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 Bodhgaya (Bihar)

Introduction: Bodhgaya is a city in Gaya district in the Indian state of Bihar. It is famous for being the place of Buddha's attainment of Enlightenment.

History: According to Buddhist traditions, circa 500 BC Prince Gautama Siddhartha, wandering as a monk, reached the sylvan banks of Falgu River, near the city of Gaya. There he sat in meditation under a bodhi tree (Ficus religiosa). After three days and three nights of meditation, Siddhartha attained enlightenment and insight, and the answers that he had sought. He then spent seven weeks at seven different spots in the vicinity, meditating and considering his experience. After seven weeks, he travelled to Sarnath, where he began teaching Buddhism. The history of Bodh Gaya is documented by many inscriptions and pilgrimage accounts. Foremost among these are the accounts of the Chinese pilgrims Fahian in the 5th century and Xuanzang in the 7th century. The area was the heart of a Buddhist civilization for centuries, until it was conquered by Turkish armies in the 13th century.

Bodhgaya Quick facts

  • Bodhgaya Geography and Climate

    Gaya is located at a distance of 105 km from Patna in the state of Bihar. Buddha Gaya is located 7 miles south of Gaya and is one of the well visited Buddhist pilgrimage centres of the Indian subcontinent. 
    The climate of Bodhgaya is tropical. Winters here are extremely pleasant.

  • Best time to visit Bodhgaya

    October-February is ideal period to pack your bags for Bodhgaya.

  • Bodhgaya Orientation

    On the road from the Gaya Railway Station to Bodh Gaya (30 mins by taxi, approx Rs 300; 40 mins by auto, approx Rs 150), one immediately knows when the congested streets of Gaya are left behind and ' when a scenic countryside spreads on either side of the road, with the Phalgu River on the left. This town in rural Bihar has received considerable funding from abroad, especially from the Japanese Government, which is why it is surprisingly well developed in terms of infrastructure. The main road is the Bodh Gaya Road, which is the one leading from Gaya into the town itself. All the main sites are located around this and almost everything is within easy walking distance from the main temple complex, the hub of the town. Cars are available on hire for a daily charge of Rs 300 (8 hrs). The other modes of transport are cycle rickshaws and autorickshaws; the maximum fare to any of the sites should not exceed Rs 60. Bicycles are also available on hire in many guest houses.

  • Bodhgaya Near Getaways

    The Mohanta's Monastery, located right next to the Mahabodhi Temple, is a Shaivite monastery. It is said that Adi Sankaracharya spent days here in a heated debate with buddhist philosophers. 
    At the Tibetan Mahayana Monastery, (1938) there is a large Dharma Chakra, or wheel of law. It is believed that you will be freed of sin if you spin this wheel three times in succession from left to right. It is a 10m high metal drum painted gold and red. Buddha bathed in the nearby Niranjana (now called Lilanja) River after attaining enlightenment. The Niranjana River is about 250m east of the temple. Prince Siddhartha crossed this river to reach the Bodhi tree.

  • Bodhgaya Distance(s)

    • 485 km NW of Kolkata,
    • 117 km S of Patna,
    • 14 km SW of Gaya

    Distance from Bodhgaya to
    Click on link For a list of distances from Bodhgaya to various cities .

  • How to reach Bodhgaya by Road

    Bihar State Road Transport Corporation( BSRTC) runs bus services to Bodhgaya from Patna, Nalanda and Rajgir. Private bus services and taxis are also available. Bodhgaya is at a distance of 74 kms from Rajgir, another popular Buddhist pilgrimage destination. The Rajgir-Bodhgaya state highway is one of the good roads of Bihar.

  • How to reach Bodhgaya by Rail

    Gaya is the nearest railway station at a distance of some 13 kms from Bodhgaya. Express train services are available to Gaya from Delhi, Kolkata, Varanasi, Puri and Patna. As Gaya is on the main Delhi-Kolkata line, most trains operating between the metros also halt at Gaya. Local trains also operate between Gaya and other local destinations of Bihar.

