Rajgir Tourism And Travel Guide
20.3° C / 68.5° F
October to February
1 to 2 Days
Jay Prakash Narayan Airport Patna (100 kms)
Rajgir (2.8 kms)
Rajgir in the Indian state of Bihar is an old city. It is surrounded by hills and it has several sites that are religious in nature. The city has in its centre the remains of a very old wall which used to surround the city once upon a time. There are some mineral springs or hot springs near Rajgir and these are supposed to heal the body. Tourism in Rajgir comprises of sites that are mostly connected to either Buddha or Mahavira and these are generally in the form of caves and ruins. A travel guide to Rajgir is discussed in the succeeding paragraphs.
How to Reach
Rajgir is fairly well connected by road with Patna, Gaya and Bodh Gaya besides other cities and towns that are nearby. However, the quality of roads varies in this area. One could drive down from Delhi too. The distance between these two cities is around 1100km by road. People who have driven on this road have taken about 21 hours to cover the distance on the national highway. If one wishes one could take buses which ply fairly regularly from Patna and Gaya to Rajgir.
Rajgir has its own railway station. This station is connected fairly well with Kolkata and New Delhi besides Patna, Bodhgaya and Varanasi. There is a special train which runs between Rajgir and Varanasi via Patna and Gaya. For instance, if you wish to reach Rajgir from Kolkata you could catch 23040 Rajgir Howrah CH which takes about 14 hours to cover the distance that goes through Asansol and Chittaranjan as well.
Since Rajgir does not have its own airport you will have to land at Patna from your city and thereafter cover the distance between Patna and Rajgir (100km) by either deluxe buses or a taxi. Patna has a fairly good aerial connectivity with the rest of the country. Therefore, this option is a workable proposition.
Weather and Best Time to Visit
The climate of Rajgir is typically sub- tropical. It is very hot in summer and dry too. Hot winds can also blow during the peak season. Monsoons are generally fairly heavy, more so since Rajgir is not too far from the mountains in the north. Winters are cold and at times freezing cold too.
Summers in Rajgir are very hot. The temperature could go beyond 45°C at times. Generally summers are dry but nearer the monsoon period it could be humid and sultry as well. It is always a good idea to remain comfortable by wearing loose cotton clothes in summer. However, tourists are advised not to visit Rajgir during the summer because of prevailing extremely high temperatures during this season.
Rajgir has very wet monsoons. However, after the first couple of showers, the weather becomes very pleasant and fresh. This is when the hills around Rajgir become green and attractive. On an average Rajgir gets about 885 mm of rainfall per annum. The temperature during the monsoon season could be anywhere between 31 and 35°C.
The winter season is the best season of Rajgir. The weather is very pleasant during the daytime and the night is cold but comfortable if you are clad well. Winter temperatures could be anywhere in the range of 8-10°C. This is the best season for tourism in Rajgir. However, all visitors are advised to bring adequate woollens with them.
Things to Do
Visit Kundalpur near Nalanda:
Kundalpur is the place of birth of Lord Mahavira who was the last of the Tirthankaras of the Jains. It is also said to be the place where Gautam Swamiji, the first of the disciples of Lord Mahavira, was born. Kundalpur is located very near Nalanda and it has a grand temple which was built to commemorate the birth place of Lord Mahavira. The temple has beautiful spires on the outside. Inside the temple there is an idol almost five feet tall, of Mahavira in the padmasana posture. The complex also has a mandir with 72 idols of the Tirthankaras. Each of the idols in batches of 24 represents the past, present and future.
Ride the Ropeway in Rajgir:
The ropeway in Rajgir is supposed to be the oldest one in India. The ropeway is a great experience since it whisks you up to the top of the Ratnagiri Hill that houses the famous Peace Pagoda which is also known as the Vishwa Shanti Stupa. The ropeway’s highest point is more than 1000’ AGL and it is definitely a thrilling ride that gives you a bird’s eye view of the Pant Wildlife Sanctuary and the hills all around.
The Solemn Vulture’s Peak:
The Griddhakuta or Vulture’s Peak, located in Rajgir is among the three top places where Buddha had preached sermons to his disciples for several years. Griddhakuta is a location which is popular from both sightseeing and religious reasons. The site is at an altitude of about 400m and is known as Vulture’s Peak on account of its shape being similar to that of the vulture. A visit to this place is highly recommended since it gives you an all-round view of the surroundings.
Visit the Japanese Stupa:
The Japanese Stupa in Rajgir is also known as the Vishwa Shanti Stupa. Built by the Japanese as a symbol of global peace, the stupa is located at an altitude of more than 400m. There is a marble pillar which has four statues in gold of Buddha. These signify the four stages in the life of Buddha. These stages were birth, enlightenment, preaching and death. The beauty of this stupa should be appreciated by taking a trip on the ropeway.
Pawapuri the Holy Site for Jains:
Pawapuri in Bihar literally means a town that does not have any sins. The reason for this name is that this is the place where Lord Mahavira was cremated in 500BC. The crowd that gathered to collect his ashes was so huge that a large pit was created which became a pond. This pond is also a place for sightseeing since there is a temple called Jal Mandir at the centre of the pond. Pawapuri is known to be a place that is high in its heritage value and rich in its culture. The Rajgir Dance Festival as well as Chhath Puja are added attractions of this location.
Hiuen Tsang Memorial Hall:
The Hiuen Tsang Memorial Hall was built to honour the famous Chinese traveller and philosopher who stayed in India for 12 years in order to further his knowledge, having seen Nalanda. At this memorial hall one will find several writings by the scholar, writings that concern his appreciation of life in medieval India.
Where to Eat
There are several eating places in Rajgir. Some of these include Green Hotel which serves Indian and Asian foods. This is supposed to be among the best restaurants in Rajgir. A customer comments that the food was tasty and the behaviour of the hotel staff was “awesome”. The Hotel Nalanda Residence and Subham Cafetaria come next. These serve good Indian food as per the comments of the clientele. The Sharing Spoon and Gurunanak Cafetaria are two more restaurants that one may try out.
Since Bihar is well known for its woodwork, visitors keen on shopping in Rajgir may like to check out the wooden crafted items. There are several items to choose from such as statues and key chains besides lamps and pen stands as well as tables and many other items that can be bought as memorabilia from Rajgir. One can also take a closer look at Khatwa applique and Sujini embroidery besides papier mache and Madhubani paintings, all from Rajgir.