Bodh Gaya , the hub of Buddhism is located in the Indian state of
Bihar. This place is revered all across th globe because it is here, where
Lord Buddha attained enlightenment. The sacred Bodhi tree is also located
here, which is the witness of Buddha's incarnation as Lord Buddha. Bodh Gaya
is the most important of the four main pilgrimage sites related to the life
of Gautam Buddha. The other three sites are : Kushinagar, Lumbini and
Sarnath. The place also has the famous Mahabodhi Temple, which has been
designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The sight of this temple turns
miraculous at the time of sunset, when numerous clay lamps are lit around
the temple premises. The number of outbound tourists surpasses the number of
inbound tourists here. It is probably the simplicity of Buddhist religion
and the serenity of the place that brings people to this land in huge
Gautam Buddha is said to be the father of Buddhism religion. Major events
of his life occurred in Bihar. The world known mantra of "Buddhham
Sharanam Gachhammi" floats in the air of Bodh Gaya and offers a peace
of mind, body and soul.
- The Bodhi tree (Asvatta tree ) is located in the Mahabodhi temple
in Bodh Gaya. Under this very tree, Gautam Buddha meditated and finally
attained enlightenment. A sapling of the original tree was brought by
Emperor Ashoka's daughter to Sri Lanka. A cutting of the tree was planted in
Bodh Gaya, when the original tree died away. A red sand stone slab is found
under the Bodhi tree, famously called as Vajrasana ( the diamond throne)
where Buddha sat and attained Nirvana. The tree is 80 feet in height and is
about 115 years old.
- 250 years after Gautam Buddha
attained enlightenment, the Mauryan king Ashoka visited Bodh Gaya and got
built the Mahabodhi Temple. However the original Mahabodhi temple had to be
reconstructed and renovated. This was done during the Kushan period in the
1st century. With the passage of time the temple was abandoned and forgotten
and got buried under the soil. It was later that Alexander Cunningham as a
part of his archaeological work restored the temple.
It houses a large, glided black stone image of the Buddha in the
Bhumisparshamudra ( earth touching posture). The Mahabodhi Temple is very
sacred for the Hindus because Lord Buddha is the ninth incarnation of Lord
- Many countries having strong faith on
Buddhism like Thailand, Vietnam, Japan and Sri Lanka have built temples and
monasteries in Bodh Gaya. Each temple has its own distinctive architectural
styles and form of worship. A traveller by visiting thiese monasteries can
have great information of the various schools of architecture.
- Phalgu river flows in bodh Gaya.
There lies a small shrine dedicated to Sujata, the tribal woman who offered
kheer to the starving Siddharatha.
- The Buddha spent the sixth week after enlightenment at this pond
on the southern side of the temple.
Bodh Gaya Museum
- This museum is run by the
Archaeological Survey of India. It is located near the Mahabodhi temple. It
displays antiquities excavated in and around Bodh Gaya. It has a large
collection of Buddhist and Hindu relics, terracotta seals, scriptures and
railings/pillars from the Sunga period (1 BC to 1 AD). It is open from 9 am
to 4.30 pm, closed on Fridays, and there is an entry fee of Rs 2.
October to March is the most favourable time to visit Bodh Gaya. During
this time the whole of the city is flooded with both inbound and outbound
tourists. For all those who are keen to see his holiness Dalai Lama, who
presides over the Kalachakra festival here, can visit Bodh Gaya. Bodh Gaya
is not a great shopping hub. There are certain roadside stalls that sells
curios and trinkets. The seasonal Tibetan market is very good for all those
who are looking forward to buying woolen garments. The government -
authorised handicraft stores sell thangkas, dried peepul leaves, peepul-bead
rosaries for meditation and lotus- bead malas from Mongolia.
How To Reach
Bodh Gaya does not have an airport of its
own. However there is an airport in Gaya., which is 17 km away from Bodh
Gaya. Major airlines from important cities of India touch Patna, which is
135 km from Bodh Gaya.
The nearest railway station to Bodh Gaya is
Gaya. Trains from all major cities of India halt at Gaya. A new train by the
Indian Railways called as Buddha Parikrama has been introduced. It caters to
Buddhist spiritual tour by linking all the places associated with Buddha and
Bodhgaya is the main bus stop and is located
near Sujata Bridge on the Falgu River on the north eastern edge of the town.
There are regular direct bus services from Gaya, Patna, Nalanda, Rajgir,
Varanasi. Bihar State Tourism Development Corporation run buses from Patna-
Bodhgaya route twice a day.