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Bodh Gaya

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"Buddha, Mahabodhi Tree and the land of Nirvana"

Bodh Gaya Tourism

Bodh Gaya is a Buddhist pilgrimage site in Gaya District of Bihar. Famous for the Mahabodhi Temple, It was here under the Bodhi tree that Gautama Buddha attained enlightenment.

It is now one of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites, and a lot of foreign countries, including Japan and China, have helped the Indian government in building facilities for the Buddhist pilgrims. The place is bustling with pilgrims all through the year from India and abroad who come to pay their homage in monasteries, temples and remnants of Bodhi Tree.

Located near the river Neranjana, Bodh Gaya was earlier known as Uruwela. It was also known as Sambodhi, Vajrasana or Mahabodhi until the 18th century CE. It is one of the four important Buddhist sites that include: Kushinagar, Lumbini and Sarnath.

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The City of Enlightenment

Situated on the banks of river Neranjana, Bodh is a holy city in the state of Bihar. A UNESCO World Heritage Site today, Bodh was the place where Lord Buddha attained enlightenment and earned the name Bodhisattva. Thus, the small town is believed to be the most sacred place for Buddhists. Formerly known as Sambodhi, the city still holds evidence of Ashoka's contribution to commemorate Buddha's enlightenment and preach Buddhism. The small city holds several mysteries which leaves even historians mesmerised.

History of Bodh Gaya

Anciently known as Uruwela, Bodhgaya was situated on the banks of river Nerajana, now known as river Lilajan. King Ashoka is believed to have built the first temple on the land. As per theory, Buddha was born in 563 BC in a land which now belongs to Nepal, on the auspicious night of Baisakhi Purnima. Born as the son of a king, Prince Siddhartha renounced his world possessions at the age of 29 and travelled far and wide in search of the eternal truth. After observing self-mortification for 6 years, he did not attain Vimukthi so he gave up the practice. He then discovered the Eightfold path which freed him from lust, hatred and delusion and thus attained enlightenment or “Buddhatva”. The tree under which he gained enlightenment is the renowned Bodhi tree. He gained numerous followers in the days to follow and the village turned into a pilgrimage centre. Emperor Ashoka himself was one of his biggest disciples and he built the famous Mahabodhi temple. The sacred village gained momentum around the 13th century and plenty of shrines and temples were built. But soon after the area fell into the hands of the brutal Turkish emperors and they ransacked the city. The British rule later restored the city to its pure sacred form. At present, the city is one of the most important Buddhist pilgrim sites and is declared as world heritage site by UNESCO.

Restaurants and Local Food in Bodh Gaya

Bodhgaya, being a religious centre does not offer a lot of options when it comes to non-vegetarian food or alcohol. However the town sustains quiet a variety from Tibetan dishes, Italian dishes including pastas and pizzas, Thai cuisine, Korean cuisine to traditional Bihari Cuisine.
Gaya is also famous for its sweets and is the place of origination for a number of the same. The main sweets here are Enursa, Tilkut, Khaja, Lai and Kesariya peda all of which are exclusive to Bihar. Other Bihari dishes like Sattu ka roti, Litti-chokha, Pua, Marua ka roti, Chana Bhuja, Aaloo Kachalu etc. are also easily available here.
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Suggested Itinerary

A visit to Bodhgaya is all about faith and religion. While the small town has got a lot of temples and places of worship, we have put down the few popular ones in the itinerary for you.

Day 1: You can start your trip by visiting the famous Thai Monastery followed by the world heritage site of Mahabodhi Temple, which is the root of an entire religion. Inside the temple is also located the holy shrine of Cankamana which have the imprints of Buddha’s footprints on stone lotus leaves. Post this, you can go witness the renowned Bodhi Tree under which Lord Buddha attained enlightenment. End the day by going to Vishnu Temple famed for having the footprints of Lord Vishnu.

Day 2: Begin the next day by going to Indosan Nippon Japanese Temple. Dedicate the next few hours to awe at the glorious magnificent statue of Buddha. There are plenty of guides available in the vicinity to answer your queries. Spend a quiet evening next to Muchalinda Lake.

In case, you are planning to stay another day and are in the mood for a rough trek, you can visit Dungeswari Hills. You can also choose from a number of temples to pay homage to- Chinese temple, Mangla Gauri temple, Sujatha temple etc.

