Ep 1 Places to visit Rajgir- Bihar, Wildlife safari , Glass Bridge, Jarasandh Akhada,

Ep 1 Places to visit Rajgir- Bihar, Wildlife safari , Glass Bridge, Jarasandh Akhada,

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Namaskar friends! Welcome to Visa2explore! This is your host, Harish Bali. We are in Bihar right now. We left Patna yesterday and reached Rajgir last night. We are starting our day with a wildlife safari in Rajgir. Gaya is about 60 KM from here.

We will spend the day doing sightseeing in Rajgir. First, let us visit the wildlife safari. Along with that, we'll also visit the Glass Bridge nearby. So, this is going to be a half-day-long affair. There is a large parking space here. Let's go and we'll show you all that we'll see.

The Nature Safari starts at 9 am. Safari batches leave after every one hour or so. We'll travel in this, that matador standing there. For the past 10 minutes, we've been sitting in the orientation room,... ...watching a very engaging documentary about what we'll see inside. We've now been called in to start our safari from here. Last batch of the day goes between 3 and 4 pm.

Welcome to the Rajgir Wildlife Safari. I, Subodh Kumar Verma, Safari Guide, will be with you on this journey. Tiger is the national animal of India.

70% of the world's tigers are found in India. Tigers are solitary animals. They prefer to live in the quiet. Today, you'll get to see a white female alone, named Swarna. See, there is Swarna. The black stripes on their bodies are unique to each individual tiger. These help us to count the number of tigers.

We could watch it closely. Let's go! These double gates are for added safety. When the outer gate opens, the inner gate is kept closed. If there was just one gate, the animals would run out. For this system, the vehicle needs to stop for an additional 30-40 seconds.

We can see the lion up front. Is it a lion or lioness? It is a lioness Sir. Alright. How do you identify it? A lion has a mane around his neck. With that we can identify it from afar Sir.

Right. See, it is a female. We have here three lionesses and two lions, total 5 members. Amazing!! Here is another lioness sitting. Her name is Srishti Sir. Srishti! Now look towards this side.

It is a male Sir. It has hair under its neck. It isn't an adult yet. A female becomes adult in 4 years while a male takes 5 years for that. They are yet to become adult.

So far, we've understood that the lions are inside a separate enclosure. Yes Sir. I mean in a separate area. Yes Sir. Lions are separated. So now, where are we going next?

To the leopard enclosure. Alright. This animal stays hidden and attacks suddenly. It can hunt a creature twice its body weight, carry it up a tree & then eat it. It hunts mostly at night while during the day, it prefers to lie low. It can jump really high.

In order to hunt, it can run at a speed of 65-70 KM per hour. So, it is easy for it to catch its prey. There is one good thing about a safari like this one.

While travelling through jungle, you face heat and dust. But that is not the case in this air-conditioned bus. I liked that one can sit comfortably while watching the wild animals.

Interesting! Nice! Now, the concept of wildlife safari began in the jungle. People used to visit jungles and then came the zoos in cities. Then a new concept has become popular in the past few years, in which... ...animals are kept inside huge enclosures for the people to watch. And people travel for safari either in a jeep or a closed matador like ours. See, this in front of us is the 'Neel Gai'. Sambar Deer Sir.

They usually shed their horns. Rajgir Wildlife Safari was a good experience for me. While coming here, we'd planned to go for safari, glass bridge and then lunch. But now, we'll have lunch first and then we'll come back to visit Glass Bridge. For lunch we are going to Veerayatan.

Veerayatan isn't far from here. We'll reach there in 10-12 minutes. Lunch timing of this place is between 12 and 1 pm. Right now the time is 12.30 pm. Come! The best thing about this place is the homely food.

And it is light on stomach. Chouli! That is enough! Great! Nice! Usually Dal is made with lots of tadka (tempering with spices) in it. This Dal has only a subtle fragrance of jeera (cumin seeds). And a little tomatoes and some salt. Delicious!

I am enjoying it. What I am enjoying here is a Saattvik (balanced) meal. Simplicity at its peak! Yummy! If I can manage to eat food like this twice in a day for at least a month... ..there is no doubt that I will be able to overcome my fluctuating weight loss. I will be able to shed at least 3-4 kilos within a month. This is what I feel eating this light on stomach food. We are going to finish this lunch in another 10-15 minutes.

