Patna – Rajgir (85 kms/ 02 hrs) – Nalanda (15 kms) – Bodhgaya (95 kms/ 02 hrs)
On your way to Bodhgaya visit two other important places related to the life of Buddha. The first destination on the way to Bodhgaya is Rajgir.
Modern-day Rajgir is a small place and town which lies in Nalanda district in Bihar state, but it is a historical and
ancient place and its history dates back to the ancient times. It is believed that references to the place have been made
in the epic, the Mahabharata. Historical accounts show that it served as the capital city of the Magadha kings – hence
the name, ‘Rajgriha’ or the ‘residence of the royals’ – before one among their lineage, Ajatashatru, moved the kingdom’s
capital to Patliputra (or modern-day Patna). Historical records show that the place was also closely associated with major
events in Lord Buddha’s life and the path that he founded. It is recorded that he stayed in Rajgir and delivered sermons
at that place and also converted emperor Bimbisar who became one of his ardent followers. It is also the place where the
first Buddhist council was formed. Rajgir also has many Hindu and Jain temples and draws devotees of these two faiths.
The place Rajgir besides being imbued with so much history and tradition is also a very scenic place with thick vegetation,
hills and a valley. It also has warm water ponds whose water is said to have therapeutic and medicinal benefits.
The list of places to visit when at Rajgir is very long. The list includes Jarashand ka Akhara, Jivakameavan Gardens,
Ajatshatru Fort, Cyclopean Wall, Shanti Stupa, Venu Vana, Bimbisar Jail, Jain Temples and Swarn Bhandar.
After visiting famous Buddhist places and monuments of Rajgir, drive to Nalanda. Lying only 15 kms from Rajgir, Nalanda is an historical site, probably the oldest and largest Buddhist teaching center of the ancient world.
Nalanda, is a site in Bihar about 88 kilometers from Patna, which was an ancient and one of the earliest centers of higher learning and was patronized by royal dynasties, until it declined because of factors including its ransacking and destruction by a Turkish invader Bakhtiyar Khilji in 1193. This center of learning was founded in the 5th century AD and during its prime attracted students, scholars and visitors from as far away as China, Persia and Greece. It was a residential center of learning and had facilities for housing student-scholars, as also halls where learning was imparted and also had a very large library. It is believed that the university was set up and established in 5th century AD, but it is not certain who exactly founded it, even though it is known that it was set up under royal patronage. It is believed that the courses and learning taught at this university were all inclusive and the whole knowledge available at the time was sought to be imparted to the student-scholars of the university. Travelers and scholars from around the world visited the university and their chronicles are good sources of information regarding this famed ancient seat of learning. Present-day Nalanda is being maintained by government departments and a visitor to the site can see and explore the archeological complex and museum.
Visiting Nalanda, proceed to Bodhgaya ("place of enlightenment") - the international Buddhist pilgrimage center. On arrival at Bodhgaya, you will be transferred to pre-reserved hotel for overnight stay.