RAJGIR: The picturesque Rajgir, or Rajagriha as it was known in the past (literally, the abode of kings) is surrounded by the meandering river Banganga and 5 hills.


During the lifetime of the Buddha this was the capital of the powerful Magadhan kingdom, ruled by the virtuous King Bimbisara. The hills and caves surrounding Rajagriha were home to spiritual teachers, ranging from the materialism of the early Charavaka school to the metaphysics of Upanishadic philosophers.


Like many others in search of truth, Prince Siddhartha, after he renounced his royal heritage came to this city to seek the path of vation.


Siddhartha overwhelmed the citizens of Rajagriha with his serenity and grace. Even the king went to meet the ascetic and was amazed to learn that he was a kshatriya of royal descent. Bimbisara offered half his kingdom to Siddhartha but all he received was an assurance that when Siddhartha achieved his gola he would return to Rajagriha.


The first Buddhist structures at Rajgir were raised when Ajatsatni built a monastery, and a stupa over his share of the Buddha's ashes. That reliquary is now a mound used as a graveyard. The Japanese much later have built the World Peace Stupa, with its gilded images of the Buddha. Rajgir also has the Nipponzan Myohoji, the Japanese temple, and the Centaur Hokke Club which offers some traditional facilities to Japanese pilgrims.


The nearest airport is Patna 100 k.m. away.


The nearest mainline is Bhakhtiyarpur, 54 km, though the top line connects Rajgir .


Hundred kilometre southest of Patna, Rajgir is connected by an excellent road to Patna as well as to Bodh Gaya, which is 70 kms away. The ancient university, Nalanda, is just 11 km from here.