Riding a bike with friends in one of India’s lesser-known states – Bihar is indeed an experience in itself. Riding bikes is not just simply accelerating throttle and pressing brakes. It’s more than that. It’s an emotion that lets you connect with nature. Riding and feeling bumps as we thrust along hills, muddy patches, streams and the occasional roadblocks are so much fun. Tears of achievement, frustration, hysterical laughter and a mouthful of petrol fumes are all part of a day’s ride, as is the ability to hit the dirt at a moment’s notice to avoid oncoming traffic. My ride from Patna to Rajgir is a memorable one. More of you should hit the road less taken.

Rajgir: An Overview

Location
East India
State
Bihar
Alternate Name
Rajgirh
Nearby Places to Visit
Pawapuri, Nalanda, Bihar Sharif, Kundalpur
Accessibility
Throughout the year
Best Time to Visit
November to February
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Experience the road less travelled. Photography by Tom Webster

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Temple at Kundlapur. Photography by Alok Jain

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Jain temple at Pawapuri. Photography by Abhishek

A Brief History of Rajgir

Rajgir, meaning the abode of Gods, is a town in Nalanda district. It is located at a distance of about 93 km southeast of Patna. It finds mention in the Mahabharata as the kingdom of Jarasandha, the arch-nemesis of Krishna and his Yadava clan.

About Rajgir

Being located in a valley, Rajgir is a very scenic place. The small hill grit town is covered with lush green forest which adds to the beauty of the place. Rajgir was the capital of the Magadh Mahajanpad when Patliputra was not formed.

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An elegant buddha’s statue at Rajgir. Photography by Gaurav Kumar

Rajgir and the Buddhism Connect

Rajgir or Rajgrih means the home of  Royalty. This place has been associated with Lord  Buddha and Buddhism.  Buddha not only spent many years in Rajgir but also delivered sermons here and proselytized emperor Bimbisar at the Griddhakoota hill.

Rajgir has come up as one of the most important pilgrimage places for Buddhists. Rajgir is also home to some very beautiful Hindu and Jain temples which attracts both Hindus and Jains to the place. Not only is Rajgir seen as a place for worship but also as an entertainment destination. All thanks to the health and winter resort with its warm water ponds. These ponds are said to contain some medicinal properties which help in the cure of many skin diseases. The added attraction of Rajgir is the Ropeway which takes you uphill to the Shanti Stupa and Monasteries built by the Japanese Devotees on top of the Ratnagiri hills.

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3 friends, 2 bikes and lots of thrill. Photography by Chandrakant Jaiswal

Taking the High Road to Rajgir

It was an early January morning when two of my friends and I decided that we need a break. “Break” as in break from the busy schedules of ours and also the hectic lifestyle that we were going through from the past some months.

Three friends, two bikes and a perfect weather to hit the roads on our motorcycles. Preparation was going on from weeks and finally, it was Thursday, when we left the busy crowds of Patna and took the NH-31 highway. It was our first time to be driving on highway without our family. With friends, it’s another experience which you will get once you are out with them.

It’s a 1-1.5 hour drive from the city , although traffics make it a 2 hour one. Having a 110cc bike is not good for long journeys but they are helpful when you want to save on your pocket. They give you mileage which a biker wants while cruising long journeys.

As we were driving through the highways, cold breeze was gazing through my body. Even though I had a jacket and gloves though I could feel the cold breeze entering through it.

Going into the fog, don’t know what is coming next but every second was worth getting in. Getting a free road means speed….the adrenaline that you get while throttling every bit of power from the engine gives immense pleasure while driving. That time I was feeling the same.

Snacking at a Roadside Dhaba

After we rode for 55kms, we stopped for a 5min break and thought of snacking at a roadside Dhaba. Quickly ordered 3 cups of hot tea and gulped it down as soon as we got it. Feeling recharged after this small break, we headed back on the road and resumed the journey. A place called “Silao” just 10 km before Rajgir is a must-stop point. It’s famous for its sweet called Khaaja”. a patty like sweet or salted dish. People of Bihar love to eat Khaaja of Silao. So we stopped, ate and also got packets for home. Then we entered into Rajgir our final stop for the day. Getting to the destination was not difficult but after getting there what’s next was the question we asked ourselves. Then we Googled and got the lists of places nearby Rajgir.

If you happen to be travelling by bike or car make sure to make a stop near the roadside Dhaba’s, coz some tastes aren’t found elsewhere. Enjoy a hot cup of tea, coffee, omelette, biscuits any type of snacks but make sure to stop there for a halt and also take a break from the continuous ride and enjoy the nature and its surroundings.”

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Khaja of Silao. Photography by werawat.ch

Places Along the Way

We visited only a couple of places as we didn’t have much time as we had to return to our place the same day. So we visited:

  1. Gridhakuta
  2. Nalanda
  3.  Rajgir ropeway

 Gridhakuta

This was the place where the Lord Buddha set in a motion his second wheel of law and for three months even during the rainy season, preached many inspiring sermons to his disciples. The Buddha Sangha of Japan have constructed a massive modern stupa, the Shanti Stupa (Peace Pagoda), at the top of the hill in commemoration
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Stupa at Gridhakuta. Photography by Abhiroop Goshdastidar

Nalanda

10 km from Rajgir, where ruins of the great ancient University has been excavated. The University of Nalanda was founded in the 5th century AD, this great seat of learning flourished until the 12th century. Once 2000 teachers and 10000 students crowded it portals. King after king built monasteries and temples here.
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Ruins of the great Nalanda University. Photography by Aakash Jain

Rajgir Ropeway

 the ride on the ropeway which takes you to the Japanese Peace Stupa. The ride itself is very scenic and should be on every traveller’s itinerary. The timings are 8.15 am- 5 pm (with a break between 1 pm and 2 pm) and the tickets are available for around Rs. 30 – Rs. 50 per person.
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Ropeway to Vishwa Shanti Stupa. Photography by Alfia Rizkiyani

After roaming to all these beautiful places it was about time to bid goodbye to these awesome moments we had on our first long bike trip. Feeling nostalgic to relive all those memories that we had during our bike trip.

Top Places to Visit when in Rajgir

 Vishwa Shanti stupa

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A golden Buddha inside Vishwa Shanti Stupa. Photography by Nitin Jaiswal

Venu Van

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Geese inside Venu Van. Photography by Tashreef Mohammed

 Son Bhandar Caves

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Son Bhandar caves. Photography by Prakash Ranjan

In the end, I just want to say that some trips are better unplanned. Just pack your backpacks and getaway. Like I did, It’s better to give yourself some time, space so that you can refresh yourself from the busy life of yours and the busy lifestyle. Go outdrive solo, enjoy nature, explore new places, meet new people, make new friends after all Bike trips are all about enjoying and making use of it. Sometimes solo rides are better but sometimes it’s better to go out with friends.

Happy Wayfaring 🙂

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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An automobile engineer by profession, Chandrakant Jaiswal is very passionate about bikes and cars but also loves adventure. He loves riding his Yamaha FZ 2010 model on a daily basis. He is currently based in Pune where he is studying and also dreams of owning a Lamborghini someday. Loves to eat, sleep, travel, make new friends and also blogging. He is interested in writing and also inspired by many authors. Chandrakant thinks of \writing a novel someday. He also happens to be working for Budgets Wayfarer as a travel blogger.

 


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