Thereafter, we'll return to the same place where we were earlier today. Because we need to go there and visit the Glass Bridge. We will be at the Glass Bridge till 3 pm. After that.... ...we'll do local sightseeing in Rajgir till sun-down. This is our plan for the rest of the day.

I'd assumed that we would have to walk upto the Glass Bridge. But after reaching here, I saw there is a queue. And we've matadors taking groups of tourists to the bridge. We've travelled 8 KM in this matador, you can see it here.

On our way, I saw a lot of Abrak (Mica) spread out along both sides of the road. And this is due to the abundance of underground mica in this area. We bought a ticket for Rs 150 at main gate & now we'll purchase another Rs 150 ticket.

After this, we'll visit the Glass Bridge. I was talking to you about Abrak. See this. You will find it everywhere here. It shines in the dark.

Come! This is the way to Glass Bridge. Right now, there is a waiting line here. So, let us first go visit the Suspension Bridge. It is in this direction, hardly 200 m away.

After that, we'll return here to visit the Glass Bridge. How far is the Suspension Bridge from here? 5 minutes! What are you waiting here for? This road goes further? Yes, there is a recreational area further. How far is it? About 3 KM from here are activities like zipline, cycling, rifle shooting, .... ...archery, cafeteria, canteen, etc. All these activities are part of the Nature Camp.

You need to plan a whole day here to include all these activities. Because it took us almost 1.15 hours to reach here, because of a long queue. Then another half an hour to reach this point. Nevertheless, tourists must be coming to spend a whole day here? Yes! Right! Okay good! Let us go from here now. What we are seeing now is the view from atop the suspension bridge. It looks amazing from here. Look down there.

These are wooden planks. The first suspension bridge that I saw in my life was the one in Rishikesh. The two bridges there are called Laxman Jhoola and Ram Jhoola. After travelling across India, I have seen such bridges in Meghalaya & Himachal. And now, we are here at this suspension bridge in Rajgir, Bihar. This suspension bridge is relatively new. In fact, it must be just 2 to 2.5 years old.

The highlight is the hills that we can see in the distance. And on this side as well. This whole is a jungle area. Beautiful! Lovely! Among all the suspension bridges that I've seen so far in my life.... ...this one feels like moving the most. Even with just 2-4 persons walking on it, this bridge starts to sway like a swing.

By the way, standing here, it is a wonderful experience to enjoy the natural view. It is feeling good! Finally we've reached near the glass bridge. Look at these steps made of glass! Lovely! Oh wow! Amazing! What a feeling! Before coming here, I'd seen some videos of walking over a glass bridge. But to be honest, this visit is more exciting than what I saw in the videos.

Now look below the bridge. Below the bridge, you can see the mountain slope What a view! Beautiful! The main charm of this place, of course, is to walk on this glass surface. For me it is the first time to do so, I didn't get a chance before.

The second thing is that we get to see mountains all around us. Look at this hill, which is the closest. It looks amazing. Only 10-15 persons are allowed on this bridge at a time. So that there isn't too much weight on the glass bridge. There must be a time limit of 5-7 minutes for the tourists to enjoy here.

Wow! It is wonderful. There are some tourists already standing there. Once they'll leave, we will go there and look below the bridge. Oh God! The view till here was different but the view now is something else.

Here I feel that the height of this bridge has suddenly increased a lot. Actually we are able to look in all directions because of these glass panels. Amazing! What a view! Am really enjoying it. Seriously, this is a unique experience. Let us click some photographs for a few more minutes and then we'll return.

Sh. Nitish Kumar inaugurated this Nature Safari on March 26, 2021. We've reached outside now. We'll now get onto the bus and finish our return journey of 8 KM in 20-25 minutes. Then we will reach back where we've parked our car. We've reached the parking.

We have Sanjay Bhai with us. He works as a tour guide. We are going to spend the remaining day with him doing sightseeing in Rajgir. Our original plan was to join him around 2 pm but it is 4 pm now. So, we'll now prioritize our sightseeing because of the shortage of time. So, tell me one thing. For Ghoda Katora, we've been told there is a cut-off time.

Yes, it is 4.30 pm. So, 4.30 pm.... Last time. ...last time. You can't go after that. That seems impossible due to the paucity of time. So what should we do next? Where is the Cyclopean wall? Cyclopean Wall is in Rajgir only, just 4 KM from here.

It is nearby so let us do one thing, let us visit the Wall with you. And Jarasandh's Akhada (battle-ground). Sir! That is also in this area? It's in this area Sir.