  • How to reach Bodhgaya by Air

    To reach Bodhgaya, one can travel by air to Gaya airport located at a short distance of 12 kms. Recently upgraded to international standards, there are direct flights to this airport from Kolkata and Bangkok. There are plans to introduce direct services from New Delhi in the near future. Plans to connect Bodhgaya with Colombo, Singapore and a few other destinations of South East Asia are also in the pipeline. Taxis and buses are readily available at the airport to transport tourists to Bodh Gaya.

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    Bodhgaya Festivals and culture

  • Bodhgaya Festivals

    The Buddha Jayanti festival in May, celebrates the appearance day of Buddha, the day he got enlightenment, and the day he left his body. It is the biggest festival day here.

  • Bodhgaya Culture

    Buddhists don't pray to a Creator God, but they do have devotional meditation practices which could be compared to praying. Radiating loving-kindness to all living beings is a practice which is believed to benefit those beings. The sharing of merit is a practice where one dedicates the goodness of one's life to the benefit of all living beings as well as praying for a particular person.

  • Bodhgaya Religious Places

    Mahabodhi Temple
    : The Mahabodhi Temple is located at the place of Lord Buddha's enlightenment. The temple has a 50m (170 ft) tower. The present temple was restored around 1880. There have been several other temples on this site. A previous temple was destroyed by the Muslims in the 11th century. Parts of the intricately carved railings to the south and west of the temple are very old. Some of the railings are original and parts of the railings are reproductions.

    Vishnupad Temple: Round the year people flock to Vishnupad temple built by Rani Ahilyabai of Indore in the eighteenth century. The spot on which it stands is associated with the famous mythological event of Lord Vishnu killing the demon Gaya and leaving his footprints on the rocks. These footprints are main objects of worship in the temple. Some consider this footmark to be that of Lord Buddha himself.

  • Bodhgaya Monuments


    Pyramidal Temple--An Architectural Splendour: Just adjacent to the Mahabodhi tree is the truncated pyramid temple soaring to a height of 170 feet, dating back to the second century A.D. which ranks it among the oldest existing examples of sculpture and architecture. A flight of steps leads to the inner courtyard. Right in the centre here, stands the great temple, perhaps the oldest and the most venerable of all Buddhist shrines. Various kings, queens, patrons and visitors repaired, renovated and added to the already existing structure till the twelfth century.

    : The Bodhi tree here is said to be a descendant of the tree under which Buddha attained enlightenment. A sapling of the original bodhi tree that the Buddha sat under was carried by Emperor Ashoka's daughter (Sanghamitta) to Sri Lanka. That tree is at Anuradhapura in Sri Lanka. A cutting from that tree was planted in Buddha Gaya when the original tree died. Under the tree is a red sandstone slab that is said to be the Vajrasana, the diamond throne, that Buddha sat on and attained nirvana. The tree is located behind the temple and is about 80 feet high and about 115 years old.
     Vajrasana, It is the seat of stability,where  Buddha  was supposed to have sat in meditation gazing east, under the Bodhi Tree. 

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    Bodhgaya Entertainment and Night Life

  • Bodhgaya Nightlife

    As it is pilgrim  centre, we may not find places likes pubs and  bars here.

  • Kidding around Bodhgaya

    Rajgir is near the site of Gridhakuta (Vulture's Peak), where the Buddha stayed and gave teachings on the Mahayana (the second turning of the wheel), and Venuvaina, the first Buddhist monastery. The area around Rajgir is also known for its hot springs, which are open to the public. Nalanda was a Buddhist university established in 450CE, and was the longest running university in Indian history. Among its many notable guests were the Buddha and Mahavira, and at its zenith it  accommodated over 10,000 students and over 2,000 faculty.

