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Things To Do In Pawapuri
Pawapuri in Bihar is to Jains what Kedarnath is for Shaivites. It is among the holiest of holy places regularly visited by Jains since it is here in Jal Mandir that Lord Mahavira was buried in 500 BC. But, that is not all. Pawapuri gains in importance since the area around is more like a hallowed land visited by two great sons of the country, Buddha and Mahavira. Therefore, Pawapuri has several places in the vicinity that one can visit such as Rajgir and Nalanda. There are several things to do in Pawapuri and in the nearby places. The more important among these are now discussed.
Visit Bimbisar Jail
Bimbisar Jail is located 9.1km from Pawapuri. Bimbisar who lived during 558-491 BC was a Magadha King who rapidly expanded his kingdom by annexing Anga which was in the east thereby laying the foundation of what was to become the Maurya Empire. The great king was imprisoned by Ajatshatru, his son who wanted to grab the throne. Bimbisar died around 492 BC when his son ascended the throne. Bimbisar Jail represents the site where the great king was imprisoned.
Take a Cable Car Ride to Vishwa Shanti Stupa
The cable car ride to Vishwa Shanti Stupa is located around 13.6km from Pawapuri. The ride is thrilling and the atmosphere is clean and serene. However, though the view from the cable car is amazing, the ride is lacking in basic safeties. The Stupa however is simply stupendous. It was constructed in 1965, is pure white in colour and stands 1000 ft on top of Ratnagiri Hill. At the Stupa you will see four statues of Buddha in gold colour, each statue representing one of the stages of his life.
The Inspiring Jal Mandir
The Jal Mandir in Pawapuri literally means a Water Temple while Pawapuri means a town where there are no sins. The Jal Mandir is a holy temple revered by the Jains and visited by Hindus in droves. Dedicated to the 24th Tirthankara in Jainism, the temple is built on the site where Lord Mahavira was cremated in 528 BC. The temple is built in a tank which has red lotus flowers within. It is said that when Lord Mahavira attained nirvana hundreds of devotees took away soil from the site thereby creating a large pit which later became a lake. It is this lake where red lotus grows today in abundance.
Have a Medicinal Bath at Hot Springs
The hot springs with medicinal properties are located about 15km from Pawapuri in Rajgir City. Known as Saptarshi, the seven hot springs mix into the Brahmakund which is a large pool of warm water. What makes this pool special is that Buddha and Mahavira have both visited this site. There are separate areas for men and women to bathe in this pool which has excellent medicinal properties especially for healing skin ailments.
Study the Shankhalipi Inscriptions
The Shankhalipi Inscriptions are located about 9.1km from Pawapuri and 2km from the Bimbisar Jail. These inscriptions are cut into the rocks and near these there is a set of parallel lines that are said to have been made by the chariot of Lord Krishna. Besides being a fine place for tourists, these inscriptions are culturally significant. One can get an insight into the times of the Mahabharata. A visit to the site is therefore necessary for those who are interested in our heritage.
Visit the Jarasandha ka Akhara
Located around 8.7km from Pawapuri, Jarasandha ka Akhara goes back to the times of Jarasandha who was the king of the empire of Magadha with today’s Rajgir as the capital, known as Girivrajapur. This site is where Jarasandha used to practise martial arts with his army. During the Mahabharata era Jarasandha is said to have been killed by Bheema in combat at this site. The Akhara is better known as Ranbhumi.
Venu Vana Kalandakanivapa
Venu Vana Kalandakanivapa is located about 16km from Pawapuri and is a place where one can enjoy total serenity and relaxation. It is an area for enriching your mind with nature’s freshness and spiritualism that is soaked in the site’s history. This is the park which comprises a Buddhist Monastery. Bimbisara built this monastery in Buddha’s honour and this was probably Bimbisara’s greenhouse. There is a pond which is called Kalandakanivapa that means a ground for feeding jays.
Historical Nalanda's Archaeological Museum
The Nalanda Monastery is one of the priceless possessions of India. It says a lot about the intellectual prowess of India and Indians 1500 years ago. However, after it was razed to the ground and set on fire, all was lost. But not quite. Excavations were carried out and priceless antiquities that were found were retrieved and systematically displayed in Nalanda Museum that was established in 1917. Nalanda Museum located about 11km from Pawapuri is among the best museums in the country. It displays antiquities dating back to the 5th Century AD and the times of the Gupta and Pala dynasties.
The Awe-inspiring Ruins at Nalanda University
A UNESCO Heritage property, Nalanda University, located 11km away from Pawapuri is among the world’s oldest and greatest universities. It was an important monastery dedicated to higher studies that flourished between the 5th and the 12th centuries AD. It was involved in the teaching of Meta physics, medicine, logic and the Vedas. A serious attempt has now been made to revive this great university. Today all you can see are the ruins of what was once an excellent world class university.
Historical Hiuen Tsang Memorial Hall
Hiuen Tsang was an intrepid globe trotter and philosopher who visited India from China and toured this country for 12 long years during which he studied thousands of manuscripts basically on Buddhism and other subjects before returning to his country. This memorial hall was built in his memory and is located about 9km from Pawapuri. The memorial is both informative and maintained well. It gives the visitor a true to life description of Hiuen Tsang and his entire life. There is a large courtyard with an attractive doorway in the palatial structure which forms the museum.