Peace Pagoda – Vishwa Shanti Stupa !
After the world war II ended in 1945, well known Japanese Buddhist monk Fuji Guruji resolved to start a movement for world peace by setting up "Vishwa Shanti Stupas" or world peace pagodas in different parts if the world. He visited India, again in 1956, on the occasion of the 2500th anniversary celebration of the "Mahaparinirvana" of Lord Buddha at the invitation of the then Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru.
Guruji also agreed to function as a member of the Rajgir Development Committee formed by the government of India with Nehru himself as the chairman. Subsequently, Guruji initiated his plans for the desired development of Rajgir with a view to reviving its ancient glory. For the purpose, the Ragir Buddha Vihar Society was founded by Guruji in 1964.
It was under the auspices of the Rajgir Vihar Society that the Vishwa Shanti Stupa was erected on the top of the Ratnagiri hill at Rajgir with generous financial assistance from Guruji.
The actual construction work of stupa was started in 1965. The then President of India, S Radhakrishnan, performed its foundation – laying ceremony on March 5, 1965, in the presence of Fuji Guruji. The construction of the 160 ft high pagoda was completed in about 4 years' time and was inaugurated by the then president, V V Giri, on October 25, 1969.
Lord Buddha liked the peak of Griddhakuta hill at Rajgir very much. He sat here and delivered his message of peace to the world and expounded "Saddharma Pundarika Sutra" of Mahayana Sutra, which is the most important Sutra of whatever he has expounded. It is behind this peak, on the top of the Ratnagiri hill, that the peace pagoda stands.
The peace pagoda's anniversary is celebrated on October 25. There is an aerial ropeway, managed by Bihar State Tourism Development Corporation, to reach the hilltop. Also, the Bihar government organizes a "Rajgir Mahotsava" or " Rajgir Festival" from October 24 to 26 every year.