Swarna Bhandar / Son Bhandar
At a distance of 5 km from Rajgir Railway Station, Swarna Bhandar or Sonabhandar Caves are two artificial caves situated in Rajgir, Bihar. Situated near Maniyar Math, it is one of the famous places to visit in Rajgir as part of Bihar Tour Packages.
Situated on the southern slopes of the Vaibhavgiri Hills, Swarna Bhandar are two identical caverns belong to Jainism. An inscription in the rock at the entrance of the cave in Gupta characters of the 4th century CE mentions the construction of the cellar by a Jain Muni ('wise man') named Vairadeva, although some authors have suggested the caves could actually go back to the period of the Maurya empire from 319 to 180 BCE.
It is believed that the ancient caves of Son Bhandar, literally means treasure of gold, is home to a hidden gold treasure belong to King Bimbisara and is often called the Bimbisara Bhandar. Legend has it that there is a crazy amount of gold hidden inside the walls of the caves. Also, on one wall of the cave, you will notice a doorway-like structure and next to it there is some unreadable inscription. People say that it is a kind of 'secret word', and whoever manages to read it will open the doorway to the passage. To date, no one has managed to decode the inscription.
Sonabhandar Caves feature black stone statues of the first four Jain Tirthankaras and Lord Buddha. The main cave is rectangular with a pointed ceiling, and the entrance is trapezoidal, reminiscent of the structure of the Barabar Caves, the first artificial caves of India, dated the 3rd century BCE. The chambers of this cave are beautifully polished, which adds to the beauty and uniqueness. Moreover, the entire construction of the cave resembles that of Mauryan rock-cut structures. The second cave, adjacent to the main cave, is largely destroyed, but it has some beautiful Jain reliefs.
Timings: 9 AM - 5 PM
Entry: Free, Rs. 50 for Guide