Early morning proceed to visit the historical towns of Nalanda & Rajgir. Have lunch at Rajgir. Proceed to Patna after lunch. Overnight at Patna. PATNA ASHOKA.
NALANDA : Nalanda, where ruins of the great ancient university have been excavated, is situated at a distance of 90 km. south east of Patna by road. It falls on way to Rajgir. It is also linked by rail with Patna, Rajgir and Bakhtiyarpur (on Delhi-Howrah main track).
Hieun Tsang, the renowned Chinese traveller of the seventh century, says that according to tradition the place owed its name to a Naga of the same name which resided in a local tank. But he thinks it more probable that Lord Buddha, in one of his previous births as Bodhisatwa, became a king with his capital at this place and that his liberality won for him and his capital the name Nalanda or "Charity without intermission". The third theory about the name of the place is that it derived from Nalam plus da. Nalam means lotus which is a symbol for knowledge and Da means given the place had many lotuses.
Nalanda has a very ancient history. It was frequently visited by Lord Vardhamana Mahavir and Lord Buddha in the 6th century BC. during his sajourns, the Lord Buddha found this place prosperous, swelling, teeming with population and containing mango-groves. It is also supposed to be the birth place of Sariputra, one of the Chief disciple of the Lord Buddha.
RAJGIR : The Buddha lived in the sixth century BC. Mahavir was born in 567 BC and the traveller in Bihar will encounter them both constantly. Rajgir is 10km south of Nalanda and sacred to the memory of the founder of both Buddhism and Jainism. Lord Buddha spent many months of retreat during the rainy season here, and used to meditate and preach on Griddhkuta, the 'Hill of the Vultures'. Lord Mahavir spent fourteen years of his life at Rajgir and Nalanda. It was in Rajgriha that Lord Buddha delivered some of his famous sermons and converted king Bimbisara of the Magasha Kingdom and countless others to his creed. Once a great city, Rajgir is just a village today, but vestiges of a legendary and historical past remain, like the cyclopean wall that encircles the town and the marks engraved in rock that local folklore ascribes to Lord Krishna's chariot. This legend, like many others associates Rajgir to that distant time when the stirring events recorded in the epic Mahabharata were being enacted. Rajgir is located in a verdant valley surrounded by rocky hills.
An aerial ropeway provides the link with a hill-top stupa "Peace Pagoda" built by the Japanese. On one of the hills in the cave of Saptparni, was held the first Buddhist Council. The Saptparni cave is also the source of the Rajgir Hot Water Springs that have curative properties and are sacred to the Hindus.
Patna, the capital city of Bihar, is a historical city, which has like Delhi, experienced the trauma and pain of being conquered. The heritage of Patna or Pataliputra as it was known, goes back to two millennia. This city was the seat of administration for many rulers and each of them ascended with a new name for their capital.
Kusumpura became Pushpapura, Patliputra, Azeemabad and now Patna. Pataliputra was the capital of Magadha, a kingdom, which dominated and influenced the politics of India for a long time. Located on the banks where rivers Sone and Ganga merge, this city has witnessed the rules of Chanakya, Chandragupta, Ashoka and the Nanda rulers