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Rajgir, Nalanda, Pawapuri, Bodhgaya & Gaya Tour from Kolkata

Rajgir, Nalanda, Pawapuri, Bodhgaya & Gaya Tour from Kolkata

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Published by Proloy Chakroborty
Here I've illustrated a tour plan for Rajgir, Nalanda, Pawapuri, Bodhgaya & Gaya from Kolkata. I also documented what to see in each destinations. I included an approximate budget for my suggested route along with suggested trains. I hope this document will help many travelers like me.

Please write your comment about this document.
Here I've illustrated a tour plan for Rajgir, Nalanda, Pawapuri, Bodhgaya & Gaya from Kolkata. I also documented what to see in each destinations. I included an approximate budget for my suggested route along with suggested trains. I hope this document will help many travelers like me.

Please write your comment about this document.

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Published by: Proloy Chakroborty on Oct 10, 2011
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09/26/2014

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Rajgir, Nalanda, Pawapuri, Bodhgaya and Gaya

Tour Program:
Day 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Itenary Departure from KOAA at 8:00 PM for PNBE on “PNBE Garib Rath” train Arrive PNBE at 5:30 AM. Departure from PNBE at 9:15 AM for RDG on “Rajgriha Expres” tain. Arrive RDG at 12:30 PM and transfer to Hotel Sight Seeing Rajgir and night stay in Rajgir Sight Seeing Nalanda & Pawapuri. Night stay in Rajgir Departure from Rajgir in Bus/Car for Bodhgaya. Night Stay in Bodhgaya. Sight Seeing Bodhgaya. Transfer to Gaya Station. Departure from GAYA at 10:20 PM for HWH on “NDLS HWH Express” train. Reach HWH at 6:00 AM. Tour Ends

Expenses per head (twin sharing):
ID 01 PNBE Garib Rath (12359) A3 02 Rajgriha Expres (13234) CC 03 NDLS HWH Express (12324) A3 | `244 SL 04 Hotel Tathagat Vihar, Rajgir (3 days) @ `525 (ECO) & `577.5 (ECOTV) 05 Hotel Siddhartha Vihar, Bodhgaya (2 day) @ `577.5 (NAC) 06 Local Transport 07 Sight Seeing 08 Fooding @ Rs.200 per day 09 Miscellaneous Total Particulars Amount in `
477.00 209.00 612.00 787.50 577.50 300.00 700.00 1000.00 500.00 5163.00

Gaya – What to see?
Pretshila Hill: This hill adds to the beauty of Gaya. It is about 10 kms from the Ramshila hill. Just below the hill is the Brahma Kund. After taking bath in this pond people go for the 'Pind Dan' which involves performance of religious rites and offering donations and charity for the peace of souls of one's parents and ancestors. On top of the hill the Queen of Indore, Ahilya Bai, built a temple in 1787popularly known as Ahilya Bai Temple. This temple has always been an attraction for the tourists due to its unique architecture and magnificent sculptures. Vishnupad Temple: In 1787 Queen Ahilya Bai built the Vishnu temple on the banks of river Falgu. The temple has some great architecture and design which attracts devotees and tourists alike. A 30-meter high octagonal tower overshadows this temple.

