A historic city located in the Nalanda district of Bihar, Rajgir is predominantly a religious place for both Buddhism and Jainism. Its link to both Gautama Buddha and Mahavir has imparted it with a sacredness, not easily experienced anywhere else in India.
While there’s tons to see and do in Rajgir, start your tour of the city with the 6th-century Ajatshatru Fort. The fort’s highlights are its high walls, Bimbisara jail, gigantic stone tower and Ajatshatru Stupa.
Another popular Buddhist pilgrimage site is the Vishwa Shanti Stupa, also known as the World Peace Pagoda, situated on Ratnagiri Hill. Considered to be the world’s tallest Peace Pagoda, this white structure is an architectural marvel with the four phases of Buddha’s life showcased through four golden statues of Buddha.
Among the Jain temples here, the most prominent is the Digambar Jain Siddha Kshetra Temple. Another important one is the Lal Mandir, located in Udaigiri Hills; a magnificent structure made of red and white stones.
Built during the Mauryan period, the sturdy 40km long Cyclopean Walls made of raw stones is an iconic architectural wonder encircling old Rajgir. Even though the walls no longer retain its former glory, it is nonetheless a must visit for history aficinados.
A prime attraction in Rajgir, Venu Vana is the Bamboo Forest, where Lord Buddha was said to have lived 2,500 years ago. There’s a big pond in the midst of Venu Vana; it adds to the peacefulness, serenity and beauty of the place.
The Hot Springs of Rajgir have an importance of their own. Found in abundance in the city, they are considered to be sacred in Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism. Known for their medicinal values, the most sacred Hot Spring in Rajgir is the one in Saptarni Cave and the hottest is said to be the one at Brahmakund, at 45 degree Centigrade.