Alright. So we will plan ahead as per the availability of time. Sure Sir. We've reached the Cyclopean Wall.

Right now, I am showing you this wall from atop a hill. I climbed atop the hill so that we could get a good view of the wall. And there also wouldn't be any noisy interference from the traffic on road. Cyclopean means 'Suraksha Deewar' (Security Wall) in Hindi language. This wall is made putting stone, or rocks, together in a pile.

Sanjay bhai told me that this wall is 45 KM long. This wall runs all around Rajgir. Now the most obvious question - Who built this wall and how? Because standing here, its visible that no binding agent like cement has been used. This wall was built during the Mahabharat era under the rule of Jarasandh. Shri Krishna and Jarasandh fought 16 times during this era. Jarasandh defeated him all 16 times.

This wall was built from the point of view of security. So that no one could attack Rajgir. One thing that I know for sure is that Shri Krishna killed Kansa. And Jarasandh was Kansa's father-in-law. Yes.

So, he used to fight with Shri Krishna to seek revenge for Kansa's killing. Yes Sir. That was the case, right? Yes, that is the story. This 45 KM circumference of the wall traverses five mountains.

These mountains are Vipulgiri, Ratnagiri, Udaygiri, Songiri and Vaibhavgiri. Rajgiri was a city surrounded by these five mountains. This used to be an abode of the kings. This is why it was called 'Rajgriha.' Just imagine how old this is! We are talking about an era older than the Mauryan dynasty and Bimbisaar.

Yes, absolutely. One thing that I've observed here is these parapets. What are these? These structures were made for soldiers to take rest and store their provisions. These are built all along this wall and are believed to have 64 small & 32 big doors.

Really! Yes! Presently, since you are a local and would know, how much of this wall is still intact? Not much of it is still intact. Alright. And wherever it is damaged, the concerned department keeps repairing it. At some places, the wall was damaged due to an earthquake.

Despite damages, the 45-KM circumference is visible across mountains. And the tourists visiting from all over India and abroad do come here for a selfie. You are right.

This wall would approximately be 7-8 feet in height? Its height is 8 feet. And its width is at least 10 feet. I would also like to go closer to the wall.

Absolutely, we'll go there Sir. You were talking about these nails shaped out of stones? Yes. Stones were put together with these gaps filled with stone-nails.

Yes, these gaps were filled with stone-nails. And these are different sized rocks put up one above the other. I mean we are talking about something built 5000 years ago.

Yes Sir. It is worth pondering how these huge rocks were brought here at that time. It is a huge achievement Sir! In order to observe the width of this wall, we've now climbed on to it. We are about 20 meters up right now.

Now, we can ascertain properly how wide this wall is. The soldiers used to be stationed carrying fire-torches all along this wall. To ward off any attack. This wall must've been used by other dynasties too after Jarasandh? Yes! Bimbisaar, who came after Jarasandh, used this wall too.

Then came Ajatshatru, who used this same wall too. Then came Udyan, who converted Pataliputra into his capital. Yes, the capital shifted there. Pataliputra means present-day Patna. Yes, Patna. There might be some difference in geography but overall it is Patna.

Yes! Okay great! We talked about Jarasandh a while ago. Yes. How far is Jarasandh's Akhada from here? Jarasandh's Akhada is 4-5 KM from here. Shall we go there? We'll go Sir.

Does a car go all the way till there? Yes, it does. Let's go. We've reached to visit Jarasandh's Akhada. Sanjay Bhai, there is no other tourists here right now. So, is it because not many people know of it or some other reason? This place is popular and a lot of tourists visit here. Actually it is 4 o'clock in the evening now.

Tourists who visited today have gone back by now. Most of them come in the afternoon. Yes, mostly they come during the day. Tourists definitely come to visit Jarasandh's Akhada.

Jarasandh had two daughters. Hasti and Prasti. Both were married to Kansa. And Lord Krishna had killed Kansa in a battle. Yes! That is why Jarasandh felt the need to take revenge from Shri Krishna.

Yes and he launched repeated attacks on Mathura, destroying the entire city. As a result, Shri Krishna had to shift his kingdom to Dwarka. You must be aware of this Sir. After that Krishna entered Rajgir along with the Pandavas, disguised as brahmins. I have a little idea of what happened next.

Jarasandh challenged Krishna to a duel. But Krishna asked him to choose anyone from among the five Pandavas. So, Jarasandh chose Bheem to duel with. Yes he did. This is where Bheem fought with Jarasandh. This is where Bheem and Jarasandh fought for 16 days straight.

