A spiritual trip to Bodh Gaya: Everything you need to know


Budhha is a household name in India and in many parts of the world. Let’s be honest, at least once, we all have quoted him (perhaps some quote which was not even his own) on social media or have read his sayings.

The world has been fascinated by the man this Budhha has been. Shown sitting in the lotus posture with a face exuding the calmness we all desire to achieve. Maybe.

So, if you are living in India then you have the golden chance of actually feeling the presence of this great man who walked the face of earth – and actually changed it in a big way! The place where Budhha actually became ‘Budhha’.

Yes, i am talking about the popular pilgrimage destination in the heart of Bihar – Bodh Gaya. Lakhs of people from around the world converge to this place to experience the peace that Sidhharth Gautam did some 2600 years ago.

If you too are planning to visit this beautiful temple city – we have the important points laid down for you!

 

The importance of Bodh Gaya

First and foremost, why should you actually plan to visit Bodh Gaya in the first place? I think a lot has been said about this in the introduction but still let me try a little more if you are not convinced.

See, it is not just that the Bodh Gaya is a place of religious importance. It also carries a lot of historical weight. For instance, there’s the Mahabodhi Temple, where the Bodhi Tree is located, precisely the place where Prince Sidhharth meditated for seven weeks straight and attained enlightenment.

The original tree was destroyed, re-planted and then again cut down on different occasions.And, so was the temple. Originally built by Ashoka in third century, it was rebuilt in sixth of seventh century. Later, in the 12th and 13th century, it fell into despair as the region was occupied by Turk armies. Since then, the temple has been refurbished several times.

And wait, the Mahabodhi Temple was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site too. If you are interested in ancient architecture, history and religion, you can’t give this place a miss.

 

Places of attraction

If you are going to Bodh Gaya, then obviously the most important place of attraction will be Mahabodhi temple and Bodhi tree. However, there’s much more to see in the whole area.

There are smaller temples built around the main structure and also a number of monasteries that surround the Mahabodhi temple which offers a unique peek into the different styles and cultures of Buddhist that thrive today in different countries.

For example, located very close to each other are Royal Bhutan Monastery, Cambodian Monastery, Burmese Monastery, Wat Thai Temple, Tibetan Temple and many more structures. So, if you really want to understand the Buddhist culture spread across the world, you should take out some time and visit all these temples and monasteries.

You may also choose to learn the Buddhist meditation techniques from the teachers. The Dhamma Bodhi Vipassana Meditation Center is also located in Bodh Gaya for those who want to learn the art of practicing Vipassana – meditation technique discovered by Buddha himself.

Lastly, for those who love shopping, Bodh Gaya will not be a disappointment for you all. Right outside the temple complex, you will find scores of shops and vendors selling products like religious paraphernalia, books, music CDs, clothes, etc at nominal prices. Don’t forget to carry your bargaining skills with you!

 

How to reach and places to stay

Bodh Gaya is located at a distance of 96 km from the state capital of Bihar – Patna. Pilgrims and tourists can reach Patna, which is connected easily through road, rain and air transport routes. From Patna, they can find a taxi or buses which will take them to Bodh Gaya.

Also, looking at the influx of domestic and international tourists, an airport has also been built at Gaya which is located at a distance of just 5 km from the temple city.

Travellers planning to stay in BodhGaya can easily find a hotel or guest house close to the main temple. Private rooms and dormitories are also available in various monastery guest houses but you might want to book these much in advance because of high demand.

If you are a tourist then you may choose to visit Bodh Gaya at any time of the year. However, it will be better to avoid going during the extreme summers because of the heat. So, what are you waiting for?

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