Research Paper

Giriyaka Hilltop Buddhist Monastic Complex (Rajgir): Understanding Antiquarian Remains and Physical Spaces


Year: 2021, Volume: 12, Page/Article: 1, DOI:

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The paper deals with the study of the hilltop Buddhist complex known as Giriyaka at Rājgir, Nālandā district of Bihar, India. This site was first noticed by the archaeologists of the colonial period. A M Broadley, Francis Buchanan, Malcom Kittoe, Alexander Cunningham, etc., surveyed and explored the site to identify Buddhist monastic artefacts and remains. The archaeological landscape of Giriyaka offers multi phases linear development of Buddhism since the NBPW period. Cunningham articulates it as Indasāla-guhā where the Buddha preached the Sakkapaňňa Sutta but it was vehemently opposed by Broadley and others. The archaeological remains include well-preserved stūpas, water reservoir, monasteries, and seals. The close examination of remains at Giriyaka provides new facets into antiquity, development, and continuity of Buddhism from the age of the Buddha to the early medieval period. An enigmatic structure located on a steep hill protected by parapet corresponds to a glimpse of a well-developed sacred space of stūpas and vihāras. The caves in the surrounding hills show interesting but intricate information. The structural remains also indicate that the Giriyaka was the first fully evolved hilltop monastery in the Magadha region.