famous for Chhath
puja. To be visited are Nalanda museum & Nava Nalanda Mahavihar
in addition to the great ruins.
Nalanda University Ruins Archaeological Complex: The
total area of the excavation is about 14 hectares. All the
edifices are of the red brick and the gardens are beautiful. The
buildings are divided by a central walk way that goes south to
north. The monasteries or "Viharas" are east of this central
alley and the temple or "Chaiyas" to the west. The Vihara-1 is
perhaps the most interesting with its cells on two floors built
around a central courtyard where steps lead up to what must have
been a dais for the professors to address their students. A
small chapel still retains a half broken statue of the Lord
The enormous pyramidal mass of the Temple no .3 is impressive
and from its top commands a splendid view of the entire area. It
is surrounded by smaller stupas, many of which studded with
small and big statues of the Lord Buddha in Various poses or "Mudras"
Nalanda Archaeological Museum: Opposite the entrance to
the university and houses, there is a small but beautiful
collection of Buddhist and Hindu bronzes and a number of
undamaged statues of the Lord Buddha that were found in the
area. Two enormous terra-cotta jars of the first century stand
intact behind the museum in a shaded enclosure. The collection
includes copper plates and stone inscriptions, coins, pottery
and samples of burnt rice (12th century AD) found among the
ruins here. Open during 10.00 to 17.00. Closed on Friday.
Nava Nalanda Mahavihara: Nava Nalanda Mahavihara is devoted
to study and research of Pali Literature and Buddhism. This is a
new institute, where students from foreign countries also study.
Hieun Tsang Memorial Hall: A new construction in memory of
the great Chinese traveler, Hieun Tsang.