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FAQs on Bodh Gaya

Who should visit Bodh gaya?

Bodh, commonly known as Bodhgaya, is one of the most sacred Buddhist pilgrimage centres in the world. Apart from pilgrims, Bodhgaya is a major attraction for historians, anthropologists and linguists.

What is the best way to reach Bodh gaya?

The nearest airport is at Gaya (17 km) with regular flights to and from multiple cities. Gaya also has the nearest railway station which is accessible by bus or three-wheel taxis. Regular bus service is also available from Varanasi, Nalanda, Rajgir and Kathmandu. Journey by car can be very rough, and it is advisable to avoid the Gaya Market area.
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How much does a package cost for Bodh gaya?

The packages for Bodh gaya start at INR 7251 which can be further customized based on number of people, days, hotel category, vehicle type and customizations. You can have a look at all packages here

What are the things to do in Bodh gaya?

The top things to do in Bodh gaya are Mahabodhi Temple, Great Buddha Statue, Tibetan Refugee Market, Bodhi Tree, Bodh Gaya, Thai Monastery, Mahabodhi Temple Complex Book store. You can see all the places to visit in Bodh gaya here

What is the local food in Bodh gaya?

Bodhgaya, being a religious centre does not offer a lot of options when it comes to non-vegetarian food or alcohol. However the town sustains quiet a variety from Tibetan dishes, Italian dishes including pastas and pizzas, Thai cuisine, Korean cuisine to traditional Bihari Cuisine.
Gaya is also famous for its sweets and is the place of origination for a number of the same. The main sweets here are Enursa, Tilkut, Khaja, Lai and Kesariya peda all of which are exclusive to Bihar. Other Bihari dishes like Sattu ka roti, Litti-chokha, Pua, Marua ka roti, Chana Bhuja, Aaloo Kachalu etc. are also easily available here.
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What is not so good about Bodh gaya?

Extremely hot in summers. Not many non-vegetarian eateries available. Travelling at night might be risky.

What are the places near Bodh gaya?

The top places near to Bodh gaya are Nalanda which is 67 km from Bodh gaya, Rajgir which is located 57 km from Bodh gaya, Varanasi which is located 214 km from Bodh gaya, Patna which is located 102 km from Bodh gaya, Vaishali which is located 145 km from Bodh gaya

What is famous about Bodh gaya?

Peaceful environment. Culturally and spiritually rich.

What is the best time to visit Bodh gaya?

October to March is ideal for a visit according to the weather conditions, but tourists flock here throughout the year. Post-October, a lot of monks, flock from Dharamshala to Bodh Gaya and the city is coloured with maroon robes. Dalai Lama himself spends some time here during December and January. Visitors also flock here in the month of Vaisakh (April-May) to celebrate the Buddha Purnima, the auspicious day when Siddhartha had attained enlightenment.
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Ask a Question

Ask a question from the travellers who have experience.

Q. I want to spend some time meditating in some Buddhist monastery in Bodh Gaya. How do I go about it?

Shashwat Kant 2 years ago
The Tibetan Monastery in Bodh Gaya is a lovely place to be. They host meditation classes, and also have a huge meditation room. You can also spend your time near the Bodhi Tree or the Mahabodhi Temple for a serene experience.

Bodh Gaya Reviews

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Shashank Aditya 6 months ago
A trip to Bodh Gaya is extremely famous for its Buddhist ideologies and enlightenment stories. BUDDHA AND BUDDHISM WAS BORN HERE The famous places to visit are Bodhi tree, Mahabodhi temple, Thai monastery, Brahmayoni temple and Cankamana. One meets his inner self here and experiences peace in Buddhist tour India.
Sachin kumar 8 months ago
A very peaceful place for meditation
Brahmani Keni 2 years ago
A trip to Bodh Gaya can be clubbed with a trip to West Bengal. Bodh Gaya is extremely famous for its Buddhist ideologies and enlightenment stories. BUDDHA AND BUDDHISM WAS BORN HERE The famous places to visit are Bodhi tree, Mahabodhi temple, Thai monastery, Brahmayoni temple and Cankamana. One meets his inner self here and experiences peace.
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