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Places to Visit near Patna

There are many places to visit near Patna which are equally interesting and fascinating. Patna being the capital of Bihar is well connected to its nearby places. One can easily to these places of Patna from the city by train and road. These places are of immense historical, archaeological and religious importance. They are:

•Rajgir
•Nalanda
•Vaishali
•BodhGaya
•Sonepur
•Kesariya
•Raxaul
•Dungeshwari Cave temples
•Gaya

Rajgir

RajgirA natural serene and beautiful place, Rajgir is located in Bihar. This is surrounded by five rocky hills, and set among the bushland,  is one of the important tourist destinations of India. Rajgir means royal citadel. It was initially the capital of Magadha and is an important religious place for its association with Lord Buddha and Mahavira. There are many temples and monasteries located in Rajgir and other interesting historical sites. Rajgir Mahotsava (held in October) is the town’s three day cultural festival , featuring Indian classical and folk music and dance.

Some of the important places to visit are:

•There is single-person chairlift to the top of the Ratnagiri hills, about 5km sooth of the town,  to visit the 40 m high, Vishwashanti stupa, built by Japanese Buddhists. The stupa. The gilded statues of the  Budhha, in all the four phases of  life are potrayed in the recesses. The four phases are – birth, enlightenment, preaching and death. There is a Japanese monastery and 26 Jain shrines, all in these hilltops.•Griddhakuta(Vulture’s Peak) is the place where the Buddha preached his disciples.•The  LakhmiNarayan temple complex is about 2 km South of the town. The Brahmakund is the hottest springs, with  a scalding 45 degrees Centigrade, temperature.
•Jarashand ka Akhara:
The ground where Jarasandh and Bhima fought a battle in the times of Mahabharata.

•Ajatshatru Fort:
This fort was built by King Ajatshatru of Magadha in around 6th century B.C.

•Venu Vana:
 King Bimbisara built this monastery and offered Venu Vana to Buddha as his residence.

•Shanti Stupa or Griddh Koot:
This stupa situated on tall hill is also known as the Vishwa Shanti Stupa and was built entirely of marble. This stupa is an example of stupendous piece of architecture.

•Bimbisar jail:
The place where King Bimbisara resided after he was imprisoned by his own son.

•Veerayatan:
A Jain temple, which also has a Museum in its premises.

•The Chain of Jain Temples:
There are about 26 Jain Temples and is very difficult to reach. This is an excellent site for trekking and adventure lovers.

How to Reach Rajgir

Patna airport is the closest. One can also travel to Rajgir by Bus, Taxi or Tongas. It also has a railway station and is also well connected by road to Patna.

Around  Rajgir

Nalanda

NalandaNalanda , was founded in the 5th Century AD, one of the ancient history’s greatest Universities and also an important Buddhist Centre. 10, 000 monks and students resided and studied subjects like theology, metaphyiscs, astronomy , medicine and philosophy. The libraries at  Nalanda , were so rich that they burnt for six months, after the Afghans attacked them.Nalanda is an important historical place of Bihar. It is the birth place of Sariputra, one of the eminent followers of Lord Buddha. It is one of the tourist destinations in Bihar. While excavating the area, the relics of the most ancient university were found. The ruins are peaceful and well-maintained with a park like atmosphere, perfumed with the fragrance of roses and shrubs.

The Archaeological Complex is small but fascinating , housing the Nalanda University Seal and a host of sculptures and  bronzes, unearthed in Rajgir and Nalanda. There are many Buddha figures and 9th century paintings called Kirtimukha and many sprouted pot.

There is a row of monasteries standing in a row from south to north of the university. These monasteries were built by the Kushans in the same fashion. The most impressive is the Great Stupa , with steps, terraces and monk’s cahmbers. King Ashoka and Harshavardhana pioneered different constructions in Nalanda. The Nalanda Archaeological Museum is a must visit  where one can savor the essence of the past. It is located opposite to the entrance of the university remnants. 

The Xuan Zang Memorial Hall, is built by the Chinese as a peace Pagoda, as an honour to the famous Chinese traveller, who studied and taught in Nalanda, for some years. A museum and an exhibit  dedicated to Xuan Zang was opened.