As for the Akhada, Jarasandh was a very prominent king of his times. The Akhada would've been quite a large space at that time. Yes, it was a larger space but today, it has been enclosed by this boundary wall. Tourists usually come to see this soil, which used to be mixed with milk. This soil has thus become special. If a cow comes here to eat grass,...

...she would definitely lick this soil too because it contains the taste of milk. If you pick it up, you'll see it is slightly pale in colour. That is because it also has chandan (sandalwood) mixed into it. All the milk that came for Jarasandh....

Let me see it too. There is a lot of such soil ahead. You won't find any small stone or debris in it. It is absolutely pure.

Whoever comes here applies this soil to his forehead before leaving. That is the speciality of this soil. There is a lot more such soil here.

After that duel with Bheem, what happened next? First, there was a fierce duel with Bheem for 16 straight days. The whole Rajgir came out to watch that duel. Alright. Yes. At one point Jarasandh was winning and, at another point, it was Bheem. By sunset, the duel was paused, to be restarted the next morning.

Jarasandh had also aged by then. Bheem would tear Jarasandh limb to limb and throw pieces in separate directions. But Jarasandh possessed the special power that his separated limbs... ...could join back together and Jarasandh would stand anew to carry on the duel. As per my knowledge about the story further.... ...Jarasandh wasn't born out of a single mother's womb. Yes! Each half of his body was born out of two different mothers. Yes, you are absolutely right. That was the case.

Jarasandh's father didn't have a successor. So he visited a Brahmin and asked him who would carry on his legacy. The Brahmin gave him a fruit to give to his queen to eat. He had two queens.

So, he divided the fruit equally between both. Both gave birth to two infants. Then there was a demon who joined the two together. Both the half-born babies were thrown into the forest near Rajgir. A demon named 'Jara' passed by and saw the two babies thrown like that. She picked up both halves and joined them together.

The baby thus formed started crying. She took the baby back to his father then & the baby was named Jarasandh. That was the power because of which even after being torn into two,... ...Jarasandh was able to get back together. So, when the duel was happening, Shri Krishna signaled to Bheem... ...that he should throw the halves into different directions. Yes, different directions.

When thrown in different directions, the halves couldn't join together. That is the whole story. We have seen Mahabharat on T.V. years ago but now we've forgotten most of it. But here, we are visiting those locations where these incidents have taken place. Yes! What is there beyond this wall? This used to be a kind of sitting space for Jarasandh and his men.

Here he also used to bathe in milk. Can I go there? Yes, sure. You can also check this soil. This soil belongs to that time and the ASI has preserved it till date.

Still, a lot of soil was taken away by the locals too. Once the ASI was made aware of the situation, they prohibited the same. We've reached Sone Bhandar now. During the 3rd and 4th centuries, Jain Sage Vairav Dev Ji got a cave built here.

It is called 'Swarn Bhandar.' Because it is believed that there is hidden wealth here. Shall we go inside? Yes Sure! This is one cave and that is the other one. It is easy to say that these belong to 3rd or 4th centuries. But to come here in person and feel the atmosphere of these ancient monuments..

...observe the structures and imagine the way people lived all those centuries ago. Look at the scriptures of that time, like the one written here. This is a cave but before that, it must've been covered by mountain. This used to be the cave roof but it was destroyed during an earthquake. Alright! This was the main door to the cave, you can see.

Going further, you will see statues here. Okay. Show me. These statues were all destroyed by the invader Bakhtiyar Khilji. If you observe, you'll see most of the statues were attacked in the faces. Attacking the face destroys the beauty of the statue. Same is also true of the idols recovered from excavations.

These statues have been carved right on the cave walls. Yes. There is an echo inside. You can see a door up ahead. We went into the cave earlier. Since the sound was echoing inside, I've come out to tell you what I saw.

Sanjay Bhai told me that once, Britishers lodged a cannon here and shot inside. They were looking for the hidden wealth of gems, gold and silver inside. That is why, it is called 'Son Bhandar.' We saw a door inside.

It is like a cut into the cave wall. It is said that the Britishers wanted to break in from there & loot all the wealth. But even after cannon fire, that door didn't give in. Obviously, the Britishers failed to enter but what is the way to enter inside? Call it a legend or information shared by Sanjay Bhai...

