In and Around Rajgir (Rājagaha)

high-definition creative commons photographs from Rajgir (Rājagaha), showing Temples and Caves where the Buddha lived, and also modern temples and stupas, together with some further information.

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General Views of Rajgir (Rājagaha)

Rajgir, or in Pāli Rājagaha (King's Palace), is the site of the ancient capital of Magadha, which was the most powerful state in Lord Buddha's time. The Old City is surrounded by five hills, and made a good garrison town. On his way to find a suitable place for practice, the Bodhisatta passed through the city, and King Bimbisāra was very impressed with him and asked him to come back and teach him if he attained Awakening, which the Buddha subsequently did. The King gave the Buddha his first monastery here, which is treated in the tradition as the final establishment of the Sāsana. The Buddha spent his 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 17th and 20th Rains Retreat in Rājagaha, and many of his discourses were given here.

Veluvana (Bamboo Wood)

The Veluvana was the first monastery given to the Buddha. After his Awakening he travelled to Sarnath (Isipatana) for the first few months, and then came back to Gaya where he converted the three Kassapa brothers and their 1,000 followers. He then proceded with the entourage to the capital of Magadha, Rājagaha, where he was met by King Bimbisāra, who dedicated this monastery to him. This was one of the Buddha's favoured places to stay and a number of discourses were set here.

Vebhāra Hill

The Vebhāra Hill is one of the seven hills surrounding Old Rājagaha. At it's base was the Tapodārāma, or Hot Springs Monastery, around which a Hindu Temple has grown up now. Slightly up the hill is the supposed Pipphali Cave, which was a favoured haunt for Mahākassapa. The Hill is famous for being the site of the First Buddhist Council, held three months after Lord Buddha passed away. The supposed site for the First Council didn't seem to me to be capable of holding 500 Arahats, probably a maximum of 10, and is certainly wrongly identified. The hill is also sacred to Jainas and Hindus, and there are many shrines from both religions on the hill.

Gijjhakūṭa Hill (Vultures' Peak)

The Vultures' Peak is of one of the highest of the mountains around Rājagaha. In its foothills is the supposed site of the Jīvakambavana (Jīvaka's Mango Grove), given to the Buddha by his physician, Jīvaka. One place has been marked out as a possible site for the Gijjhakūṭa monastery, and this is the main pilgrimage site now, with caves and remains of stupas and an ancient temple. This is where Sāriputta attained Awakening. It is also the place Mahāyānists believe the Śūrangama Sūtra was given.

Shanti Stupa

The Peace Stupa was built by the Japanese Priest, Fujii Guruji, who also built scores of other Peace Stupas both in India and around the world. The one at Rajgir is one of the best placed and impressive. It stands at the top of the Gijjhakūṭa Peak, and near where the chair lift arrives. From the top there are good views out over the countryside around.

Japanese Temple

Fujii Guruji also built a temple at the back of the Bamboo Grove. The temple contains some fine brush paintings of some of the main disciples of the Buddha, and some fine calligraphic works.

 

Photographs by Anandajoti Bhikkhu

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