Rajgiri’s famous Gridhakuta Hills is visited by a group of Japanese Buddhists in March. They come every year to clean the road leading to the hilltop. Belonging to the Homando monastery of Fukoaka prefecture in Japan, the group is led by the monastery’s head priest, Yamashita.
Gridhakuta Hill (Vulture Peak) beckons Buddhists because Gautam Buddha, after attaining enlightenment, is believed to have meditated and given sermons to his followers on this hilltop. It was three years back that the group consisting of a dozen men and women first undertook the cleaning exercise.
It has since become a regular affair with the Buddhists from Japan flying to Bihar every year for the purpose. This year, it was a 16-strong contingent that worked tirelessly for eight to nine hours to clean the one-km road and the surrounding bushes. And it is not part of any religious ritual. Plastic bags, empty bottles and other disposable items are thrown on the hill and road by the visitors. Owners of the makeshift shops along the road also dump their garbage on the road.