How to Reach Nalanda

Nalanda is 90 km away from Patna and an overnight journey by bus. One can also travel by train. Rajgir is situated near Nalanda.

Vaishali

VaishaliVaishali, was one of the world’s largest democratic republics. This is the place where Mahavira, the last Tirthankar, was born. Buddha , preached his last sermon here.
Vaishali is another significant historical place in Bihar. Recent excavations have brought attention to the archaeological importance of the area. It is believed to be one of the first democratic republics of the world. The ideal season to visit.Vaishali is between October and March. The places of interest located in Patna are: the Ashokan Pillar: A single piece of red sandstone pillar, built by King Ahoka. The top of the pillar has a life size lion figure. There is a small tank beside the pillar called as Ramkund.
•Bawan Powar Temple: This ancient temple has beautiful images of Hindu Gods and was built under the rule of Palas..
•Buddha Stupa: It is believed that some portion of Buddha’s sacred ashes is preserved in this Stupa inside a stone casket.
•Shanti Stupa: This beautiful Stupa was built by the Buddha Vihar Society.
•Kundalpur:  This is a sacred place of the followers of Jainism. It is said that the Jain guru Mahavir had spent his initial twenty-two years.

Other tourist spots include:

•Raja Vishal Ka Garh
•Abhiskek Puskaran
•Budha Stupa II
•Choumukhi Mahadeva
•World Peace Pagoda

How to Reach Vaishali

Vaishali is well connected by all means of transport from Patna,Bodhgaya

Bodh Gaya

Mahabodhi templeIt is the world’s renowned Buddhist pilgrimage center. Gautama Buddha attained enlightenment under one of the banyan tree (Bodhi tree) and became the Buddha.. Many monastries were built during the Mauryan period.  The International Buddhist Community has built monasteries and temples , which creates the ambience of the place. Bodh Gaya is surrounded by rural villages and farmland. It has the best of tourist and paraphernalia and souvenir stalls.

The places of interest in Bodhgaya are:

•Mahabodhi Temple
•Animesh Lochan Chaitya
•Bodhi Tree
•Chankramana
•Japanese Temple(Indosan Nipponji Temple)
•Ratnagarh
•Muchalinda Lake
•Great Statue of the Buddha
•Lotus Tank
•Buddha Kund
•Rajayatana, Brahm Yoni
•Chinese Temple and Monastery
•Burmese Temple
•Buddhist Monastery of Bhutan
•International Buddhist House and Japanese Temple
•Thai Temple and Monastery
•Tibetan Karma Temple and Namgyal Monastery
•Archaeological Museum
Mahabodhi Temple
This is adjoining to the place where Buddha attained enlightenment and is World Heritage listed temple. It was built in the 6th Century A.D.The temple was restored in 1882, as it underwent Muslim invasion. This ornate structure houses  a 2m high gilded image of the seated Buddha.
The Bodhi Tree
A sapling of the original Bodhi Tree was carried to Sri Lanka, by Ashoka’s daughter Sanghamitra, before it was cut by Ashoka’s wife. A cutting of the tree was carried back to the place of the original plant.The place
of Budha’s enlightenment is called Vajrasan(Diamond Throne).
Muchalinda Lake
This is a lotus pond surrounded by prayer flags and with a cobra statue rising from the centre. The legend says, that Buddha mediated here on the sixth week of enlightenment and was saved by the snake god of the lake, from a violent storm.

The Indosan Nipponji Temple

There is a free Zazen session, daily .It has a Japanese pagoda roof.

Thai Monastery

The Monasteries are designed, respresenting the style of the homeland country. It has a bright wat with shimmering gold leaf and well maintained garden.The Tibetan Karma temple and Namgyal Monastery
It has large prayer wheels. Other monasteries noteworthy, are Chinese, Burmese, Bhutanese , Vietnamese , Nepalese etc.

Great Buddha Statue

This was unveiled by the Dalai Lama, in 1989. This is surrounded by 10 smaller sculptures of Buddha’s disciples. The statueis hollow, containing 20, 000 bronze Buddhas .The Bihar State Tourism Development Corporation has established three wellfurnished hotels at Gaya - Siddhartha Vihar, Buddha Vihar and Sujata Vihar to boost its tourism sector.

