India is a land with a rich history and some untold and explained stories. We rank among best travel destinations in the world. People from all over the world come to India and explore its beauty. But there are still some destinations that are hidden and less explored. As we follow the theme of “Let’s explore unexplored India”, so today also I am up with a story that place which is hidden somewhere in the list of tourist destinations in India. Sonbhandar, the hidden gem in the small town Rajgir in the state of Bihar.
Sonbhandar Caves Location
Rajgir is a small town in Bihar state which is situated in Nalanda district, is very important in many ways. This city was the capital of Magadha in ancient times. Also, Lord Buddha gave the sermon to Emperor Bimbisar of Magadha. Rajgir is especially famous for its monuments associated with Lord Buddha. One such monument is Sonbhandar caves.
Sonbhadar means ‘a store of Gold. ‘ It is said that which there is a hidden treasure in it and no one is able to find it till date. This treasure is said to be of the Maurya ruler Bimbisar, although some people also say that it is of the former Magadha emperor Jarasangha.
About Sonbhandar Caves
Sonbhandar caves basically is a set of two artificial cave structures located in the foothills on the Vaibhar Hills, dating back to 3rd or 4th century BC.
The people believe that King Bimbisara used these caves to hide his treasure. But then Bimbisar was put in jail by his son Ajatshatru and then his wife by Bimbisar’s order hid the state’s treasure in this cave.
So what is so mysterious about this Sonbhandar cave? Well, it is believed that in the ancient times, this was the home to the gold treasures. People also say that it has a crazy amount of gold hidden inside the walls of the caves. It is said that there is a passage inside the cave leading to the treasure, but no one could find it ever.
Also, there are written inscription here which probably has the keys to reaching this treasure. As per an inscription written in Gupta language/characters on a rock at the entrance, these caves were constructed by a Jain muni, meaning ‘wise man’, named Vairadeva, which makes them structures belonging from 4th century BC. Moreover, a sculpture of Lord Vishnu found here has confirmed its relation with Jainism.
The inscription on the rock, when translated, reads as follow:
“Muni Vairadeva, the jewel among the acaryas and of great luster, caused to be made the two auspicious caves which are worthy of ascetics and in which were placed the images of arhats ( Tirthankaras).”
Inside Sonbhandar Caves
When you enter into the Sonbhandar cave you will see a room 10. 4 meters long, 5 2 meters wide and 1. 5 meters in height. This room was for the soldiers who guarded the treasure. This room opens to the treasure room from the back door. But the gate of this path is closed by a very large stone due to which No one has opened this door till today.
Once the Britishers tried to break this rock and open the door with a canon, but they could not break it. The marks of the cannon attack are still present on the rock.
Well, apart from the mysterious rock and locked door the inside walls of caves are well polished and have some beautiful inscriptions which add beauty to this hidden gem. And the best thing about these caves is that Sonbhandar Caves are few last surviving cut rock caves in India.
How To Reach Sonbhandar Caves
There are non-metered autos, taxis, and regular bus services are offered by BSRTC from all parts of Rajgir to Sonbhandar Caves.