Rajgir – What to see?
Rajgir just 15 kms from Nalanda is located the complex of temples and monasteries. The place is called Rajgir. It is one of the most important tourist places in India. Being located in a valley, Rajgir is a very scenic place. The small hill grit town is covered with lush green forest which add to the beauty of the place. Rajgir was the capital of the Magadh Mahajanpad (State) when Patliputra was not formed. In those days it was called Rajgrih. Rajgir or Rajgrih means the home of Royalty. This place has been associated with Lord Buddha and Buddhism. Buddha not only spent many years in Rajgir but also delivered sermons here and proselytized emperor Bimbisar at the Griddhakoota hill. The Jivekarmavan monastery was the favorite residence for Buddha. Even Bimbisar gave Venuvan Vihar to Buddha for his residence. It is said that it was at Rajgir that physician treated Buddha, Jivak after he was injured by his cousin Devdatta.The teachings of Buddha was penned down at Rajgir and it was also the venue for the first Buddhist Council. Today Rajgir has come up as one of the most important pilgrimage for the Buddhist.Rajgir also has some very beautiful Hindu and Jain temples which attracts Hindus and Jains also to the place. Not only as a place for worship, Rajgir has come up as health and winter resort with its warm water ponds. These ponds are said to contain some medicinal properties which help in the cure of many skin diseases. The added attraction of Rajgir is the Ropeway which takes you uphill to the Shanti Stupa and Monasteries built by the Japanese Devotees on top of the Ratnagiri hills. Jarashand ka Akhara Jivakameavan Gardens Ajatshatru Fort Cyclopean Wall This is the Ranbhumi where Bhima and Jarasandh fought one of the Mahabharat battles. Seat of the Royal Physician's dispensary where Lord Buddha was once brought to have wound dressed by Jivaka, the royal physician during the reign of Ajatshatru and Bimbisara. Built by Ajatshatru (6th century B.C.), the king of Magadha during the Buddha's time. The 6.5 sq.meter Ajatshatru's Stupa is also believed to have been built by him. Once 40 Km long, it encircled ancient Rajgir. Built of massive undressed stone carefully fitted together, the wall is one of the few important Pre-Maurayan stone structures ever to have been found. Traces of wall still subsist, particularly at the exit of Rajgir to Gaya. The Vishwa Shanti Stup is located on a 400 meter high hill. The stupa is built in marble and on the four corners of the stupa are four glimmering statues of Buddha. To reach the top of this hill one has to come through the “Ropeways”. This place is also called the GriddhKoot. 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. It is the tank in which Buddha used to bathe. Two rather strange cave chambers were hollowed out of a single massive rock. One of the chambers I believed to have been the guard room, the rear wall has two straight vertical lines and one horizontal line cut into the rock; the doorway is supposed to lead to king Bimbisara Treasury. Inscriptions in the Sankhlipi or shell script, etched into wall and so far undeciphered, are believed to give the clue to open the doorway. The treasure, according to folklore, is still intact. The second chambers bears a few traces of seated and standing etched into the outer wall. his impatient saon and heir, Ajatashatru, imprisoned King Bimbisara here. The captive king chose this site for his incarceration, for, from this spot he could see Lord Buddha climbing up to his mountain retreat atop the Griddhakuta hill. There is a clear view of the Japanese Pagoda. The stupa of peace was built on the top of the hill. A Jain Temple and Museum 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. The Chariot Route and hell inscriptions are worth a visit for the strangeness of the phenomenon, two parallel furrows cut deep into rock for about thirty feet giving credence to the local belief that they were "burnt" into the rock by the speed and power of Lord Krishna's chariot when he entered the city of Rajgir during the epic Mahabharata times. Several shell inscriptions, the undeciphered characters current in central and eastern India from the 1st to 5th centuries AD, and engraved in the rock around the chariot marks. At the foot of Vaibhava Hill, a staircase leads up to the various temples. Separate bathing places have been organized for men and women and the water comes through spouts from Saptdhara, the seven streams, believed to find their source behind the "Saptarni Caves", up in the hills. The hottest of the springs is the Brahmakund with a temperature of 45 degree Centigrade.

Shanti Stupa

Venu Vana Karanda Tank Sonbhandar Caves

Bimbisar jail

Veerayatan Jain Temple Chariot Route Marks

Hot Springs

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 became the resort of pious hermits, it is also called Pippala Cave and popularly known as "Jarasandh ki Baithak" after the name of the King Jarasandh, a contemporary of Lord Krishna described in the epic Mahabharata It is to be said that that it was a store of Gold of King Jarashandh. A unread story about the cave is that there is a lot of gold in this cave and a script is written on a stone is the code to unlock the door of this Swarn Bhandar. This was the place where the lord Buddha set in a motion his second wheel of law an for three months even 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 to up to the hill but it is much more fun to take the Aerial Chair lift which operates every day except Thursday. One way ride takes 7.5 minutes and the view is splendid over the hills of Rajgir. 25 km away, this little town on the top of a craggy rock, attracts thousand of pilgrims of all religions who visit the tomb of Makhdum Shah Sharif-ud-din, a Muslim saint of 14th century. Bihar Sharif was once the capital of the Muslim Governors of Bihar between 13th and 16th centuries when the city was an active cultural center and an important seat of Muslim thought and learning.

Swarn Bhandar

Gridhakuta

Excursion:

Bihar Sharif:

Nalanda – What to see?
Nalanda, founded in the 5th century AD, is famous as the ancient seat of learning. The ruins of the world's most ancient university lies here which is 62 km from Bodhgaya and 90 km south of Patna. Though the Buddha visited Nalanda several times during his lifetime, this famous center of Buddhist learning shot to fame much later, during 5th-12th centuries. Hieun Tsang stayed here in the 7th century AD and left detailed description of the excellence of education system and purity of monastic life practiced here. He also gave a vivid account of both the ambiance and architecture of this unique university of ancient times. In this first residential international university of the world, 2,000 teachers and 10,000 monks students from all over the Buddhist world lived and studied here. The Gupta kings patronized these monasteries, built in old Kushan architectural style, in a row of cells around a courtyard. Emperor Ashoka and Harshavardhana were some of its most celebrated patrons who built temples, monasteries and viharas here. Recent excavations have unearthed elaborate structures here. An International Center for Buddhist Studies was established here in 1951. Nearby is Biharsharif, where an annual urs is celebrated at the Dargah or tomb of Malik Ibrahim Baya. Baragaon, 2 km away has a sun temple, famous for Chhath puja. To be visited are Nalanda museum & Nava Nalanda Mahavihar in addition to the great ruins. Nalanda University Ruins Archaeological Complex The total area of the excavation is about 14 hectares. All the edifices are of the red brick and the gardens are beautiful. The buildings are divided by a central walk way that goes south to north. The monasteries or "Viharas" are east of this central alley and the temple or "Chaiyas" to the west. The Vihara-1 is perhaps the most interesting with its cells on two floors built around a central courtyard where steps lead up to what must have been a dais for the professors to address their students. A small chapel still retains a half broken statue of the Lord Buddha. The enormous pyramidal mass of the Temple no .3 is impressive and from its top commands a splendid view of the entire area. It is surrounded by smaller stupas, many of which studded with small and big statues of the Lord Buddha in Various poses or "Mudras" Nalanda Archaeological Opposite the entrance to the ruins of the university and houses, there is a small but beautiful Museum collection of Buddhist and Hindu bronzes and a number of undamaged statues of the Lord Buddha that were found in the area. Two enormous terra-cotta jars of the first century stand intact behind the museum in a shaded enclosure. The collection includes copper plates and stone inscriptions, coins, pottery and samples of burnt rice (12th century AD) found among the ruins here. Open during 10.00 to 17.00. Closed on Friday. Nava Nalanda Mahavihara Hieun Tsang Memorial Hall Silao Nava Nalanda Mahavihara is devoted to study and research of Pali Literature and Buddhism. This is a new institute, where students from foreign countries also study. A new construction in memory of the great Chinese traveler, Hieun Tsang. In between Nalanda and Rajgir, there is a village namely Silao where very a popular local sweet "KHAJA" is prepared.

