Situated 90 km from Jaipur, in the picturesque Aravallis, Bairath was once the capital of the Matasya king Virat, dating back to the time of the Mahabharata. The Pandavas spent a year of their exile here, and Bhim killed Keechak in Virat. The Chinese traveler Fa-Hieun Tsang mentioned Bairat as a great seat of Buddhist pilgrimage. The fact is corroborated by two rock edicts found at Bhimsen Doongari and Bairath(commonly known as the Bhabra inscription and kept in custody at the Kolkata museum). These edicts are from the 84,000 rock edicts and pillar inscription said to have been engraved during the period of Emperor Ashoka to propagate the teachings of the Buddha.

Another rock edict from the same period was found at Bhimsen Doongari with an inscription that marks it as the 26th, indicating that there were at least 255 others at Bairath monastery. This inscription is protected and available for viewing at Viratnagar.

Ashoka commissioned stupas and built a monastery on Beejak hill. Silver coin of Greek and Indo- Greek origin found here prove that Viratnagar was a flourishing community during and before the Mauryan age and continued to be so until the 8th century AD. The remnants of circular stupas are situated on top of the hill and a stone path cut out of the rocks leads to it. There are also the living quarters of the monastery and rock cut caves. Chunar stone has been used to build the stupa. The diameter of the stupa is approximately 27 feet. An upper platform was created by cutting rocks. There are cave dwellings cuts into a hill that are large and were probably used as assembly halls.

The Gandharva Retreat, Near Sariska National Park, Village Maluthana,Alwar, Rajasthan

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