Bodh Gaya, this town is my favourite Buddhist site in India.
Its rugged peaks and sheer crags, dry forests and silent
ruins evoke memories of the Buddha at almost every turn.
During the Buddha's time Rajgir, then known as Rajagaha,
was the capital of Magadha and the largest city in north
India. Spread out over a fairly wide area you will find
the cool and shady Bamboo Grove, Devadatta's Cave at Makdum
Kund, the Sattapanna Cave where the First Council was held,
Jivaka's Mango Grove, Ajatasattu's stupa, the Pipphili Cave
where Maha Kassapa liked to stay and the Boar's Grotto (see
photo) where Sariputta was enlightened, to name but
looming over it all is the dazzling white and gold Japanese
stupa on Ratana Hill. The thermal springs now built into
a Hindu temple are often referred to in the Buddhist scriptures
and are a good place to have a hot bath. But go in the evening
when there the crowds are less and there are no brahmins
to hassle you for 'baksheesh'. Rajgir was the scene of many
important incidents in the Buddha's career but it is an
important place for Jain pilgrimage as well. If you walk
around the new town you'll see numerous Jain pilgrims including
monks in pure white and even the 'sky clad' naked ones.
will also see several large Jain temples.
you are up on the Vultures Peak read the Mahasaropama Sutta
and on the way down sit in the Boar's Grotto and read the
Dighanakha Sutta. On the way back to town stop at the ruins
of the Jivaka's Mango Grove
and read the Jivaka Sutta. There are well maintained and
peaceful gardens in the Bamboo Grove, a good place to sit
and read the Abhayarajakumara Sutta, the Dantabhumi
Sutta or the Culavedalla Sutta which was taught
by the nun Dhammadinna. All these discourses are from The
Middle Length Discourses. There are several adequate hotels
around the main bus stop the best being the Anand and the
Mamata but a very good place to stay is the Bengal Buddhist
Association right next to the Burmese Temple. It is clean,
friendly and conveniently situated. Use Rajgir
[ see map ] as a base for
four side trips, to Jethian, to the Indasala Cave, to Ghosrawan
and to Nalanda.