Rajgir is a very popular pilgrimage destination for the Jains or in other words is a Jain Teerth since ancient period. In the prehistoric times Rajgir was known by many different names which are Girivraja, Rajgriha, Vasumati, Barhadrathapura, Kusagrapura and Panch pahadi. This holy pilgrimage is located in Patna city which is in the state of Bihar. There are many hills near Rajgir out of which the popular ones are Ratnagiri, Arungiri, Vipulachala, Vaibhavgiri and Udaigiri.
It is said that Lord Muni Suvrata Swami who is the twentieth tirthankar of the Jains was born at Rajgir. Garbha, Janma, Tapa and Gyan which are the four kalyanka of Lord Muni Suvrata were celebrated at this sinless place of Rajgriha.
History: Rajgir is very closely associated with Brihadratha, King Bimbisara (also known as Shrenik), Jarasandha and king Ajathasatru. Kings Shrenik and Ajathsatru ruled over Rajgriha for many years. They both were the principle followers of Lord Mahavir in those times. Lord Mahavir stayed at Rajgir for quite a long time. He stayed in the state called Muni 14 times in months of Chaturmas which is the period of 4 months of the rainy season. He established his first Samavsharan on Vipulachala and delivered his first teaching on Rajgir. Many Jain saints have attained nirvana at this holy pilgrimage.
It is also said that the founder of the Buddha Religion, Gautam Buddha had also come here and had stayed here for a long time along with his disciples. Rajgir is the place of worship of all the religions namely Hindu, Sikh, Muslim, Buddha and Christian. Therefore it can be said that in recent times Rajgir has become the centre of International Tourism.
Chief temples and idols at Rajgir:
Rajgir and the hills which have Jain temples on them are collectively known as the Siddha kshetra. All together there are 10 temples on these hills and two other beautiful temples in the valley. Four glorious Jain temples are constructed on Vipulachala which is considered to be the first hill. In addition a huge and pleasing monument has been built on this hill which reminds us of the kalyanakas of Lord Muni Suvrata.
Udaigiri is the second hill the pilgrims should visit. On this hill there are two magnificently built Jain temples. There were other two ancient temples which were discovered while digging this place. The idols which were found from these ancient temples have been placed in the Lal Mandir which is in the valley. There are three other beautiful temples situated on the Swarnagari hill. When you go down from this hill you will come across a cave called Sonbhandar Gufa. The specialty of this cave is that you will see the idols of the Jain Gods carved on the walls of this cave.
On the last hill called Vaibhavgiri, there are five temples. A special attraction of this spot is the 1200 years old temple which was recovered while digging. It consists of many ancient and artistic Jain idols. In the valley you will be able to see the remains of the palace of king Bimbisara. At the foot of the hills also there are few Swetambar and Digambar temples which have been constructed recently.
Airways: The nearest airport is Patna.
Railways: Rajgir is located on the branch line of the Eastern Railways. It is the last station of the Babhtyarpur - Rajgir line which is just 1 km ahead of the Rajgir pilgrimage. Also there are frequent trains from Patna to the nearby places.
Roadways: There are many buses and taxi services available from Gaya, Nalanda, Patna and Bihar Sharif to Rajgir.