Sone Bhandar, Rajgir, Bihar

Sonbhandar Caves (Rajgir, Bihar)

The great jain sage Vairadeva ji got the two caves constructed in 3rd or 4th century A.D. These caves were meant for meditation. According to legend these caves were King Bimbisars treasury. Hence these are also known as ‘Swarn Bhandar”. The eastern cave was two storeyed high and the statue of jain arhats were installed in the cave. A fine image of Vishnu riding on Garuda belonging to the Gupta period was found in the cave which has been kept in Nalanda Archeological Museum.

Source: Forest and Environment Department, Bihar

Laxmi Narayan Upadhyay – a local guide upon our arrival at Sonbhandar caves further enhanced our knowledge.

– Sone means Surang (tunnel) and the length of the tunnel is 3 miles.
– At hot water springs after climbng 565 steps there is Saptparni cave and Pipli Cave. It is said Sonbhandar caves is connected with them but both side tunnel entrance is closed.
– Those days the King of this area was Bimbisar. Ajatshatru (son) killed Bimbisar by prisoning him. Bimbisar wife Kaushalya after his husband’s death donated all her wealth to Jain Muni Gautam Swami. As he was a sadhu and do not require wealth, he kept all the wealth inside this tunnel and closed it with a huge rock and wrote few mantras in Shankh lipi. Whoever able to read the mantra will be able to open the rock to enter inside the tunnel. When Englishmen ruled India they tried to break the tunnel entrance via cannon (तोप) but unable to succeed and that is why you can see a black mark at the entrance rock.
– Shankh Lipi was taught in Nalanda University but Bakhtiyar Khilji burn all the three libraries at Nalanda University to ashes. He also destroyed idols present at Sonbhandar cave walls.
– Aadinath, Parshvanath idols were recoverd from these cave holes. Due to security it is kept in Nalanda Museum.
– Few pillars outside the cave and a verandah and a two storyed Jain temple was destroyed in 1934 earthquake.
– Rajgir was earlier known as Grih Braj.

Wonderful narration. Thank you – said I with donations. Knowledge enhanced for sure.