Exploring the Wonders of Rajgir and Nalanda: A Journey Through History and Serenity

Posted On : 28-7-2016
Tourism in Rajgir and Nalanda

Rajgir is a historic town located in the Nalanda district of the Indian state of Bihar. It holds immense religious and historical significance and is associated with both Buddhism and Jainism. Rajgir is situated in a picturesque valley surrounded by lush hills, making it a popular destination for tourists seeking spiritual and natural experiences.

Rajgir's spiritual legacy, ancient ruins, and natural beauty make it a captivating destination for travelers interested in exploring India's rich cultural and historical heritage. It provides a tranquil and reflective atmosphere, perfect for those seeking spiritual insights and a connection with the country's ancient past.

Today, Rajgir is regarded as one of the top pilgrimages for Buddhists. There are many gorgeous Jain and Hindu temples that draw visitors from both religions to the place. Rajgir is not only considered as a site for worship but it is also revered as a winter and health resort owing to its warm water pools. These pools are believed to possess curative attributes that can aid in curing many skins-related ailments.

Nalanda is famous for being the oldest seat of learning. This is where the foundation of the world's oldest university lies. Nalanda is located at a distance of 62 kilometers from Bodhgaya. Although Buddha had visited the place several times during his life, this popular hub of Buddhist learning rose to prominence much later. The famous Chinese Buddhist Monk, Hiuen Tsang lived here in the seventh century AD and left a comprehensive account of the significance of the education system and pureness of monastic life observed here. He also presented a powerful narrative of both the architecture and ambience of this exceptional university of the ancient age.

This was the first residential international university in the world where 10,000 monks students and 2,000 teachers from all across the world studied and lived. The Gupta kings used to frequently visit these monasteries, constructed in old Kushan architectural fashion, in an order of cells encompassing a courtyard. Emperor Harshavardhana and Ashoka were some of its most acclaimed builders who constructed monasteries, viharas, and temples here.

The latest excavations have brought to light elaborate structures here. In 1951, an international center for Buddhist classes was set up here. There is a place called Biharsharif located in the vicinity of Nalanda, where a yearly urs is observed at the tomb or Dargah of Malik Ibrahim Baya. The Sun Temple, which is famous for Chhat Puja, is located in Baragaon. Baragaon is only 2 kilometers away from Nalanda. Some other places worth visiting in Nalanda are Nava Mahavihar and Nalanda Museum.

Gridhakuta Hill (Vulture's Peak): It is believed to be the site where Buddha delivered many important sermons. Visitors can trek to the top of the hill to enjoy panoramic views of the surrounding landscape.

Vishwa Shanti Stupa (World Peace Pagoda): This white stupa was built by the Japanese Buddhists and is a symbol of peace and non-violence. It offers beautiful views of Rajgir and its surroundings.

Nalanda University Ruins: While not directly in Rajgir, the ancient ruins of Nalanda University are located nearby. Nalanda was one of the oldest universities in the world and a prominent center for learning during ancient times.

Griddhakuta Peak: Also known as the Vulture Peak, it is one of the important places in Rajgir where Buddha preached his teachings.

Ajatshatru Fort: The remains of this ancient fort are perched on a hilltop and offer a glimpse of the region's rich history.

Jivaka's Mango Garden: Named after Jivaka, a royal physician in ancient times, this garden is known for its collection of mango trees and serene surroundings.

Venuvana Vihara: This monastery was gifted to Buddha by the King of Magadha, Bimbisara. It is believed that Buddha spent many rainy seasons here.

Hot Springs: Rajgir is famous for its natural hot springs with therapeutic properties. The hot water baths are believed to have healing effects.

Rajgir Dance Festival: If visiting during the winter months, tourists can enjoy the Rajgir Dance Festival, where various classical and folk dance performances are held.