The Rajgir Mahotsav (Festival), which was earlier known as Rajgir Nritaya (Dance) Mahotsav, was stated in 1986 in Rajgir. The then Chief Minister of Bihar, Bindeshwari Dubey had inaugurated the festival in Swarna Bhadar area (Rajgir) on April 4, 1986 in the presence of the then Union Tourism Minister H K L Bhagat and other dignitaries.
The Tourism Department sponsored festival continued till 1989. It was not held for the subsequent four years before getting revived in 1994. Since then, it is an annual event in the calendar of Bihar Tourism Department. With a change in venue and the added color and development of the new tourist spots in the last few years, the festival has became a favorite event for domestic as well as foreign tourists. With the development of tourist spots, including Ghora Katora Dam, Pandu Pokhara etc., and the renovation of various pilgrim centers in and around Rajgir during last few years, the festival is now organised at a more accessible Qila Maidan in the backdrop of Ratnagiri hills. Various sporting activities like tonga race, martial arts competition, mehendi contest, mahila utsav, food plaza, gramshree mela etc. have been introduced beside organizing performance by artists of national and international repute. Noted artists like Hema Malini, Sonal Mansingh, Birju Maharaj, Bhupen Hazarika, Ghulam Ali, Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia, Talat Aziz etc. have already performed during Rajgir Mahotsav earlier.