Venue: Rajgir, Bihar
Highlights: Classical and Folk Dances and Music
Rajgir, earlier known as 'Rajgriha', was the capital of Magadhan Empire in ancient times. Surrounded by seven hills, the place is mesmeric and forwards a tranquil atmosphere. Its association with both Lord Buddha and Lord Mahavira makes it an important destination for Buddhists as well as the Jains. Apart from symbolic significance, Rajgir attracts thousands of tourists and visitors every year in the month of October, thanks to the Rajgir Dance Festival. A colorful festival dedicated to dance and music, Rajgir Mahotsav or Dance Festival is held by the Department of Tourism, Bihar in the month of October. The festival embarks the whole town of Rajgir in the tunes of dance and music for three days. It presents a complete combination of instrumental music, divine songs, opera, folk dance and ballet etc. All the activities during the festival are performed by the geniuses in their respective areas.
Rajgir - A Symbolic Place
A multicolored festival, Rajgir Dance Festival is held at Rajgir, the antique capital of the Magadha kings. It is the land where Buddha meditated and preached. Rajgir is also far-famed for its connection with Shishunaga kings, Bimbisara and Ajatashatru. History says that Ajatashatru kept his father Bimbsara in imprisonment in this place. Ajatashatru is also accredited with shifting his capital to Pataliputra, which is modern Patna. Buddha not only spent many years in Rajgir but also delivered sermons here and proselytized emperor Bimbisara at the Griddhakoota hill. The Jivekarmavan monastery was the favorite residence for Buddha. Even Bimbisara gave Venuvan Vihar to Buddha for his residence. It is said that it was at Rajgir that Jivak, a physician, treated Buddha after the latter was injured by his cousin Devdatta. The teachings of Buddha were penned down at Rajgir and it was also the venue for the first Buddhist Council. Lord Mahavira is also said to have spent fourteen years of his life at Rajgir and Nalanda, spending chaturmas at a single place in Rajgir and the rest in the places in the vicinity. It was then the capital of his favorite shishya King Shrenik. Thus, Rajgir is a very important religious place for Jains also.
Types Of Dances
An important and popular dance festival, Rajgir Mahotsav showcases an extravagant fiesta of dance and music. Such is the power of the creative energies that the place turns blissful and absolutely idyllic during the time of the festival. What is interesting to note is that the festival forwards an assorted bag of delight, wherein while devotional music strikes a chord with the religious you, there is instrumental music that comes in unison with the spiritual you. Additionally, you can also take pleasure in with the opera styled music. Furthermore, different forms of classical dance, folk dance and ballet are sure to leave you enchanted and mesmerized. For the true lovers of Indian classical dance and music, Rajgir Dance Festival is just the place to be.
Spread Of The Festival
The festival constitutes of different performances by eminent singers and dancers from all over India. During the Rajgir Dance Festival, famous people perform on the stage to enchant the spectators with their talent. The festival has been forwarding a spectacular presentation of the culture of India since several years. People from all over India and also outside come to enjoy this ethnical fete in Rajgir. This dance festival provides immense scope and encourages upcoming singers and dancers, keeping the ethnic bequest of India integral. The holiness of this place is competently applauded by the public presentation of such esteemed performers, who, in their humbleness, feel beatified by the land of the holy. Some of the well known performers of his festival are Sonal Man Singh, Hema Malini, Sanyukta Panigrahi, Nalini-Kamalini, Swapna Sundari, Shovna Narayan, Madhukar Anand, Madhumita Roy, Amita Dutta, Mukund Nayak, Madhavi Mudgal, Leela Samson and Anand Shankar.
Rajgir Tourist Attractions
At Rajgir, in addition to enjoying the cultural extravaganza of the festival, you can also take pleasure in various tourist sites that have great historical significance at this ancient capital of Magadha. Jarashandka Akhara is the Ranbhumi where Bhima and defeated Jarasandh in one of their duels. Though there is no historic evidence of the same, the local people believe in the fact. Next, you can visit Jivakameavan Gardens, which comprises of the seat of the Royal Physician's dispensary where Lord Buddha was once brought to have his wound dressed by Jivaka, the royal physician during the reign of Ajatshatru and Bimbisara. Ajatshatru Fort is another important tourist destination, built by Ajatshatru (6th century B.C.), the king of Magadha during the Buddha's time. The 6.5 sq. meter Ajatshatru's Stupa is also believed to have been built by him. You can also explore Venu Vana is the site of the monastery Venuvana Vihar built by king Bimbisara for Lord Buddha to reside. This was the king's first offering to Lord Buddha. Other sites are Shanti Stupa, Cyclopean Wall, Sonbhandar Caves, Jain Temples, Pippala Caves and so on.
How To Reach
By Air: The nearest airport is at Patna 101 kms. Indian Airlines connect Patna to Calcutta, Bombay, Delhi, Ranchi and Lucknow.
By Rail: Though Rajgir itself has a railway station yet the nearest convenient railhead is at Gaya 78 kms.
By Road: Rajgir is connected by road to Patna - 110 kms, Nalanda - 12 kms, Gaya - 78 kms, Pawapuri - 38 kms, Bihar Sharif - 25 kms etc. Regular buses are available from all the above points to Rajgir.