Best Places To Visit In Bodh Gaya
Bodh Gaya is very famous as the place where Gautama Buddha is understood to have attained enlightenment, under what was known as the Bodhi tree. Ever since then, Bodh Gaya with the Mahabodhi Temple Complex in Gaya, Bihar, has been regarded as a religious site and one of the most important of the 4 pilgrimage sites of Gautama Buddha for Buddhists. The Mahabodhi Temple, here, was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in the year 2002.
While followers and staunch believers of Buddhism, scholars and tourists do not hesitate to visit Bodh Gaya at any time of the year, the best time weather-wise and peak season is from November to February. The climate ranges from very pleasant to cold and is a wonderful time to move around town visiting the different sites. Also, it is around this time that admission for various courses on Buddhism, spirituality and other related genres commence.
How to reach Bodh Gaya :
By air – The nearest airport to Bodh Gaya is Gaya, around 17 kms away and only has limited flight connectivity with Kolkata. The second airport which is around 135 kms away from the town is at Patna, which is well connected with Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Lucknow and several other cities domestically.
By train – The nearest railway station is Gaya Junction, around 13 kms away and is well connected to several major cities.
By bus – Regular and deluxe buses to Bodh Gaya are available through Private bus operators as well as the Bihar State Tourism Corporation, from Patna as well as several other nearby cities and towns like Varanasi, Nalanda, Rajgir etc.
Must-Visit Attractions :
Mahabodhi Temple :
This temple which is a principal place of worship for Buddhists, is a site of serenity, tranquility and immense peace. Such is the atmosphere and grandeur of this temple that it attracts visitors of all age groups. The huge, beautiful grounds, with the ever famous Bodhi tree where Buddha attained enlightenment, the lovely pond adjoining the temple complex, the meditation garden surrounded by fountains and bells and the main shrine of the deity painted in gold are all worth a visit at least one.
Timings: 5am to 9 pm
Muchalinda Lake :
This lake is another tranquil locale in Bodh Gaya. Located near the main temple, the lake according to mythology is where Lord Buddha spent his sixth week of meditation and it was during this time that a huge storm broke out and Muchalinda, the Snake King of the Lake came out from his shelter to protect and shield Lord Buddha from the ravages of the storm. And this he did by spreading out his hood over the head of Lord Buddha. A structure depicting this story is erected in the centre of the lake.
Indosan Nippon Japanese Temple :
This Japanese temple is situated at a distance of around 15 kms from the pious Bodh Gaya city. This temple is well known for its detailed and amazing wooden carvings, its unique and delicate Japanese architecture and beautiful Japanese paintings which depict all the important events in Gautama Buddha’s life. It is a very good example of great Buddhist traditions and culture.
Timings: 5 am to 12 pm and 2 pm to 6 pm daily
Chinese Temple :
The Chinese Temple contains a 200 year old Buddha statue, brought down from China years ago and installed as a shrine. Situated quite close to the famous Bodhi temple, this Chinese Temple stands out for its interesting Chinese architecture and colourful Chinese designs all over. This temple was built by Buddhist monks and also houses 3 golden Buddha statues and holy scriptures by Chinese scholars, besides the main shrine.
Timings: 7 am to 7 pm daily.
Thai Monastery :
The most spectacular of all monasteries in Bodh Gaya is the Thai Monastery which is admired immensely for its overall splendid architecture and beautiful sloping roofs with golden tiles. The monastery houses a 25 metre tall bronze statue of Lord Buddha and also a Thai temple which together with its surroundings exudes a sense of calm, peace and tranquility for all its visitors and worshippers .
Timings: 7 am to 7 pm daily.
Burmese Vihara Monastery :
This monastery is located in a wonderfully green and thriving garden in Bodh Gaya and is definitely worth a visit. The monastery is very well known and sought out by many scholars and students for enrollment in their various courses and also to imbibe the various teachings of Buddhism. It also has an interesting and vast library with books in different languages.
Timings: 7 am to 7 pm daily
Dungeshwari Hills :
Situated at a distance of about 15 kms from Bodh Gaya are the Dungeshwari Caves. Surrounded by many shrines and stupas, this location was supposedly the place where, Lord Buddha spent 6 years before heading for Bodh Gaya to achieve enlightenment. The route to Dungeshwari Hills is very charming because of the vibrant greenery and pleasant view.
Timings: 10 am to 5 pm.
Picture Credits : india.com