  • Bodhgaya Shopping

    When you shop at Bodhgaya definitely ask for Metal statues of Buddha. Watching Metal statues of Buddha can be a very soothing experience. A Metal statue of Buddha is not only a great work of art but it can also be kept as collector's item as well. And also Sandalwood statue of Buddha in which the most popular is the Amitabha Buddha or the meditating posture.There is also the "full lotus' or Padmasana posture (Buddha sitting on a pedestal with legs crossed). Abhay Mudra (here Buddha is seen raising his right hand to expel fear). Reclining Position is another popular posture. Dhyani (Buddha has both his hands one upon the other on his lap). In Akshobhya posture Buddha is shown touching the ground with his right hand.

  • Famous To Eat at Bodhgaya

    Their Chinese fare is the best. The soups and the noodles, and chicken dishes, cooked up in a variety of sauces ' garlic, ginger, chilli ' are highly recommended. The malai kofta and the chicken shahi korma are a must here. Specialised in Japanese and Tibetan cuisine, besides a variety of snacks, vegetarian and tofu dishes. Try the momos , thukpas (soup-style noodles) and Chinese fast food dishes. A plate of five steamed momos, chicken or vegetable are also should be tried.

  • Bodhgaya Museum and Hill Stations

    The Archaeological Museum, Bodhgaya houses ancient sculptures and antiquities of Buddhism. The museum was established in 1956 and has a collection of Buddhist sculpture from the 1st century B.C to 11th century A.D. You can see a collection of relics of the old temple and also the remains of the railings of the temple dating to the 2nd-1st century B.C .Inside the museum are two galleries with an open courtyard and two verandahs filled with antiquities. The courtyard inside the Archaeological Museum, Bodhgaya contains cross bars, railing pillars and coping stones which were once inside the Mahabodhi temple premises.

  • Lake at Bodhgaya

    Bodhgaya is located on the banks of Falgu river. It is  in  the south of Bihar  and is a popular Buddhist pilgrimage destination. Famous as the place where Lord Buddha attained enlightenment, Bodhgaya qualifies as one of the four holiest places of Buddhism.

  • Bodhgaya Seasonals

    Ficus religiosa bears red flowers in February and fruits during May and June. There are traditional medicinal uses for the roots, bark, leaves, flowers and fruit of this tree.

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    Bodhgaya Tips

  • Bodhgaya Travel Tips

    • Take of your shoes before entering the inner parts of the main temple/stupa complex.
    • Circumambulate the stupa and other sacred objects in a clock-wise direction.
    • Preserve the peace and tranquility.
    • Heavier wools should be kept in mind if travelling in December or January.

  • Bodhgaya Tourist Offices

    Tourist Info Centre Govt of Bihar Counter at Hotel Buddha Vihar Complex Bodh Gaya-824231 Tel: 0631-2200127/ 445

  • Bodhgaya ATM's

    There are many moneychangers in town and there is one ATM at the State Bank of India (just a few minutes walk from the Mahabodhi Temple). Please be aware that the ATM often does not function for days at a time. So it is wiser to not wait until the last minute to use it. Root Institute is not an authorised moneychanger, so they cannot change foreign currency or Traveller's Cheques for you, but  can accept your donation in foreign cash and Traveller's Cheques.

  • Must do at Bodhgaya

    Must visit The Bodhi Tree - it is believed that this tree is a direct descendant of the one under which the Buddha Sakyamuni attained enlightenment.
     Things to Do in Bodhgaya encompass enjoyment in various festivals and events celebrated at this city. The birth anniversary of Anagrika Dharmapala in the month of September is observed here. Besides, the birth and death anniversaries of Babasaheb Ambedkar on 14th April and 6th December are also observed in this city.

    Yoga & Meditation
    : Just 13 km from Bodh Gaya is Gaya, a major centre for Yoga & Mediation with numerous beneficial Yoga & Meditation courses. The peaceful ambience of the place will leave one rejuvinated.

  • Not to do at Bodhgaya

    Do not climb onto the statues or other sacred objects. Must pay attention to the rules and regulations.In a holy place you are expected to leave your  footwear outside and also pay attention at the time of chantings etc.,

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