Land of enlightenment, Land of Salvation, Land of supreme knowledge, yes! all are the synonyms for Bodhgaya. This is the place where Siddhartha Gautama transformed into Buddha almost 2500 years ago. Bodhgaya is the most sacred pilgrim site in the world for Buddhism. Ancient temples and monasteries of Bodhgaya make it a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Bodhgaya is considered as a religious place but it is more spiritual than religious. Siddhartha Gautama meditated here for seven years before attaining enlightenment under the Peepal tree ( Bodhi Tree).
Bodhgaya is like mini Asia, where you can see numerous visitors from most of the Asian countries. Most of the Asian countries have contributed in building several temples and monasteries in Bodhgaya and tagging with their country name like; Japani Temple, Korean Temple, Burmese Temple etc.
Temples and monasteries of Bodhgaya
Mauryan Emperor Ashoka, who embrace Buddhism after famous Kalinga War, had constructed the very first monastery at this place. That initial monastery does not exist today but it is well described in the carvings on torans of Sanchi Stupa.
The existing pyramidal temple built in 6th century during the time of the Gupta Empire. The temple is surrounded by many small Stupa and its main Sikhara having a height of more than 55 meter.
In the backyard of the temple you can see the same Bodhi Tree under which Gautama Buddha had meditated before attaining 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. Bodhi tree considered the most sacred and every year a team of Forest Research Institute (FRI), Dehradun visit here to check health of Bodhi tree.
Sanghamittra, the daughter of Ashoka had taken a sapling of this Bodhi Tree to Anuradhapura, ancient capital of Shri Lanka. Anuradhapura is also a famous Buddhist site where largest Stupa have been build.
There is a beautiful Mucalinda lake in the temple complex area. In the middle of lake you will see a Buddha statue 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.
80 feet Buddha Statue
80 feet tall statue of Bhagwan Buddha is among the main attraction of Bodhgaya. Sculpture artists worked their best to depict calmness on the face of Buddha. Here, you will know about the main 10 disciple of Buddha, their statue also erected here, in both side of great Buddha.
Rahul, Buddha’s son and Aniruddha, Buddha’s cousin were among the main disciple. This place is perfect spot to click some beautiful pictures. The 80 feet statue is 1 km from Mahabodhi temple and very close to other famous monasteries of Bodhgaya belonging to different Asian Countries.
There are Cambodian Monastery, Karma Temple, Japani Temple, Royal Bhutani Temple and other important temples close to 80 feet Buddha.
Monasteries of 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 colorful Gompa or Stupa and a large colorful temple. There are thousands of small golden statue of Buddha inside the temple.
2) Japani Temple of Bodhgaya
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. A very much discipline to be maintained here because it has a school associated with this temple.
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. There is a monastery associated to this temple, where many people come for learn Buddhist value.
4) Wat Thai Monastery
It is one of the most important landmark of the town, very close to Mahabodhi Temple right on the main road. There you see uniqueness in its architecture, very colorful and perfect 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, which 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 rail-head 16 Km from Bodhgaya, from there you can take taxi or can book an Auto, Other good option to take train up-to Patna, which is connected to all major Indian cities. From Patna its a 2.5 hr journey 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 house also provide Bicycle.
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