Indian Tour Operators Promotion Council
Bodhgaya - The Enlightened Land
Bodhgaya - Fast Facts
Location - Lies in the Gaya district
Area - 91.94 sq.km
Population - 40,000
Best Time - October to early March or during May when Buddha
Jayanti is celebrated.
STD Code - 0631
Languages - Hindi, Bhojpuri and English
Bodhgaya - Main Attractions
¤ Bodhi Tree
¤ Sujata Temple
¤ Muchhalinda Pond
¤ Bodh Gaya Museum
" Buddhham Sharanam Gachhammi"
The land of Bodh Gaya is as pious as
the Ganges because it was here that Gautam Buddha ( Prince Siddharath)
attained supreme enlightenment. The sacred Asvatta tree ( Bodhi Tree ) is
the witness of the unending mediation hours and great devotion of Gautam
Buddha which finally fulfilled the quest of Buddha. Thus, Buddism was born
here under the peepal tree. Bodh Gaya, being one of the four most holy
pilgrimage places for the Buddhists draws many westerners who learn about
Buddhism or mediation.
It was Gautam Buddha who founded the first universal religion of the world.
Most of the major events of Buddha's life , like enlightenment and last
sermon happened in Bihar. The tree from the original sapling still stands in
the temple premises.
See & Do
Bodhi Tree -
Bodhi Tree is said to be a descendent of the tree under which Buddha
attained enlightenment. A sapling of the original Bodhi Tree was carried by
Emperor Ashoka's daughter to Sri Lanka. A cutting from the tree was planted
in Bodh Gaya when the original tree died away. Under this tree is a red
sand- stone slab that is said to be the Vajrasana, the diamond throne, where
Buddha sat and attained Nirvana. The Bodhi Tree is about 80 feet high and
about 115 years old.
Mahabodhi Temple -
The temple is a towering
structure and is located to the east of the Bodhi Tree. It houses a large,
glided black stone image of the Buddha in the Bhumisparshamudra ( earth
touching posture). The carved sculpted stone railing around the temple is
believed to have been built around the 1st century BC. There have been
several other temples on this site. The Mahabodhi Temple is very sacred for
the Hindus because Lord Buddha is the ninth incarnation of Lord Vishnu.
Countries having large Buddhist population-
including Sri Lanka, Japan, Thailand, Mynamar, Vietnam, Korea and Taiwan
have built temples and monasteries in Bodh Gaya with their distinctive
architectural styles and forms of worship. For the travellers, these
monasteries provide interesting insights into the nuances of various schools
Sujata Temple -
About 2 km to the west of Bodh Gaya, flows
the Phalgu River. There lies a small shrine dedicated to Sujata, the tribal
woman who offered kheer to the starving Siddharatha.
Muchhalinda Pond -
The Buddha spent the sixth week after
enlightenment at this pond on the southern side of the temple.
Bodh Gaya Museum -
Run by the Archaeological Survey of
India, this is located near the Mahabodhi temple. It houses antiquities
excavated in and around Bodh Gaya. It has a large collection of Buddhist and
Hindu relics, terracotta seals, scriptures and railings/pillars from the
Sunga period (1 BC to 1 AD). It is open from 9 am to 4.30 pm, closed on
Fridays, and there is an entry fee of Rs 2.
Bodh Gaya attains new life from October to
March when the place is flooded with tourists from all over the world. But
the peak season is December - January when Dalai Lama presides over the
Kalachakra Festival. Most of the shopping areas is filled with +roadside
stalls selling thangkas, Buddhist icons and trinkets. The seasonal Tibetan
Refugee Market is extremely good for purchasing woollens. Throughout the
year , the government - authorised handicraft stores sell thangkas, dried
peepul leaves, peepul-bead rosaries for meditation and lotus- bead malas
What is life without good food? Well, the
unanimous answer would be- a Hell. And why not, for the smooth functioning
of our body proper food is the prime requisite for all. The congregation of
pilgrims from all across the globe has an interesting culinary consequence.
In peak season, the town comes alive with roadside restaurants that offer
every kind of food from Chinese to Japanese to Korean to Tibetan to Italian
to the ultimate symbol of America, the apple pie. Most hotel- restaurants
provide mishmash by way of a menu.
However there are certain nameless, makeshift tents that come up near the
temple complex from December to February ( the peak season) and serve great
food. The food offered stimulates our appetite and one gets compelled to eat
more than the usual appetite.
There are certain established restaurants in Bodh Gaya-
- Located opposite the Jayprakash Narayan
Park entrance, the restaurant is popular for its breakfast menu. It also
serves Kheer ( which Sujata offered to Siddharath ), now extolled as '
Sujata rice pudding'.
- Located near the Tibetan refugee market,
the restaurant is quiet famous for its great Tibetan and Chinese food.
- The hotel lies near the Mahabodhi Temple
entrance and serves Indian, Chinese and Continental.
High- end hotels pander to foreign palates- the Japanese okaiyo, a bland
breakfast broth; the Thai masala omelette; the Korean Kimchi salad; and the
satvik no-onion, no-garlic Taiwan dishes. The famous Lotus Nikko Hotel in
Bodh Gaya also bring a fine range of dishes for the tourists visiting the
Bodh Gaya experiences Tropical climate. The summers
( April-June) are generally very hot and winters ( October - February ) are
very cold. Temperatures in summer can rise up to 47 degree C and can drop to
4 degree C.
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