Vulture Peak from above
|Elevation||717.5 m (2,354 ft)|
Griddhraj Parvat (Hindi: गृद्घराज पर्वत which means "the hill of vultures") (also called Gridhra-kuta Hill), known locally as Giddhaila Pahar, and known in English as Vulture Peak), is a hill of religious, archeological and ecological importance.
It is situated near Devrajnagar village in the tehsil of Ramnagar, in the district of Satna and the state of Madhya Pradesh, in India. It is located 65 km south of Satna and 8 km from Ramnagar town. Its latitude and longitude are 24°18' North and 81°15' East. The altitude of the hill is 717.5 metres (2,354 ft). The hill is situated between the Kaimur Range to the north and the Maikal Hills to the south.
Habitat of vultures
Griddhraj Parvat is a unique habitat for vultures not only in India but the world. Vultures numbering thousands can be seen in the crevices of the hill rocks. The vulture species seen here are the Indian vulture (Gyps indicus) and the White-rumped vulture (Gyps bengalensis). It is also the habitat of number of other wild animals.
In Hindu mythology
Griddhraj Parvat is of great religious importance in Hindu mythology. It has been mentioned in Skanda Purana as "Griddhanchal Parvat" (page 208). It is believed to be the birthplace of Sampati, the brother of Griddhraj Jatayu mentioned in Ramayana. The poet Kalidas mentions this place as the most sacred in his book "Griddharaj Mahatmya" (Narad Uvach) in the Sanskrit language. He wrote that a dip in the Mānasī Ganga River originating from Griddhraj Parvat, at an altitude of 2354 feet, is a saviour of all kinds of sins. The sons of Brahma and the goddess Parvati first saw this hill. It is mentioned in Shiva Samhita (Chapter 19-Bhoogol varnan).
Mention by Fa-hien
The Chinese Buddhist pilgrim, Fa-hien, probably visited a different Buddhist holy place with the same name (possibly Vulture Peak in Rajgir). He notes visiting Gridhra-kuta Hill in Chapter XXIX of his travelogue, "A Record of Buddhist Kingdoms":
- "Entering the valley, and keeping along the mountains on the south-east, after ascending fifteen le, (the travellers) came to mount Gridhra-kuta. Three le before you reach the top, there is a cavern in the rocks, facing the south, in which the Buddha sat in meditation. Thirty paces to the north-west there is another, where Ananda was sitting in meditation, when the deva Mara Pisuna, having assumed the form of a large vulture, took his place in front of the cavern, and frightened the disciple. Then the Buddha, by his mysterious, supernatural power, made a cleft in the rock, introduced his hand, and stroked Ananda's shoulder, so that his fear immediately died. The footprints of the bird and the cleft for (the Buddha's) hand are still there, and hence comes the name of "The Hill of the Vulture Cavern."
In Buddhist Literature
Vulture Peak Mountain is, by tradition, one of several sites frequented by the Buddha and his community of disciples for both training and retreat. Its location is frequently mentioned in the Buddhist sutras both in the Theravada Pali Canon and in the Mahayana sutras, as the place where the Buddha gave a particular sermon. Among the latter are the Heart Sutra, the Lotus Sutra and the Suramgamasamadhi sutra, as well as many other Prajnaparamita Sutras.
It is explicitly mentioned in the Lotus Sutra in Chapter 16 as the Buddha's "Pure Land":
And when the living have become faithful,
Honest and upright and gentle,
And wholeheartedly want to see the Buddha,
Even at the cost of their own lives,
Then, together with the assembly of monks
I appear on Holy Eagle Peak. ...
Such are my divine powers.
Throughout countless eons,
I have always lived on Holy Eagle Peak
And in various other places.
When the living witness the end of an eon,
When everything is consumed in a great fire,
This land of mine remains safe and tranquil,
Always filled with human and heavenly beings.
- "The Sona Sutta: About Sona". Retrieved 2012-02-12.
- "The Daruka-Khanda Sutta: The Woodpile". Retrieved 2012-02-12.
- Reeves, Gene (2008). The Lotus Sutra: A Contemporary Translation of a Buddhist Classic. Wisdom Publications. pp. 296–297. ISBN 0-86171-571-3. compare with the Vakkali Sutta of the Pali Canon
- Jitan Singh Diwan, Kothi State, 1907: Rewa Rajya Darpan
- Kalidas : Griddharaj Mahatmya (Narad Uvach)
- Shiva Samhita (Chapter 19-Bhoogol varnan)
- JAMES LEGGE: A RECORD OF BUDDHISTIC KINGDOMS, Being an Account by the Chinese Monk Fa-Hien of his Travels in India and Ceylon (A.D. 399-414) in Search of the Buddhist Books of Discipline