Tourist Places To Visit In Pawapuri
Pawapuri is not only a holy place for Jains, but it is also a beautiful place for a visit in Bihar. The importance of Pawapuri for Jains is due to the fact that Jal Mandir is located here. Jal Mandir is revered by all because it is here that Lord Mahavira was buried in the year 500 BC. The significance of Pawapuri also stems from the fact that within its vicinity there are some very important places for a visit. These places include Nalanda with its Monastic University. There are also other towns such as Rajgir and Bihar Sharif and all three of them have their local attractions. There are tourist places to visit in Pawapuri as well. Some of the more important tourist places are now discussed.
Also known as Apapuri, Jal Mandir is truly a Water Temple. In the town of Pawapuri it means a town that has no sins. Dedicated to the 24th Tirthankara, Lord Mahavira, it indicates the place where he was cremated in 528 BC. The temple was built in a tank that was filled with lotus flowers of red colour. There are five such revered temples where Mahavira’s foot print or Charan Paduka can be seen. This is a famous temple and one which is considered a sacred centre for pilgrimage by Jains.
Nalanda Archaeological Museum
Nalanda Archaeological Museum is a veritable storehouse of ancient artefacts that have been painfully extracted, documented and displayed. The museum was established in 1917 and is today renowned as one among all the prestigious museums cared for by the Archaeological Survey of India. The antiquities that are housed here all belong to those that were excavated from the site of Nalanda monastery complex which flourished between the 5th and 12th Century AD. The museum is located 10.8km from Pawapuri and must be visited by all those who love the ancient history of India. The artefacts include sculptures and stone images, stuccos and bronzes as well as objects in iron, ivory and bone besides potteries all of which has been arranged in the main hall and 4 galleries.
Nalanda University Ruins
Nalanda University ruins are located 10.9km from Pawapuri. Nalanda University was at one time a large Buddhist monastery that was much respected and in great use between the 5th Century and the 12th Century AD. It flourished during the reigns of famous kings such as the Guptas and later Harsha who was the emperor of Kannauj. Though it showed good growth till the 9th Century AD its decline began shortly after. At its peak Nalanda entertained visitors from China, Tibet, Central Asia and Korea. The curriculum taught included medicine, Sanskrit grammar, the Vedas and logic. Unfortunately, the complex was destroyed by Khilji in 1200 AD and its total decline set in thereafter. Excavations carried out have revealed 11 monasteries and 6 temples in brick spread over 30 acres.
Vishwa Shanti Stupa
Vishwa Shanti Stupa is located on top of a hill, around 13.7km from Pawapuri. The Stupa was constructed in 1965 and is made of marble while it has statues of Buddha in each of its four corners. The four corners signify the four phases in the life of Buddha and these are his birth, enlightenment, preaching and mahaparinirvana. There is a ropeway system that one can use to reach the top of the stupa. The view from the top is beautiful and one can see the hills as well as some Jain shrines that dot the landscape.
Hiuen Tsang Memorial Hall
The Hiuen Tsang Memorial Hall is located about 8.7km from Pawapuri and is among the major attractions for tourists in Nalanda. Erected in the memory of one of the most famous visitors to India, Hiuen Tsang of China, the memorial was erected in 1984 at the behest of the first PM of India, Jawaharlal Nehru. Hiuen Tsang arrived in India during the period of the Gupta Dynasty in 633 AD. He stayed in Nalanda University for 12 years and travelled all over the country. Hiuen Tsang’s desire was to learn about Buddhism and Yoga and he also visited Takshashila, another centre of learning for Buddhists. He finally returned to China in 645 AD. The memorial was handed over in 2001 for its restoration and renovation. This work was finally completed in 2006 and the inauguration took place in 2007.
Griddhakuta Peak is around 13.7km from Pawapuri. This place is very closely attached to the teachings and the life of Lord Buddha and is next only to the Deer Park and the Bodhi Tree. Also known as the Vulture Peak, this is in reality a small mountain very close to Rajgir. It is here that Buddha set to motion the wheel of Dharma in front of a gathering of 5000 monks and nuns besides numerous bodhisattvas. The excellent selection of Buddha’s teachings spread over 12 years include several sutras as were told by Buddha to Ananda. These teachings were duly recorded by Mahakashyapa and placed by Shakyamuni in the safe possession of Nagas till these were duly transferred.
Stupa of Sariputra
Sariputra was surely the most loved of all the disciples of Buddha. After attaining his salvation Sariputra became a ‘celebrated Arhat”. The Stupa of Sariputra is the largest portion of the ruins inside the Nalanda University and was built in the sacred memory of Shariputra. It is located about 10.9km off Pawapuri and it towers above the entire monastery. It is here that the bones of Sariputra were once interned. Built in the shape of a pyramid, the stupa is most imposing.
Maner Sharif is located around 12.3km from Pawapuri and is in an area that represents a satellite town in the region that is known as Patna Metropolitan Region. This is one of those sites that is among those most visited by tourists. Built on NH 30, this is a mosque or dargah that is popular among people professing all religions and tourists come from very far to see it. It is a very old piece of construction, with sculptures that are fine and intricate, and clearly depicts a beautiful work of Islamic architecture. Do make it point to admire the sheer beauty of the ceilings and pillars at this mosque.
Ghora Katora Lake
Ghora Katora Lake, about 11km from Pawapuri, is a natural lake close to Rajgir in Bihar. The lake is also known as Aimee Maganda. This is among the best and cleanest locations to be seen in and around Rajgir. Being a natural lake this is of great attraction for those who love nature. The lake attracts a large number of migratory birds from Central Asia and Siberia during the winter season. The lake was opened to the public on 29 January 2011 and in November 2018 a Buddha statue in pink sandstone measuring 70ft was inaugurated. Visitors have the freedom of using paddle boats at this lake which also has a cafeteria and a few guest rooms.
Rajgir Hot Springs
The hot springs in Rajgir are located about 15km from Pawapuri in the Saptaparni cave at the foot of Vaibhava Hill where there is a staircase that leads to different temples. These springs provide separate places for bathing in respect of men and women and there are water spouts which pour hot water from seven streams that emerge from the Saptarni Caves. Brahmakund is the hottest among these springs. You will also see a rectangular stone that has been sculpted as a result of nature’s forces and this stone was probably used as a tower to serve as a lookout.