Bodhgaya is obviously most famous as the place where Buddha achieved full enlightenment, these days it has become a popular pilgrimage spot for both Buddhist an Hindu followers. It is also the spot where the Kagyu and Ningma traditions hold their annual Monlams(big prayer gatherings). for more information on the history of Bodgaya got to Wikipedia or Buddhanet .
Getting To Bodhgaya
The simplest way to travel to Bodhgaya is to catch a train to Gaya (from Delhi the Mahabodhi express is the most popular) and then catch an auto ricksaw or a taxi from there. It normally takes around 1 hour by auto to get from Gaya train station to Bodhgaya and can be arrange for around rs100 – 150. It is also possible to fly to Gaya Airport which is 8km from Bodhgaya.
There are many places to visit in Bodhgaya, I will list a few of my favourites in order of preference, if anybody has any suggestions of places to add to the list please feel free to let me know.
MahaBodhi Temple and Bodhi Tree(A and B)
Obviously this is the main attraction in Bodhgaya, if it is your first time, then a audio headset guide is available at the entrance which offers commentary of the various places within the temple. Sights to see within the temple complex include the the Bodhi tree under which Buddha attained enlightenment, although the original Bodhi tree was destroyed, this one is said to have been grown from an off-cut of the original. The Buddha statue inside the main shrine of the temple. Mucha-linda lake(C), said to be the spot where Buddha was sheltered from the rain by a king cobra during meditation. There is also a recently constructed meditation park(D) which is quite beautiful on the left as you enter the temple complex.
Giant Buddha Statue(I)
Located only a short distance from the mahabodhi temple. This is one of the more beautiful Buddha statues I have seen, it also has a very peaceful energy, defiantly a must see.
Tergar Tibetan Monastery(G)
Recently constructed by Mingur Rinpoche, this is a very beautiful monastery and the residence of the 17 Galwa Karmapa when he is in Bodhagaya.
This is the centre for the FPMT in Bodhgaya, it is a littel out of the center, but is defiantly worth a visit, the grounds are very beautiful as is the shrine room. If you are ever in Bodhgaya over Christmas then they offer a wonderful Christmas lunch.
The most beautiful Thai monastery I have seen in India with a very well kept garden and an incredible temple complex.
Other place to visit include:
Japanese Nipponji Temple(J)
The main three places to visit near Bodhgaya are the Mahakala Caves, Rajgir(vultures peak) and Nalanda. These are all close enough to Bodhgaya that all 3 can be visited in one day, for more details on that click here
Clothing market “Tibetan refuge”
Only open during the winter season, you can find a lot of clothes, blankets and knockoff electronics here. Be sure be ready to bargain as price are always negotiable
A great place to get some second hand books, both buddhist and novels. Also the clothing range he carries is more catered to the western tourist
Universal Clothing Center
Well There you have it, my travel blog about Bodhgaya. I know it really isn’t complete yet but I will be heading there soon and will be sure to update it. In the mean time please let me know of anything you would like to see added.