Sandwiched between Gaya and Patna, Jehanabad was carved out of Gaya district in 1986 to promote development in the region.


Although not as famous as the tourist spots of Bodh Gaya or Nalanda, the Barabar and Nagarjuni caves, and the neighbouring Kauwa Dol are some of the most spectacular monuments in Bihar.

Barabar Caves

Built in the 3rd century CE during the Mauryan emperor Ashoka’s reign, the Barabar caves are the oldest surviving rock-cut caves in India. The inscriptions in the cave mention that the king had the caves built for the monks of the Ajivika sect.

Ancient carvings on rocks at Kauwa Dol
Ancient carvings on rocks at Kauwa Dol
Syed Saad Ahmed

The Barabar caves are located on a hill, at the top of which is the Siddheshwar Nath temple at an elevation of 1,050 ft. While ascending the hill, there are three caves – Sudama, Lomas Rishi and Karna Chaupar – located next to the concrete path, the fourth involving a slight detour towards the right. There are footsteps etched in rock, which guide you to the fourth cave.

Carved entirely out of granite, most caves have a rectangular chamber with a semi-cylindrical ceiling adjoining a circular domed room. The finely polished inner surface of the chamber converts even the slightest sound into a heavy echo. It is conjectured that the cave was so designed to aid monks during their religious chants.

Uphill, there is a lake, Anand Sarovar, beyond which there are steps which lead to an ancient Shiva temple, probably built in the seventh century. Along the way, you can see many sculptures engraved in the rock. At the summit, while there is an older structure with a few statues of Shiva-Parvati, a newly built temple next to it is more popular with Shiva devotees. The panoramic view from the peak is quite beautiful.

There is a tourist rest house and information centre at the entrance of the complex as well as a museum. A small cafeteria and a few stalls serve basic snacks and aerated drinks.

A view of the 3rd-century Barabar caves
A view of the 3rd-century Barabar caves
Syed Saad Ahmed

Nagarjuni Caves

Located 2 km away from the Barabar hills, the three caves at Nagarjuni – Gopi, Vadithi ka Kubha and Vapiya ka Kubha were built around 232 BCE by Dasharatha, Ashoka’s son, according to an inscription in the Gopi cave.

Kauwa Dol

While only a few kilometres away from Barabar hills, the back-breaking dirt tracks make the journey to Kauwa Dol, near Kurisarai village, a painful half-hour-long expedition.

There is a very interesting legend behind this mountain where you can find rock-hewn sculptures dating to the period between AD 800 to 1200. It is said that there is a bubble-shaped hollow inside the boulder at the top of the mountain, which makes it sway even when a crow sits on it. Hence the name Kauwa Dol (kauwa – crow, dol – sway).

Around the mountain, there are sculptures of Shiva, Nandi, Mahishasur, Varahavatar and Ganesha among others. One of the grandest sculptures at Kauwa Dol is that of a seated Buddha, at the foot of the mountain. There are also remains of the mandap (pillared structure) of a temple.


Hotel Raj Darbar on the Patna Gaya Road (Cell: 09852675818; Tariff: ₹ 800-1,500) has en-suite rooms.

When to go October to March Location At the confluence of the rivers Dhardha and Yamuna, with Patna in the north, Gaya to the south, Nalanda to the east and Arwal to the west Air Nearest airport: Gaya Rail Nearest rail: Jehanabad.


Tourist Offices

Directorate of Tourism

Frazer Road, Patna

Tel: 0612-2332042,

Tollfree: 1800 3456112



Beer Chand Patel Path, Patna

Tel: 0612-2225411, 2506219



Tourist Information Centre

Bihar Tourism, Gaya

Tel: 0631-2200672, Cell: 09471006727

STD code 06114



Shershah Vihar

Faizalganj, Sasaram

Tel: 06184-221267

STD code 06184



Kaimur Vihar, NH2, Mohania

Tel: 06187-222822

STD code 06187


Tourist Information Centre

Railway Station, Raxaul

STD code 06252


Tourist Information Centre

Railway Station, Muzaffarpur

Cell: 07631347248

STD code 06272