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Indasala Cave: Where Sakka came to ask the Buddha his eight questions

This remote and beautiful cave is the place where the Buddha delivered one of his most profound discourses, the Sakkapanha Sutta. He also uttered verses 206, 207 and 208 of the Dhammapada while staying here. Followers of Tibetan Buddhism will be interested to know that Buddhasrijnana, the famous commentator on the Guhyasamaja Tantra also once lived in this cave. The Indasala Cave is at the base of a sheer cliff halfway up the side of Giriyek Mountain. To get there take the Giriyek road from Rajgir which runs along the north side of the mountain. This road ends at the dam. The road was recently repaired and is in fairly good condition. From there you will have to walk around the end of the mountain and follow its south face toward the east for about 1.5 kilometres.

There are two other things of interest in this area. At the end of the mountain you will notice a flight of stairs leading to a cave where an old swami lives. He doesn't speak English but he is a mellow old fellow and friendly to visitors. Further up on the very top of the mountain is the Hansa Stupa, the most complete still existing in India. It is a difficult climb through the thorn bushes but offers a fine view. Hiuen Tsiang visited this stupa and recorded the interesting story behind its construction. A lucid translation of the Sakkaphana Sutta can be found in Walshe's The Long Discourses of the Buddha. Because a lot of walking and climbing is involved in getting there, a visit to the Indasala Cave should be considered a half day's trip from Rajgir. Be out of the area well before dark.

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