Contact details of these hotels are:

Siddharth Vihar
Bodhgaya, Gaya-824231
Phone: 0631-2200445, 2200127

Sujata Vihar
Bodhgaya, Gaya-824231
Phone: 0631-2200445, 2200127

Buddha Vihar
Bodhgaya, Gaya-82423
Phone: 0631-2200445, 2200127
How to Reach Bodhgaya
Bodhgaya is well connected by road, rail and airways. It is 135 kms away from Patna. The nearest airport is 7 km away at Gaya and railway station is at a distance of 17 kms away at Gaya. Nalanda is at a distance of 101 km and Rajgir 78 km through road.

Rajgir


RajgirA natural serene and beautiful place, Rajgir is located in Bihar. This small hill town surrounded with forest is one of the  important tourist destinations of India. Rajgir means royal citadel. It was initially the capital of Magadh and is an important religious place for its association with Lord Buddha. There are many temples and monasteries located in Rajgir and other interesting historical sites. Some of the important places to visit are:
•Jarashand ka Akhara: The ground where Jarasandh and Bhima fought a battle in the times of Mahabharata.
•Ajatshatru Fort: This fort was built by King Ajatshatru of Magadha in around 6th century B.C. •Venu Vana: King Bimbisara built this monastery and offered Venu Vana to Buddha as his residence. •Shanti Stupa or Griddh Koot: This stupa situated on tall hill is also known as the Vishwa Shanti Stupa and was built rayatan: A Jain temple, which also has a Museum in its premises. •The Chain of Jain Temples: There are about 26 Jain Temples and is very difficult to reach. This is an excellent site for trekking and adventure lovers.

How to Reach Rajgir

Patna airport is the closest. One can also travel to Rajgir by Bus, Taxi or Tongas. It also has a railway station and is also well connected by road to Patna.

Sonepur

Sonepur ka MelaAccording to the Hindu mythology, Vishnu  ended the battle between the elephants and the crocodiles (the lords of the forest and lords of water).This is located 25 km , north of Patna , across the Mahatma Gandhi bridge. The  famous Sonepur Mela  is held every year, during November and December , on the Kartik Purnima. During this auspicious time, we find the devotees bathing in the Ganges. Asia’s largest cattle fair, also takes place at Haathi Bazaar. Bovines and elephants change hands here.BSTDC in Patna, makes temporary cottages operational , during the fair. An autorickshaw  ride to sonepur would take Rs 150.

Kesariya

This is the place where the dying Buddha donated his begging bowl. It is almost the height of 10 storeys, above the earth.This most probably , is one of the 2nd tallest Buddhist stupa in the world, dating back the Pala period. There are nine uniquely shaped terraces , seven of which are exposed. This forms a Buddhist Tantric Mandala diagram, with the circumference of 435 m. There are jeeps which are plying between Kesraiya and Chakia. Alternately , a long day trip from Patna is also available.

Raxaul

This is a twin town with Bir Birganj in Nepal. This is a crowded border town.
There are early morning buses between Patna and Raxual.Teh Mithila Express runs between raxaul and Kolkata.

Dungeshwari  cave Temples

This  is 12 km northeast of BodhGaya. This is the place where Buddha meditated  for years. There are three  shrines , two for the Buddhists and one for the Hindus.
There is an autorickshaw trip from BodhGaya.

Gaya

GayaGaya is a disorderly and dusty town , about 100 km south of Patna. This is a centre for Hindu pilgrims , which  also acts as a transport hub for Bodh Gaya, which is 1.3 km away.Hindu pilgrims, visit this place, to offer pindas ( funeral cakes ) to their ancestors, on the banks of the  Ganges, to free them from the bondage with the earth.

Other sights close to Gaya are :-

Vishnupad temple

This was constructed by Queen Ahalya Bai of Indore, near the Falgu river.  It has a 40 cm footprint of Vishnu, imprinted in solid rock. Non-Hindus are not supposed to enter the temple and can have a glance of the temple , from the pink platform, near the entrance. Hindus bathe and light funeral pyres , on the banks of the river.
Brahmajuni Hills. There are one thousand steps , which lead to the temple.This is where the Buddha preached his first sermon.  This is one km southwest of the Vishnupad temple.


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