Rajgir, Bihar, India   (Wikipedia entry on Rajgir)

This village, today a quiet backwater, is the site of ancient Rajagrih, the capital of a powerful kingdom that controlled the region in the 6th century BCE, during the lifetime of the Buddha. When the Buddha went about the land teaching his Eightfold Path, the reigning king, Bimbisara, was moved by his message and "converted," becoming the first powerful Buddhist monarch and patron of the Buddha. Bimbisara's son, Ajatashatru, however, later imprisoned his father to take the throne. King Bimbisara died in jail while his son moved the capital to Pataliputra (the future seat of the Mauryan Empire). A few months after the Buddha's death, the First Buddhist Council is said to have met in Rajagrih to formally discuss and write down the Buddha's teachings for the first time.

Not much survives of Rajagrih today. We saw the walls of what is believed to be the prison where King Bimbisara died (some prison gear has been excavated), and a portion of the outer wall of the fortress of Rajagrih, both made of large, irregular chunks of orange sandstone, piled upon each other to create walls several feet thick. Ancient caves outside the town feature the remains of beautifully worked Buddhist carvings and undeciphered inscriptions that are the source of much local legend, including stories about the buried treasures of Bimbisara. The remains of a Jaina math, or ashram, from the Gupta times, are also ascribed with stories and meaning undistinguished from fact. Some decades ago the Japanese built a World Peace Stupa and a temple on the top of a nearby hill.  [ - Usha Alexander, July 06]

Ruins of Ajatashatru's fort...

... in New Rajgriha (1, 2)

Once a fortress wall

Cows returning home

Bimbisara's prison

Rolling hills all around

Remains of a cell built for him
by his son, Ajatashatru (more)

Prison walls (reassembled)

Son Bhandar Caves (more)

Sculpture (1, 2, 3)

Inside one of the caves

Undeciphered inscription

Maniyar Math (more)

Missing Ganesh statue

Gupta era structure (more)

Ancient pits for rituals (more)

World Peace Stupa (1, 2, 3)

Built by the Japanese

Additonal stupas

Japanese temple

Ropeway to the top (more)

Japanese Temple in Rajgir

Buddha statue outside

Buddha statue inside

Shrine area

Laxmi Narayan Temple

Known for its hot springs

Bathing pilgrims

Sorting wet saris

Venuvan park (more)

Bamboo cluster

Rajgir village scene

Ajatashatru's stupa (more)

Masala movie


Tonga ride

Village on Falgu river

Between Bodh Gaya and Rajgir


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