Pilgrimage Tour
Pilgrimage Tour

Bodhgaya - Buddhist Pilgrimage Sites in Bihar

Bodh Gaya is one of the most sacred Buddhist sites in Bihar. It was at Bodhgaya, where a young ascetic, Siddhartha Gautama in his search of the reality of life, meditated under a peepal tree, attained enlightenment and became the Buddha or the Tathagata. Today, Bodh Gaya, a home to MahaBodhi temple, MahaBodhi tree and numerous monasteries, is a venerated place among the Buddhists from all the corners of the world, who visit the place to mark the enlightenment of the Buddha.

For a pilgrim visiting Bodhgaya, it is not only an immense feeling to pray and feel the inner peace at Mahabodhi Temple, but it is also a great opportunity and experience for travellers to go around Bodh Gaya and visit the different monasteries built by the countries of Japan, China, Bhutan, Thailand, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, Myanmar and Nepal. There are monasteries built by the Sikkimese and the Tibetan too. Each monastery has been built in a particular way so that it reflects the diverse Buddhist cultures of these regions and also their different architectural styles.

Location of Bodhgaya

At a distance of 16km from Gaya, this highly revered pilgrimage is in Bihar, India.

How to Reach Bodhgaya

  • By Air – Gaya located at a distance of 12km is the nearest airport to reach Bodhgaya. Gaya owns an international airport, which connects it directly to Colombo and Bangkok. Located at a distance of 130km, Patna airport is another airport, which is well connected to Mumbai, Delhi, Ranchi, Lucknow and Kolkata.
  • By Train – Gaya is the nearest railway station, which is a major railhead and there are trains to Gaya from many destination of India.
  • By Road – Bodhgaya is well connected by road to most of the cities of Bihar. Bihar State Road Transport Corporation has bus service to Gaya, Patna, Nalanda and Rajgir. Private buses and taxis are also easily available.

Accommodation at Bodhgaya

Being widely known for its magnificent temples and places of worship, many religious travellers visit this city. Thus, various hotel offers facilities and services keeping the comfort and requirement of the budget travellers. Bihar State Tourism Development Corporation runs three hotels- Siddhartha Vihar, Buddha Vihar and Sujata Vihar. There is hotel Bodh Gaya Ashok run by Indian Tourism Development Corporation and there are several other private hotels in the town. The availability of multiple budget hotels in Bodh Gaya has made it easier and convenient for travellers to extend their stay without worrying about their budget.

What/Where to Eat in Bodh Gaya

Bodhgaya offers a wide variety of food items, one can find both vegetarian and non-vegetarian cuisine here. Since Gaya attracts many international tourists as well there are restaurants that serve international cuisines like Chinese, Thai, Tibetan, Japanese and many more.  Om restaurant is quiet a popular restaurant in Bodhgaya that serves variety of cuisines. There is no dearth of eating out options in Bodh Gaya. Keep your eyes open for roadside stalls.

Buddhist Attractions in Bodhgaya

  • Maha Bodhi Tree – A descendent of the original Bodhi tree under which the Buddha achieved enlightenment.  The Maha Bodhi tree is venerated by the Buddhist from all around the world. Under the 80feet high and 115 years old Maha Bodhi tree lies a red sandstone slab known as Vajrasana on which the Buddha sat and mediated.
  • Chankramana Chaitya – the chankramana chaitya or the jewel walk is a raised platform where the Buddha walked up and down in meditation during the third week following enlightenment.
  • Lotus Tank: the lotus tank is a pond inside the Maha Bodhi temple complex, where the Lord Buddha used to take a bath.
  • Ratnagraha Chaitya – the Ratnagraha Chaitya denotes the place where the Lord Buddha spent his fourth week in basic contemplation. It is believed that while the Buddha meditated red, blue, yellow, orange and white rays emerged from his body.
  • Shaivaite Monastery – adjacent to the Maha Bodhi temple, lies the Shivaite Monastery, which further consist of four temples and several samadhis. It was at this place where Adi Shankracharya, the religious head of the Hindus in the medieval period had a heated discussion with the Buddhists. 
  • Great Buddha Statue – this 25m high statue towers above a pleasant garden at the end of Temple St. The impressive monument was unveiled by the Dalai Lama in 1989 and is surrounded by 10 smaller sculptures of Buddha’s disciples. The statue is partially hollow and is said to contain some 20,000 bronze Buddhas. The statue is now a symbol of the holy place Bodhgaya.
  • Archaeological Museum – The Bodh Gaya archaeological museum, a home to ancient artifacts, reflects the ancient art and architecture based upon the Buddha and Buddhism. The museum houses a large Buddhist sculpture collection belonging to the period between 1st century BCE to 11th century CE.

When to Visit Bodhgaya

The best time is between October and March, when the weather’s at its best. January and February, in particular, are a good time to visit Bodh Gaya.

Bothgaya was earlier known as Uruwela. It was also known as Sambodhi, Vajrasana or Mahabodhi until 18th century A.D. A trip to Bodhgaya provides valuable insights into the culture of Indian religious philosophies and also showcases some architectural masterpieces that would leave one spellbound.

Other Tourist Places in Bodhgaya

Bodh Gaya has lots of places to see, visit and enjoy. These are ancient structures, temples, monasteries, museums, historical trees among others. Barabar Caves are the major attraction near the holy place of Bodh Gaya.

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