Land of enlightenment, Land of Salvation, Land of supreme knowledge, yes these all are the synonyms for Bodh Gaya. This is the place where Siddhartha Gautama transformed into Buddha. This place is considered as a religious place but it is actually spiritual rather than religious. Here, Siddhartha Gautama meditate for approx seven years before attain enlightenment under the Peepal tree ( famous as Bodhi Tree). This is the most important place in the world for the Buddhist people, other important place for Buddhist are Kushinagar, Lumbini and Sarnath. The site also designated as UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2002 to mark its importance on world map.
This city is like mini Asia, you can see visitors from most of the Asian country in huge number. Most of the Asian country have made contribution in building temple and monastery and known with their county name like Japani Temple, Korean Temple, Burmese Temple and like that lots of other.
Mahabodhi Temple Bodhgaya
It is believed that Mauryan Emperor Ashoka who embrace Buddhism after famous Kalinga War, had constructed the very first monastery in this place. That initial monastery does not exist today but it is well described in the carvings on torans of Sanchi Stupa. This existing pyramidal temple was built in 6th century during the time of the Gupta Empire. The temple is surrounded by many small size stupa and its main Sikhara having a height of more than 55 meter. Broken part of temple structure are placed in Archaeological museum close to temple.
In the back side of the temple you can see the same Bodhi Tree under which Gautama Buddha had meditated before attain of enlightenment. You will always find lots of monks and other people meditating under the tree. Whenever you visit this place, i recommend to sit for a while and feel the divine environment. This tree considered most sacred and every year a team of Forest Research Institute (FRI), Dehradun visit here to check health of the tree. Sanghamittra, who was daughter of Emperor Ashoka had taken a sapling of this very Bodhi Tree to Anuradhapura, ancient capital of Shri Lanka brought a piece of the tree with her to Sri Lanka. Anuradhapura is also a famous Buddhist site where largest stupa have been build.
This temple complex is spread in a large area and beautifully developed the area around the temple by lightnings, parks. There is a beautiful Mucalinda lake in the complex area, in the middle of lake you will see a Buddha statue that is covered by hood of Serpent king Mucalinda. This is a nice place to meditate, or if you want to spend some time in a divine environment.
Great Buddha Statue
One of the main attraction of Bodhgaya is a 80 feet tall statue of Bhagwan Buddha in sitting pose. It is situated in the small closed park, Sculpture artists worked their best to depict calmness on the face of Buddha. Here, you will know about the main ten disciple of Buddha, their statue also erected there in both side of great Buddha. Among which his own son Rahul was the one along with cousin of Buddha named Aniruddha. This place is perfect spot to click some beautiful picture. It is situated around 1 km from Mahabodhi temple and in close vicinity with monasteries/temples belongs to different Asian Countries like Cambodian Monastery, Karma Temple, Japani Temple, Royal Bhutani Temple and other important temples.
Important temple and monasteries in Bodhgaya
1) Ngagyur Palyul Thupten Monastry and temple
This one is very close to great Buddha statue, this monastery covering a large area in which you will see a colourful Gompa or Stupa and a large colorful temple , nice place to sit for a moment. Inner walls of the temple is covered with thousands of small golden statue of Buddha.
2) Japani Temple
Like the Japanese people, temple look very decent, Inner portion is full of wooden work. And there is aroma you feel when entered in the temple. Their is supposed to be maintain discipline, there is a school also associated with this temple.
Japani Temple, Bodhgaya
3) Royal Bhutan Temple
Situated very next to Japani Temple, it is also very beautiful and colorful temple dedicated to Buddha. As you know about Bhutan and its people, they are not much bother for materialistic thing. Their priority lies with the happiness of people, here you can feel that in all color they put in the temple. In the back of temple a monastery associated to this temple where many people come for learn Buddhist value.
4) Wat Thai Monastery
It is one of the important landmark of the town , situated very close to Mahabodhi Temple on main road. There you see uniqueness in its architecture, very colorful and best to click some picture with. Two demon like character guard this monastery.
In front of monastery other side of road, you will get many option to eating out. Several veg-restaurants are there along with multiple type of street food.
How to reach Bodhgaya
Air: Gaya is the nearest airport 17 km from Bodhgaya, which also operate some international flights like – Druk Air from Bangkok on weekly basis and Thai Airways on daily basis. You can take domestic flight to Patna from Delhi, Kolkata and Mumbai. Patna which is capital city of Bihar is 110 km from Bodhgaya. From Patna you can hire a taxi or you can choose take luxury Buses to Bodhgaya.
Rail: Gaya is nearest railhead 16 Km from Bodhgaya, from there you can take taxi or can book an Auto, Other good option to take train upto Patna, which is connected to all major Indian cities. From Patna its a 2.5 hr journy via Car or Bus.
Road: Bihar State Tourism Development Coporation provide daily luxury bus services to and from Bodh Gaya. There you get Buses for Varanasi to Bodhgaya, Bodhgaya to Nalanda, Rajgir and even to Kathmandu in Nepal.
For the local travel within city of Bodhgaya you can take Auto, or some guest also provide Bicycle which is also preferred by visitors.