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Rajgir is an important site in the life of the Buddha. It was here he converted King Bimbisara to Buddhism and the king gave him the Veluvana Bamboo Grove for the Buddha's rainy retreat. This was the first property turned over to the Buddhist sangha. It was also here that Jivakamrava Monastery was built in a mangrove grove, the first Buddhist monastery. But the most important site for Zen Buddhists is Vultures Peak on Gridhrakuta Hill, a few kilometers south of the town of Rajgir.
The easiest approach is via a chairlift that takes you to the top of Gridhrakuta Hill, where there is Japanese-built Peace Stupa and small temple. From there, one descends about 100 meters or so and there is a paved pathway on the left which leads to Vultures Peak. A small shrine and two caves identify the peak. It was here that the Buddha delivered the Prajnaparamita Sutra and the Lotus Sutra and where, according to Zen legend, he twirled the flower and gave transmission to Mahakasyapa. Just below the peak are two caves, labeled by locals as Sariputra's Cave and Ananda's Cave. A paved pathway and steps makes for an easy descent.
Closer to town, on the southern edge, a number of distinctive pink buildings can be seen. This is the location of hot springs where the Buddha often enjoyed bathing. A Hindu temple now marks the spot and the complex is known as Lakshmi Narayan and is popular with the locals. A long stone staircase will take you to the top of the hill. Part way up the hill is Pippala Stone House which Pali texts claim was the residence of Mahakasyapa. At the top of the hill there is a Hindu temple and the ruins of Jain monastery. On the right, there is a stone pathway that descends 20 meters or so where there are two caves, one of which is called Saptaparni Cave. This is supposedly the site of the First Buddhist Council.
The gold that you see on these various caves is placed there by pilgrims.
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