Rajgir and Nalanda – following Lord Buddha’s footsteps

On Saturday I visited the Nalanda university and Rajgir with a group of Sri Lankans. Both places are very important for Buddhist pilgrims.

Rajgir is the city where Lord Buddha was living and preaching after his enlightenment for many years.
In Gridhukota Lord Buddha and his disciple Ananda used to meditate in the caves which are on the top of the hill and where disciples were taught by Lord Buddha.
King Bimbisara invited him to the city of Rajgir to teach his philosophy to the people. Rajgir however was also the place of the first Buddhist council where Lord Buddha’s teachings were written down by the first Sangha.
The Japanese Peace Pagoda and the Venuvana Viharya are built in remembrance of Lord Buddha’s living and teaching in this region.
The hike up to the mountains and the view on the landscape is astonishing. A place of peace and tranquility.

The Nalanda university stands for the climax and decay of the Buddhist culture in India.
Built in the 6th century B.C. it became a place of Lord Buddha’s teachings.
Time by time it became the first Buddhist university of the world.
In the 5th century A.D. however the university had over 12 000 Buddhist monks who were living and studying in numerous subjects.
With the Mughal invasion in the 12th century under Bhaktiar Kilji of the Nalanda university was looted and burned in one day while all the young monks were killed. Until now this tragic moment is seen as the end of the prosperous Buddhist era in India.

The Bihar region has a very mystic landscape and is very interesting to be discovered but it is very important to be careful. Due to elections there are not enough busses and vehicles for hire.
Don’t take a tuk tuk, as we did, as technical failures occurred and extended the length of your trip unnecessarily.
As we returned late to Bodhgaya the police warned us not to travel at night as there is no sufficient security in this region. We made it back without any big problems but if it gets afternoon in Rajgir rather stay there overnight. This was the police’s advice to us. Just if anyone is interested to travel there.
Anyway a very adventurous experience!

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