Day 20 October 22nd 2014
Bodhgaya India and Rajgir, India
We left Bodhgaya today for a day trip to Rajgir. It was the ancient capital city of the Magadha kings until the 5th century BC. One of the kings was a great admirer of the Buddha. The journey from Bodhgaya to Rajgir takes 2 and half hours one way so most of the day was spent in the car watching people, animals and places pass by; quit fun in this country! As we left the hotel, there were dozens of children waiting at the gate of the hotel all waiting for us to come out to give them money 😦
When in Rajgir we stopped at the bamboo monetary. Here we heard Metteyya give a Dharma talk about the location. Following that we had lunch and was held hostage by monkeys wanting our food. Luckily we got away full and in one piece.
The second location we went to in Rajgir was vulture’s peak which is the point on top of one of the mountains in Rajgir where Buddha would meditate. To get to the top, we took a gondola which was a single seater. It was so much fun being on it, saying hello to people coming down. The journey up was also quite relaxing as there was a lovely breeze in the air. The thought of this being in India and the odds of the gondola being in some kind of disrepair crossed my mind once or twice but the group all got to the top alive.
We took a short hike from the gondola to Vultures Peak, on the way seeing some caves where Buddha and other venerables would have meditated. At the top you could see Rajgir’s peace pagoda and the vast landscape which is home to Rajgir. We walked down the mountain after making mini stupas (Dave and I decided we would make an Inuksuk instead). On the way we were unfortunately harassed by beggars (children and women mainly) which was quit sad but just a fact of life here in India. Best not to promote begging as schools are free for children here and a lot of the time parents force their children out of school to be beggars as they will bring money into the household that way.
During the ride home I asked Rockey what “all good/ its cool” would be in Hindi. “Teeka teeka” is what you would say when you’re trying to convey that message. Going to make Madhan and Raj laugh when I get back to the office by using this phrase 🙂
Off to Varanasi tomorrow for the final two days of the trip. Cannot believe it’s coming to an end.