For the dinner, I bought a Marwari thali for Rs 100, which offered unlimited chapatis and multiple gravies. While the thali filled me to the brim, it also made me sleepy. The restaurant was in a guest house and I negotiated a room there for Rs 300 to spend the night.
Since my priority had been Nalanda and I had also arrived late, I couldn’t visit any other place in Rajgir that day. Next day, I had to leave for Patna and catch my train in the evening at 6:00 pm. Since I also wanted to visit the famous Takht Harmandir Sahib ji in Patna, I would have to leave Rajgir early. Therefore, I decided to wake up early next day to visit Rajgir’s most famous spot, the Vishwa Shanti Stupa. I could finish that in the morning and then leave for Patna early. With all this planning going on in my head, I slipped into a slumber.
Next day, I woke up early at 6:00 and walked to the bus stand by 6:45 pm. From there, I hired a tum tum for a return ride to Vishwa Shanti Stupa. Now, when it comes to these tum tum drivers, you will have to negotiate hard as they will try to overcharge. Nothing better if you are in a group, but if you are alone, wait for a tum tum that has some riders. Since I was too early and in a hurry, I could only bring him down to Rs 250.
The Shanti stupa is around 5 km away from Rajgir and there is a big gateway to mark its location, which one sees while coming from Gaya. You can either get down from the bus there or come back in a tum tum as I had done. There are many other historical and tourist spots on the way to stupa such as Bimbisara’s prison, Ajatashatru’s fort as well as a small lake called ‘ghora katora’. For travelers short of time, these can be given a miss.
Built by the Buddha Sangha of Japan, Vishwa Shanti Stupa is perched atop 400 meters tall Ratnagiri hill. Buddha is supposed to have frequented this hill for three months to preach many of his disciples. There is a trolley service available to take tourists up but I preferred hiking up to the top. The climb isn’t very difficult and took about 25 minutes.