Bodh Gaya, The Place of Buddha’s Enlightenment

Bodh Gaya, The Place of Buddha's Enlightenment
Statue of Buddha in Mahabodhi Temple, Bodh Gaya

Bodh Gaya is in Bihar state of India. This is “The Place of Buddha’s Enlightenment”. The small town of Bodh Gaya is located on the bank of river Niranjana called Falgu in local the language. It is 18 Km from Gaya City.

Bodh Gaya, The Place of Buddha's Enlightenment
Bodh Gaya on Map

Traveling to Bodh Gaya

In my memories, the first place I traveled was near my hometown. 20 km from my home in Gaya. It is Bodh Gaya or sometimes called Budhha Gaya.

It was a trip with family and later I made more trips on my bicycle and recently, I went and stayed there for 2 days.

How to reach Bodh Gaya

Gaya is 2nd largest city in Bihar state and is connected by road, railways airways. You can get down at Gaya Railway station and then take an auto-rickshaw to Bodh Gaya.

Flights operate from Delhi. Bodh Gaya is very near the airport. If you want to go through the road, Dobhi is a place on Grand Trunk road (connecting Delhi to Kolkata). Once you reach Dobhi, Bodh Gaya is 20 km from there.

History of Bodh Gaya

Buddha left home in search of knowledge. He meditated at different places and followed many practices. However, none of them were able to fulfill his desire for knowledge. He meditated keeping himself hungry or giving different kinds of pain to himself. However, he could not attain the knowledge he wanted to seek.

In Bodh Gaya, he meditated at 7 places. He went through a series of mediation and one day when he took bath in the river and was hungry, a girl named Sujata offered tasmay(Kheer – a dish made of rice and milk). He then sat under the Peepal Tree and went through self-realization. He attained enlightenment.

The famous Bodhi Tree is the tree under which he attained enlightenment. It is still there. You can see the places inside the main temple also called Mahabodhi Temple where Buddha meditated.

Mahabodhi temple

Bodh Gaya, The Place of Buddha's Enlightenment
Mahabodhi Temple, Buddha Gaya

The place where Buddha meditated, Mahabodhi Temple is built. This temple was built by Ashoka around 260 BCE. Behind the Mahabodhi temple, resides the Bodhi Tree and the place where Buddha sat.

In the temple, there is a Buddha statue sitting on a diamond throne, with a big diamond in its head.

Best time to Visit Buddha Gaya

The best time is winter as Gaya is known for its high temperature during summer. In the rainy season it is not advisable as the climate becomes humid and most of the areas are open, so no cover from the rain.

In winter there is a crowd on weekends, however, weekdays are peaceful and nice.

Entrance and Security procedure for Mahabodhi Temple

Mahabodhi temple was attacked by terrorists in 2013. Since then security is strengthen at the entrance. I remember, when I was a kid, we did not need any procedure to enter the temple. It was all free. Later things changed.

After the terrorist attack, the security of the temple increased. You cannot carry your phones or any bags inside. You can deposit it on the counters created for the same. 

If you are carrying a camera then you can get a camera pass for Rs. 500 for the video camera and Rs. 100 for a still camera.

Temples other than Mahabodhi Temple

As Buddha Gaya is a well-known Buddhist Pilgrimage site, many Buddhist countries have temples in Bodh Gaya.

Thailand – Thai Monastery, Bhutanese Monastery, Tibetan Monastery, Bangladesh Monastery, The Japanese Monastery, White Buddha’ The Great Buddha Statue.

The best way to visit all these monasteries is on foot if you are in Buddha Gaya for a long time and want to explore the teachings and beliefs of different Buddhist cultures.

However, you can see all these places in 1 or 2 days. Book a battery-operated rickshaw and they will take you to each monastery. They will stop at the monasteries and give you sufficient time to visit. They will cost you Rs. 250 to 400.

Bodh Gaya, The Place of Buddha's Enlightenment
Temples around Buddha Gaya

Tips to stay in Bodh Gaya

  • Try and stay close to the Mahabodhi Temple.
  • Book online hotels, however, make sure they are within a 500 m radius of the Mahabodhi Temple. Else, you will end up getting hotels in some remote place and fewer amenities.
  • There is a no-entry zone for 4-wheelers around Mahabodhi temple. If you have a hotel booking inside the zone, you need to show the booking to the police to make an entry.
  • There are too many shops beside the road. Bargain only when you need to purchase something.
  • While visiting Mahabodhi Temple, do take a guide. Else, you will keep on looking at the structure and get to know nothing.

Refer external resources for more knowledge

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bodh_Gaya

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mahabodhi_Temple

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