Buddhism began with a man named Gautama, who introduced himself as ‘I am awake’ on being asked his identity. Later on the world named him, ‘The Enlightened One’, ‘The Awakened One’. Buddhism is a nonthestic religion. It transcends religion beliefs into practical experiences. It is a religion that stresses on purifying your own mind. Buddhism is considered to be the fourth religion after Christianity, Islamic and Hinduism. The religion has grown steadily in different parts of the world as well as in India. One of the significant places where Buddhism has gained importance is Rajgir.
Introduction to Rajgir
Rajgir is a city and a notified area in Nalanda district in the Indian State of Bihar. It is both a tourist destination as well as a holy destination for most of the religion like Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism. Besides being home to seven hills and many pagodas and monasteries, it is said that the awakened masters like Mahavir and Lord Buddha have visited to this place and stayed there for several months.
Significance of Buddhism in Rajgir
Buddhism has a great significance in Rajgir. It is sacred to the memory of founders of Buddhism and is also linked with the historical Buddha. It is the place where Buddha went. He stayed there for a quite long period of time and meditated. Here, Gautama also preached his followers at Gridhakuta, The Hills of Vultures. Moreover, he delivered some famous sermons which were so liked that many people along with the king Bhimsara, king of Magadha, that they thereafter decided to convert to Buddhism. Hence, Rajgir became the important centre of Buddhism. The first Buddhist Council was held at Saptparni Cave under the leadership of Maha Kassapa.
Buddhism flourished in Rajgir. The spread resulted in establishment of many monasteries in Rajgir. Many pagodas were built. A pagoda is a tiered tower built in traditions. These are mostly built to have a religious function. It was most commonly built by Buddhist.
Among all other pagodas, The Peace Pagoda commonly known as Vishwa Shanti Stupa is one of the most famous pagoda. It was built in 1969. It was built by government of Japan and is located on high hills of 40 meters of length. It is one of the 80- pagodas in the world spreading the message of peace and non- violence. This place is commonly known as Gridhakuta. It is a marble stupa with four statues of Lord Buddha, one on each corner. There are two ways of reaching to this place. One is through ropeway and another is by climbing 600 steps. It is also believed that here Lord Buddha used to meditate and has delivered several sermons to his followers for three months, even during rainy season.
There is a major attraction in Rajgir i.e. Venu Vana. It literally means ‘bamboo grove’. It is said that, it is the monastery which was denoted by the king Bhimbisara to Lord Buddha to reside in. He used to meet and preach people at this place. Venu Vana is an artificial forest, where one can enjoy eternal peace.
Rajgir, the city of Bihar is truly an ideal place which provides peaceful, calm, quiet and soothing environment which is why it attracted holy people like Lord Buddha and Mahavir. It is the place with spiritual, religious and historical importance to Buddhism.