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Bodh Gaya is an important Buddhist pilgrimage site as it is here where Buddha meditated under the Bodhi Tree and was enlightened. The site is situated in Gaya district in Bihar, India. The site has been developed into Mahabodhi Temple Complex which was declared as UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2002. The site contains the Mahabodhi Temple, Vajrasana or Diamond Throne and the Bodhi Tree.
Best time to visit: The best time to visit is during the months of April to May for the Buddha Jayanti festival and then in the months of October to March.
How to travel from Delhi to Bodh Gaya
Delhi to Gaya: The cheapest ride from Delhi to Gaya (Gaya Junction) would be on Indian Railways Train. It takes around 11 hrs to 18 hrs and the fare ranges from Rs 500 for sleeper class to Rs 1400 for AC 3 tier. The cheapest flight from Delhi to Gaya would cost around Rs 3,800 and takes around 5 hrs to 9 hrs to reach.
Gorakhpur to Gaya
If you are travelling from Gorakhpur (GKP) there is a direct Indian Railways Train Gkp Shm Express train no 15022 that travels only on Mondays. It takes around 8 hrs and the fare ranges from Rs 275 for sleeper class and Rs 745 for AC 3 tier.
Gorakhpur to Gaya via Varanasi
Gorakhpur to Varanasi: For other days travelers can connect their journey via Varanasi, and if time permits they can visit Sarnath (Deer park where Buddha formed the Sangha and gave his first sermon) which is at a distance of 10 km from the Varanasi railway station. The train takes around 4 hrs to 6 hrs and the fare cost around Rs 200 for sleeper class and Rs 500 for AC 3 tier. The flight to Varanasi would cost around Rs 4000 and would take around 7 hrs to 8 hrs to reach. From Varanasi railway station you could take a taxi or a rickshaw to the Deer Park, Sarnath.
Travelers can also take an early morning direct train to Sarnath (SRNT) from Gorakhpur. It takes around 6 hrs to reach and the fare cost around Rs 200 for sleeper class and Rs 500 for AC 3 tier. From Sarnath railway station travelers can take a taxi or a rickshaw to the Deer Park which is at a distance of around 2 km.
Varanasi to Gaya: There are no direct trains from Sarnath to Gaya so travelers will have to catch a train from Varanasi railway station. It takes around 4 hrs to 5 hrs and would cost around Rs 200 for sleeper class and Rs 500 for AC 3 tier.
Gaya to Bodh Gaya: Bodh Gaya is at a distance of around 16 km from Gaya railway station and 10 km from Gaya Airport. Travelers can take a taxi or a rickshaw to Bodh Gaya. It is advised by experienced travelers to bargain for the prices. State run buses are also available from the main road bus stands to Bodh Gaya.
Accommodation: Travelers can find many hotels nearby Mahabodhi Temple Complex at great deals costing under Rs 1000 for 2 nights. One to two days is sufficient to visit places in Bodh Gaya.
Food: Travelers can try traditional Bihari cuisine and also cuisines from different countries like Tibetan, Italian, Thai and Korean. Gaya is also famous for sweets like Enursa, Tilkut, Khaja, Lai and Kesariya Peda.
Places to visit in Bodh Gaya
Mahabodhi Temple Complex
Entry Fee: No entry fee, Rs 100 for camera and Rs 300 for video camera.
Timings: 5 am to 12 pm, 4 pm to 9 pm
Tips: Mobile phones and other electronic devices are not allowed inside the premises; they can be left at the baggage counter.
Mahabodhi temple marks the location where Buddha attained enlightenment under the Bodhi tree. It was declared as UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2002. The temple foundation was laid by Emperor Ashoka in around 250 BC. He also placed a Diamond Throne called Vajrasana known as the Bodhimanda (the seat of enlightment).
The present Bodhi Tree is the fifth generation of the original tree under which Buddha attained enlightenment. Other descendents of the original Bodhi tree are in Sravasti (or presently Shravasti), India and in Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka. Bodhi day is celebrated as the day on which Buddha attained enlightenment. It is the 8th day of the 12th month of the lunar calendar, which means the date changes every year or on 8th December by some.
Muchalinda Lake is full of fishes next to the temple with peaceful surroundings. It is said that the snake king Muchalinda protected Buddha from the storm which arose on the forth week when he was meditating under the Bodhi Tree. There is a beautiful statue of Buddha meditating and Muchalinda protecting him situated in the center of the lake.
Cankamana is a part of Mahabodhi Temple; where Buddha’s feet’s are carved along the path which was used by Buddha to practice walking meditation during the third week. After the sunset the path becomes a wonderful site when it is decorated with flowers and candles.
Ajapala Nigrodha Tree
|Ajapala Nigrodha Tree|
Animesh Lochana Chaitya Shrine
|Animesh Lochana Chaitya Shrine|
It is the place where Buddha spent his second week after enlightenment meditating by continuously looking at the Bodhi Tree without blinking his eyes. It is situated in the north east direction of the Mahabodhi Temple.
Archaeological Society of India Museum
|Archaeological Society Museum|
Great Buddha Statue
|Great Buddha Statue|
The spectacular statue is 25 meters in height and is a symbol of peace which has a slogan saying “Spread Buddha’s rays to the Whole World”. The statue was built by the Daijokyo Temple and was blessed by the Dalai Lama in its consecration day.
The museum is situated next to the Mahabodhi temple; it is open from 9 am to 6pm and there is no entry fee. They show multimedia and 3D animation movies related to life of Buddha and his teachings.
Monasteries and Temples