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Rajgir

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Rajgir

A small town, Rajgir was once the capital of the kingdom of the mighty Magadh empire and was known by various names such as Vasumati, Barhdrathpura, Girivraja, Kusagrapura, and Rajgriha.According to the Mahabharata, Jarasandha who was killed by Bhima in a duel.

During the sixth century BC, Rajgir was the capital of the powerful kingdom of Magadh. It was also the centre of great religious and intellectual activity. The Buddha made several visits to this town and stayed here for a considerable time to propagate his doctrine. Jain texts, on the other hand, say that their last apostle, Mahavira, passed 14 rainy seasons in Rajgir and Nalanda.It was also the birthplace of Muni Suvrata, a predecessor of Lord Mahavira and the center of the Ajivika sect.

Rajgir, though small area wise, is an important pilgrimage center for three of the great religions of India, Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism. There are pilgrimage sites of each of these religions in the town.

On the Vaibhava hill are the Saptkarni caves where the first Buddhist Council was held. The Saptkarni cave is also the source of the Rajgir hot Sulphur springs that have curative properties and are scared to the Hindu's.

From the foot of the Vaibhava Hill, a staircase leads up to the various temples. Separate bathing places have been organized for men and women and the water comes out from spouts through the Saptadhara or seven streams believed to find their source behind the Saptkarni Caves up in the hills. The hottest of the springs is the Brahmakund with a temperature of 45°C.

On the Griddhakuta or Vultures Peak, the Buddha set in motion his second Wheel of Law and for three months every year during the rainy season preached his disciples about it. The Buddha Sangh of Japan has constructed a massive modern stupa, the Shanti (peace) stupa at the top of the hill. One can climb up to the top along a bridle path but the aerial chairlift is far more exciting.

Ajatshatru's Fort, built in sixth century BC, is situated around six km from the Rajgir railway station. The fort was. Bimbisara's jail is also situated here where, according to the legends, he was imprisoned by Ajatshatru.

Above the hot springs on the Vaibhava Hill is a rectangular stone sculpted by the forces of nature, which appears to have been used as a watchtower. It later become the resort of hermits and is popularly known as Jarasandha Ki Baithak after the name of the King Jarasandha, a contemporary of Lord Krishna described in the epic Mahabharta.

The Swarna Gufa is around six km from the railway station. It is believed that there is a treasure house of gold still hidden here. It is said that if one can decipher the inscription engraved here, the doors to the golden vaults would open.

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