Vulture Peak: One of Buddha’s favorite meditation places

Bihar has numerous ancient monuments, famous pilgrimage sites and natural scenic beauty. The popular destinations include Gaya, Nalanda, Vaishali, Rajgir and many more to the list. Despite the rich heritage and culture of the state, it has remained an underrated tourist destination in India itself. Bihar has plenty of unexplored destinations to offer which are filled with awe-inspiring places for the visitors. One of the top attraction is the Vulture peak, located in Rajgir.

It is also known as the Holy Eagle Peak which is a popular destination for Buddhist pilgrimage. In the local language Vulture Peak is known as Griddhakuta. The peak is located about 5 kilometers south-east of the town of Rajgir and is a favorable spot for both local tourists and Buddhist pilgrims. It is basically a sightseeing location perched at an altitude of 400 meter.

Vulture Peak is just 2-3 kilometers away from Rajgir bus stand. One can reach the location by  private or public buses or personal vehicle. The local transportation of the area is horse driven tanga which makes the destination even more exciting.

Vulture Peak is considered to be the second “holiest” place of Buddhism, after the Maha Bodhi  Temple because this is the place where the Buddha spent so much time on retreat, meditating, and teaching so many discourses. 

One would wonder why the place has such a unique name. Well the reason is that it resembles a sitting vulture with its wings folded. In Buddhist mythology, it is said to be the place where Lord Buddha resided for many years and it was his favorite retreat in Rajgir. The parent range of the mountain is the Rajgir hills.

The views from the top are spectacular and magnificent. The peak offers a brilliant 360 degree view of the entire surrounding and can be an interesting destination for people interested in photography. Best time to visit the place is in winter season that includes the months of October to march as summers can have scorching heat.

The rock shelters around the mountain has a beautiful view across the valley. Its peaceful environment makes it the perfect place for meditation.

On climbing a  little further on the mountain, the pilgrim can see the ruins of stupas and the foundations of a small temple built on the summit in ancient times. On further climbing the steps which are formed by cutting rocks that leads to two caves which are naturally occurred. For those who find the trip physically challenging, chairlift facilities are available to reach the hilltop which makes the tour more thrilling.

The mountain is where Lord Buddha used to sit and preach. It is worth giving a visit if one is in Rajgir. The way to it is very simple. One can go to the Vishwa Shanti Stupa by rope ways and then walk down a bit to take a diverted route to the mountain. It is said that one of the oldest rope ways operates here.

Several restaurants and tea stall functions at the base of the hill for the convenience of the tourists.

Earlier, when one would get the idea of tourism, it was accompanied by the question of expenses. Also, the choice of destination was limited as people mostly traveled for work, pilgrimage and treatments. There was only a handful of people who traveled for new experience. The new generation also travel for experience and to learn about themselves , but they desire  to have an unusual and challenging trip than just simply going for shopping and staying in hotels. In the recent times the idea of exploring new places is gaining a lot of popularity especially among the youth. They look forward to trips as opportunities to learn and grow. It gives one the chance to be truly engaged in an activity, to develop new skills and learn new cultures. Travelling bring us closer to ourselves and others.

Vulture peak is an incredible place to visit with friends and family to enjoy and to discover the truth of life with some amazing views of hills along with some of the unknown caves that would mark the tourist’s day a quite adventurous one by walking on to the top of the peak.

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Quote of the day: “Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, 
concentrate the mind on the present moment.” 
― Gautam Buddha

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