...there is a lipi (script) called 'Shankh Lipi.' Shankh Lipi was taught at Nalanda University during ancient times. When invader Bakhtiyar Khilji attacked the University, he set the books to fire. With that, all the knowledge about Shankh Lipi was also destroyed. At present, nobody has the information about how to decode this Lipi. So, though he showed me scriptures in Shankh Lipi inside but....

...since even the ASI has no knowledge of it, nobody can decode the scriptures. Lot of tourists come here to see these scriptures and the cave door. We were able to see it comfortably despite the darkness inside. But if you'll come here around noon time, you will be able to see them even better.

Sanjay Bhai works as a guide and he is also passionate about tourism. Since he keeps travelling in and around Rajgir, sometimes he comes across.. ...locations about which nobody has any prior knowledge. Yes! Thereafter, he contacts and informs the ASI about the location.

Yes! Then the ASI steps in to conduct further research. Recently, we discovered a cave in Udaygiri mountain, which was unknown to tourists. When we went inside that cave, we found it to be 70-feet deep. Once the top ASI officials stepped in, the news became viral on social media. Really? Yes! You did a great job there! Yes Sir! Main thing is that if you are passionate about your job, you give better output. This effort of mine will continue Sir.

Very good! Sanjay Bhai, we had a good time with you, though not much, just 2-3 hours only. Thank you very much for that. I will share his details in the video description. You can get in touch with him whenever you come to Rajgir. I don't feel like letting you go from here Sir.

I think you should stay at my home for a day at least. Really! You can cook some local dish for us then. Absolutely Sir.

You know I am always interested in eating local food. Okay Sanjay Bhai. Thank you very much! Alright. Let us go out. We will drop you at the parking, where your vehicle is parked. Yes! After that, we'll say bye-bye to you! Okay, Sir! Welcome, Sir! I wanted to visit Brahma Kund before ending today's journey. We will go straight from here. We've reached near the Brahma Kund.

Here, we met Pandit Ji, who offered to accompany us on this visit. Is this temple closed? This is Laxmi-Narayan Temple Sir. Vishnu & Laxmi. So, is it closed or not? It closes for the day at 7 pm. 7 pm.

Yes! It opens at 4 am and then closes at 12 pm. Then it opens again from 4 pm till 7 pm. This is the main temple of this pilgrimage. Vishnu & Laxmi.

Pilgrims come to take bath in the Brahma Kund. Yes Sir. When do the first pilgrims come in the morning? It opens at 4 am. Rajgir has 22 Kunds, 52 water bodies & 32 temples Sir.

And this is the main Kund among those. Where do we enter frIt is fromthere Sir.om? It is from there Sir.

This is the hottest natural water spring here. This is known by the name of Agastya Rishi. Agastya Muni Rishi. Agastya Muni Rishi. All seven rishis are inside it.

It is their prayers that are keeping this water hot even today This place is known as 'Sapta Dhara' (7 waterfalls). Because there were 7 falls here, out of which two have gone extinct. For a long time, there have been only 5 Dharas here. It is a common practice to take a bath here first and then in the Brahma Kund.

The pilgrims starts arriving here at 4 am. Yes Sir. So, till what time at night? Till 9 or 10 pm after which the Brahma Kund is closed. Till 10 pm! This is basically a hot water spring. This water has healing properties, especially with regard to skin problems. I've seen these in many places across India.

We will try to come tomorrow morning for a bath here. It seems a little difficult right now. There are a lot of people taking bath right now. Yes Sir. Where is this water going? This water goes out Sir.

The spring that you saw falling down while climbing the stairs is the Dhara. It is used for other purposes as well. Alright. Today's episode ends here.

In the evening, I had mentioned a few places which we could not visit today. Because we didn't have enough time. In fact, there are many destinations that we could've visited on this trip. That has made me realise if you want to visit Rajgir properly....

...and understand its history properly, you need at least 3 days here. Right! So keeping that in mind, I think I'll have to visit Rajgir once again. That is a trip I'll plan in the future. I will plan a trip to Rajgir and Gaya again. Because though we are going to spend more than a day in Gaya, ...

...but Gaya also needs more time. May be 2-3 more days. Before ending this episode, let me tell you we're leaving for Gaya tomorrow morning. From Rajgir, it takes two hours to reach Gaya. You will see our tomorrow's journey to Gaya in the next episode.

I will now say bye-bye to you. Thanks for your time!

2023-02-23 23:39

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