Pawapuri – What to see?
Jalmadir: A marble temple, the Jalmandir, was later built in the middle of the tank, and is now a major pilgrimage spot for Jains.

Bodhgaya – What to see?
Bodhgaya is one of the most important and sacred Buddhist pilgrimage center in the world. It was here under a banyan tree, the Bodhi Tree, Gautama attained supreme knowledge to become Buddha,the Enlightened One. Born; in the foothills of the Himalayas as a Sakya prince of Kapilvastu (now in Nepal), most of the major events of his life, like enlightenment and last sermon, happened in Bihar. Buddhism as a religion was really born in Bihar and evolved here through his preaching and the example of his lifestyle of great simplicity, renunciation and empathy for everything living. Significantly, the state's name of 'Bihar' originated from 'Vihara' meaning monasteries which abounded in Bihar. Several centuries after Buddha's passing away, the Maurya Emperor Ashoka (234-198 BC) contributed tremendously towards the revival, consolidation and spread of the original religion. It is the monasteries, Ashoka built for the Buddhist monks and the pillars known as Ashokan Pillars erected to commemorate innumerable historical sites associated with the Buddha's life, mostly intact to this day, that helped scholars and pilgrims alike to trace the life events and preaching of a truly extraordinary man. There is a magnificent Mahabodhi temple and the Tree from the original sapling still stands in the temple premises. The temple is an architectural amalgamation of many centuries, cultures and heritages. While its architecture has a distinct stamp of the Gupta era, it has later ages inscriptions describing visits of pilgrims from Sri Lanka, Myanmar and China between 7th and 10th century AD. It is perhaps still the same temple Hieuen Tsang visited in 7th century. Mahabodhi Temple The temple stands in the east to the Bodhi Tree. Its architectural effect is superb. Its basement is 48 square feet and it rises in the form of a slender Pyramid till it reaches its neck, which is cylindrical in shape. The total height of the temple is 170 ft. and on the top of the temple are Chatras which symbolize sovereignty of religion. Four towers on its corners rise gracefully giving the holy structure a poise balance. This sacred edifice is like a grand banner unfurled by time to proclaim to the world the pious efforts of the Buddha to solve the knots of human miseries, to ascend above worldly problems and to attain transcendental peace through wisdom, good conduct and disciplined life. Inside the temple, in the main sanctum, there is a colossal image of the Buddha in sitting posture touching the earth by his right hand. In this posture the Buddha accomplished the supreme enlightenment. The statue is of black stone but it has been guilder by the devotees. The entire courtyard of the temple is studded with large number of votive stupas. These stupas are of all sizes built during the past 2500 years ago. Most of them are extremely elegant in structural beauty. The ancient railings, which surround the temple, are of the first century BC and are among the very interesting monuments of the century. Animesh Lochan Chaitya Bodhi Tree It is believed that the Buddha spent one week here looking towards the great Bodhi tree out of gratitude, without twinkling his eyes. The present Bodhi Tree is probably the fifth succession of the original tree under which the Buddha had attained enlightenment. Vajrasana, the seat of stability, is a stone platform on which the Buddha is supposed to have sat in meditation gazing east, under the Bodhi tree. This marks the sacred spot of the Buddha's meditative perambulations during the third week after pious enlightenment. It is believed that wherever the Buddha put his feet lotus sprang up. The Buddha spent one week here, where it is believed that five colors came out of his body. 80 ft Statue of the Buddha, Lotus Tank, Buddha Kund, Rajayatana, Brahm Yoni, Chinese Temple & Monastery, Burmese Temple, Buddhist Monastery of Bhutan, International Buddhist House & Japanese Temple, Thai Temple & Monastery, Tibetan Monastery, Archaeological Museum. Sujata village (2 kms), Dungeshwari Hill (Prag bodhi) (22 kms by road), Maitraya Project (3 kms).

Chankramana Ratnagarh Other Treasures of Bodhgaya

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