Close view of rocks in the Rajgir Valley
Photographer: Caddy, Alexander E.
Medium: Photographic print
Photograph of rocks in the Rajgir Valley, taken by Alexander E. Caddy in 1895.
The area around Rajgir is composed of rugged hills, and small rock shelters like this one are commonplace. Buddha utlised shelters like this for residential purposes for short periods of time. Rajgir played an important role in the Buddha's life as the political climate here was favourable towards non-Brahmanical sects like Buddhism. At that time known as Rajagriha, the city was the ancient capital of the kingdom of Magadha. The rulers of the Magadha dynasty at the time of the Buddha were Bimbisara and Ajatashatru (circa 543-459 BC), and it has been claimed the latter was a Buddhist convert. After the Buddha's death Ajatashatru provided accommodation for the first Buddhist council at another cave in the hinterland of Rajgir.