Bodh Gaya is famous for the Mahabodhi Mahavihar more popularly known as Mahabodhi Temple or the Great Stupa. Here, Gautama Buddha attained enlightenment under the Bodhi tree. In other words, this place is a great testimony of the presence of the greatest Teacher of all time mankind has ever witnessed. As a matter of fact, Bodhgaya is bustling with pilgrims all through the year from India and abroad. Evidently, tourists come here to pay their homage in monasteries, temples, and remnants of Bodhi Tree.
Bodh Gaya or Uruwela is located on the bank of the river Niranjana. For one thing, Bodhgaya is among the four important pilgrimages Buddhist sites that include: Kushinagar, Lumbini, and Sarnath.
Bodhi Tree is the tree that Lord Buddha meditated under before he could attain enlightenment. Besides, the direct descendants of the original Bodhi tree flourish even today, standing tall at about 80 feet.
Places to see in Bodhgaya
Mahabodhi Temple Complex
Mahabodhi Temple Bodhgaya was built in 2 BCE, by the great Mauryan Emperor Ashoka (273-32 BCE) at Bodh Gaya, Bihar. The 4.8-hectare or (11.9-acre) complex includes ancient shrines and modern structures built by Buddhist devotees. Additonally, it was recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2002. Furthermore, it includes The Bodhi Tree, Vajrasana, Animesh Lochan Chaitya, Cankamna, Ratnagraha, Ajapala Nigrodha Tree, Rajayatna Tree, and Muchalinda Sarovar. BMTC manages Mahabodhi temple and keeps updating about the activities of the Mahabodhi Temple Complex. For the latest info, you can visit https://bodhgayatemple.com/temple-timing/
The Great Buddha Statue and Buddhist Monasteries of the various countries
The XIV Dalai Lama in 1989 initiated the building of this statue. For one thing, this statue of Lord Buddha is the tallest in India. It is a meditating Buddha resting on a giant lotus, constructed using intricately carved sandstone and red granite.
The Tibetan Refugee Market
This market is a paradise for shopping lovers. Because it offers a large variety of winter wear, handicrafts, souvenirs, etc.
Also, known as Mahakala Caves, the Dungeshwari Caves are located 12 km northeast of Bodh Gaya. Lord Buddha meditated in this place for six years before he went to Bodh Gaya to achieve enlightenment. A golden emaciated Buddha sculpture commemorating his rigid penance is enshrined in one of the cave temples. Another cave houses a large statue of Lord Buddha, about 6 ft high, to pay tribute to that phase of Buddha’s life.
There is a popular saying associated with these cave temples that during his self-mortification, Gautama became emaciated. Hence, a cow-herder by the name of Sujata was moved by his weak appearance therefore offered him food and water. As a result, Gautama realized that by self-abasement he cannot attaing enlightenment hence he carried on with his journey to Bodh Gaya.
The Caves exist even today amidst the beautiful natural surroundings. The picturesque location of the Dungeshwari Hills is also a well-known trekking destination and draws enthusiasts in large numbers.
Sujata Garh, Bakraur
Sujatha Garh is dedicated to a humble Sujatha who offered pudding to Gautam Buddha. Evidently, the pudding was the first meal Gautam Buddha had consumed after a long period of self denial.
Vishnupad Temple Gaya
Vishnupad Mandir is believed to feature a 40-cm-long footprint of Lord Vishnu in basalt rock. As the story goes, Lord Vishnu killed demon Gayasur at this place by stamping his foot on his chest. After Lord Vishnu pushed the demon under the earth with his foot, his footprint was retained in a rock. Although the origin of the temple is unknown, evedently Ahilya Bai Holkar, the queen of Indore, had the present octagonal shrine built-in 1787.
The temple is located on the banks of the Falgu river and draws devotees from across the country. Within the courtyard of the complex, lie other temples dedicated to Lord Narasimha and Lord Shiva in the avatar of Phalgwisvara. Clearly these temples are significant places of Hindu worship.
Things to do In Bodhgaya
Root Institute for Wisdom Culture
Root Institute for Wisdom Culture is a Buddhist Centre that educates and promotes wisdom culture through programs and social service. Moreover, it functions as per the Tibetan tradition and is often considered as a spiritual retreat that offers a tranquil atmosphere to study and practice the culture in its true form. https://www.rootinstitute.ngo
One can learn Vipassana Meditation at the Dhamma Bodhi Vipassana Center with 10-day residential retreats starting on the 1st and 16th of every month. Some monasteries also offer Buddhism courses.
Top Hotels in Bodhgaya
Name & Type
Hotel The Imperial
The Royal Residency
Marasa Sarovar Premiere
Be Happy Cafe,
Tibetan Om Cafe
Best Time to Visit
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 colored with maroon robes.
It’s traditional to take off your shoes before entering the inner part of the temple.
A side trip to Rajgir, where Lord Buddha spent much of his life teaching his disciples can be planned. Besides it is only about 80 kilometers from Bodh Gaya. Not only you’ll be able to visit Gridhakuta (also known as Vulture’s Peak), where the Buddha used to meditate and preached for 12 Years. But also you can take the aerial cable car up to the top, for great views. Also, the extensive ruins of ancient Nalanda University, are a significant center for Buddhist learning, are also nearby.
Lumbini, Bodhgaya, Sarnath, and Kushinagar are the important places that are related directly to the life and teachings of Lord Buddha. In addition to these, there are various other important sites too where he had traveled during His lifetime. These are Rajgir, Nalanda, Vaishali, Keysariya, Kapilvastu, Sravasti, and many more.