Rajgir Pilgrimage

It is located in the Indian state of Bihar about 60 km southeast of the capital Patna. Rajgir is famous for its rock caves, forts, Buddhist ruins, shell inscriptions, Hindu and Jain temples and Muslim tombs. The place is well connected with the rest of Bihar and eastern India through railway and roads.

The climate of Rajgir, like other parts of the Gangetic plains is extreme. The summer months from April to July is hot and humid here and the average temperature can reach about 45 ° C and relative humidity up to about 80 percent. The winters are cold with night temperatures average around 10 ° C. Generally, the average temperature stays around 20 ° C. Monsoon touches this region in July / August and continues until September.

Places of Interest :

Viswa Shanti Stupa/ Peace Pagoda

This is situated on Mt Ratnagiri and is the main focus of Buddhist attention in Rajgir. A chair lift gets you to the top where the new Japanese-built Viswa Shanti or Peace stupa stands. This is an immense white structure that is visible for miles around. Four gold statues -- one on each side -- recall the Buddha's birth, enlightenment, teachings and death. The Stupa is open daily from 9 am to 1 pm, and from 3 to 5 pm.

Gridhrakuta/Vulture's Peak

This is possibly the holiest place in Rajgir. Despite its name, this is actually half-way down the mountain. From the stupa, a small path winds down the side of the mountain; take the first left to reach Vulture's Peak. It marks the site where the Buddha set in motion his Second Wheel of Law. It was also a favourite monsoon retreat of the Buddha, who preached a number of sermons and is said to have converted the Magadha king Bimbisara here.

Bimbisara's Jail

This is on the way out to Ratnagiri and is where King Bimbisara was imprisoned and eventually executed by his son and successor Ajatasatru. The king is supposed to have chosen the site of his own incarceration - from where he could look out and watch the Buddha meditate and teach.

Saptaparni Cave

This cave is just outside of town on Vaibhara hill. The first Buddhist Council gathered here shortly after the Buddha's death to compile his teachings in writing. The Pippala Cave is nearby; this was once used as a watchtower and later as an abode for hermits.

Jain shrines

These are located at the foot of Vaibhara Hill, and have been built around 22 hot springs.

Ajatasatru's Fort

This was built in the 5th century BC. The outer wall was constructed of stone blocks upto one and a half metres long. Bastions provided additional strength to the outer side, while on the inner side, ramps gave access to the top. Watch-towers were added later to strengthen the fort.


Rajgir (Rajagriha) was the ancient capital city of the Magadha kings (before Pataliputra) in the 6th century BC. The capital was moved to Pataliputra by King Ajatasatru, who first imprisoned and then murdered his father, King Bimbisara in Rajgir. The Buddha often came here to meditate at the Jivkamaravana monastery, set in a beautiful orchard. He also converted King Bimbisara and some of his subjects to Buddhism. Mahavira, the founder of Jainism also spent time preaching in Rajgir, making this a pilgrimage site for Jains as well.

Climate :

The climate of Rajgir like the other parts of the Gangetic plains is extreme. The summer months from April to July are hot and humid here and the average temperature can reach approximately 45°C and the relative humidity can go up to around 80 percent. Winters are cold with the average night temperature at around 10°C. Normally, the average temperature stays around 20°C. Monsoon touches this region in July/August and continues till September.

Travel Information :

By Air : The nearest airport for Rajgir is Patna. There are regular flights for Delhi, Calcutta, Varanasi, Lucknow, Mumbai, and Katmandu from this airport. The nearest international airport is Calcutta.

By Rail : Rajgir is on a branch line of Eastern Railway and there are daily trains to Patna and other places nearby.

By Road : There are regular buses from Patna, Nalanda, Gaya, and Bodhgaya to Rajgir. One can arrange for guided tour packages to Rajgir from Patna.

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