Above Image: Rajgir chair-lift aerial ropeway to Ratnagiri hilltop to view the World Peace Pagoda.
Rajgir literally means “abode of kings”. It was the capital of Magadha Empire which flourished in the 6th century BC. It has association with Lord Buddha and Lord Mahavir. The first Buddhist Council immediately after the Mahaparinirvana of Lord Buddha was held here. As such, it is one of the most important pilgrimage for the Buddhist. Rajgir also has some very beautiful Hindu and Jain temples. Not only as a place for worship, Rajgir has come up as health and winter resort with its warm water ponds.
Our trip to Rajgir was part of our day-trip to Nalanda-Rajgir-Pawapuri. After our first stop at Nalanda [click here..], we headed for Rajgir. In Rajgir, we experienced the Hot Springs, enjoyed the Aerial Ropeway, saw the World Peace Pagoda and the Sonbhandar Caves. We then moved on to Pawapuri. It was a short hectice trip and we covered a lot.
However now, when I am back in Chicago, and I am reading about Rajgir, it seems we also missed a lot. There’s a lot more I would have loved to see.. especailly, the Cyclopean Wall or outer fortification and the Inner City Wall. Also missed the Maniyar Math, which we saw from outside, but did not make a stop. These places are marked down for next visit.
Meanwhile, I will concentrate of what we saw..
Chair Lift Aerial Ropeway
An aerial ropeway provides the link with a hill-top Vishwa Shanti Stupa [ World Peace Pagoda], and monasteries built by Japanese devotees atop the Ratnagiri hills.
The Rajgir chair-lift aerial ropeway is said to be the oldest ropeway in the country. It was donated by famous Japanese monk Fuji Guruji. The first person to ride on this ropeway was Loknayak Jaya Prakash Narayan!!! Presently it is said to be the biggest revenue- generating unit of the Bihar State Tourism Development Corporation (BSTDC). There are talks of commissioning of the new ropeway. The new ropeway would have cabins which would accomodate several persons, as against the existing chair-lift ropeway, which can accommodate only one person . Once new one is installed, the old one will be given the heritage status on the pattern of the famous toy train of Darjeeling.
World Peace Pagoda & More..
Rajgir Vishwa Shanti Stupa [World Peace Pagoda] was built in 1969, by Japanese as a symbol on world peace. It is built on top of the Ratnagiri Hills.. It is one of the 6 peace pagodas in the country and 80 peace pagodas in the world. It’s built to spread the message of peace and non-violence. The structure is built completely in marble and comprises four golden statues of Lord Buddha with each representing his life periods of birth, enlightenment, preaching and death. A temple is also situated near this Stupa called the ‘Nipponzan Myohoji’.