RAJGIR :- Rajgir, which means 'house of the king', was the ancient capital city of the Magadha kings until the 5th century BC when Ajatsatru moved the capital to Pataliputra. Forty-six km from Bodhgaya, the town is sacred to the memory of the founders of both Buddhism and Jainism and houses historical remains like the cyclopean wall and marks engraved in rocks.
Rajgir is an important Buddhist pilgrimage site since the Buddha spent 12 years here, and the first Buddhist council after the Buddha was hosted here at the Saptaparni caves. Lord Buddha often went into retreat at the Jivkamaravana monastery in a beautiful orchard. One of his most devoted and prosperous devotees, surgeon Jivaka also lived here. The rich merchant community here soon became the Buddha's followers and built many structures of typical Buddhist architecture.
Lord Buddha converted the Mauryan king Bimbisara, one of his most celebrated followers, to Buddhism at the Griddhakuta hill, where he delivered many of his sermons as well. The Japanese have built a Stupa on top of the Ratnagiri hill, linked by a rope way. It was here that the teachings of Buddha were penned down for the first time. Rajgir is also an important place of pilgrimage for the Hindus and Jains. Other places to be visited are Bimbisara ka jail, Jarasandha ka akhara, Venuvana, Karand tank, Maniyar math, Swamabhandar cave, Pippala cave, Viswa Shanti Stupa, the famous hot water springs and ruins of an old fort.
GRIDDHAKUTA OR VULTURE'S PEAK :- This was the place where the Lord Buddha set in motion his second wheel of law and for three months every year during the rainy season, Preached many inspiring sermons to his disciples. The Buddha Sangha of Japan have constructed a massive modern stupa, the Shanti Stupa (Peace Pagoda), at the top of the hill in commemoration. A bridle path leads up to the hill but it is much more fun to take the Aerial Chairlift which operates every day except Thursday. One way ride takes 7.5 minutes and the view is splendid over the hills of Rajgir.
JAIN TEMPLE :- On hill crests around Rajgir, far in the distances one can see about 26 Jain temples. They are difficult to approach for the untrained, but make exciting trekking for those in form.
HOT SPRINGS :- At the foot of the Vaibhava Hill. A staircase leads up to the various temples. Separate bathing places have been organised for men and women and the water comes through spouts from Saptadhara, the seven streams, believed to find their source behind the "Saptaparni Caves", up in the hills. The hottest of the springs is the Brahmakund with a temperature od 45 degree Celsius.
PIPPALA CAVE :- Above the hot springs on the Vaibhava Hill, is a rectangular stone sculpted by the forces of nature which appears to have been used as a Watch tower. Since it later become the resort of pious hermits, it is also called Pippala Cave and popularly known as "Jarasandha ki Baithak" after the name of the King Jarasandha, a contemporary of Lord Krishna described in the epic Mahabharat.
VENU VANA :- Site of the monastery Venuvana Vihar built by King Bimbisara for Lord Buddha to reside. This was the King's first offering to Lord Buddha.