Bodh Gaya is one of the most important and sacred Buddhist pilgrimage
center in the world. It was here under a banyan tree, the Bodhi
Tree, Gautama attained supreme knowledge to become Buddha,the Enlightened
One. Born; in the foothills of the Himalayas as a Sakya prince of
Kapilvastu (now in Nepal), most of the major events of his life,
like enlightenment and last sermon, happened in Bihar. Buddhism
as a religion was
really born in Bihar and evolved here through his preaching and
the example of his lifestyle of great simplicity, renunciation and
empathy for everything living. Significantly, the state's name of
'Bihar' originated from 'Vihara' meaning monasteries which abounded
Several centuries after Buddha's passing away, the Maurya Emperor
Ashoka (234-198 BC) contributed tremendously towards the revival,
consolidation and spread of the original religion. It is the monasteries,
Ashoka built for the Buddhist monks and the pillars known as Ashokan
Pillars erected to commemorate innumerable historical sites associated
with the Buddha's life, mostly intact to this day, that helped scholars
and pilgrims alike to trace the life events and preaching of a truly
extraordinary man. There is a magnificent Mahabodhi temple and the
Tree from the original sapling still stands in the temple premises.
The temple is an architectural amalgamation of many centuries, cultures
and heritages. While its architecture has a distinct stamp of the
Gupta era, it has later ages inscriptions describing visits of pilgrims
from Sri Lanka, Myanmar and China between 7th and 10th century AD.
It is perhaps still the same temple Hieuen Tsang visited in 7th
stands in the east to the Bodhi Tree. Its architectural effect is
superb. Its basement is 48 square feet and it rises in the form
of a slender Pyramid till it reaches its neck, which is cylindrical
in shape. The total height of the temple is 170 ft. and on the top
of the temple are Chatras which symbolize sovereignty of religion.
Four towers on its corners rise gracefully giving the holy structure
a poise balance. This sacred edifice is like a grand banner unfurled
by time to proclaim to the world the pious efforts of the Buddha
to solve the knots of human miseries, to ascend above worldly problems
and to attain transcendental peace through wisdom, good conduct
and disciplined life.
Inside the temple, in the main sanctum, there is a colossal image
of the Buddha in sitting posture touching the earth by his right
hand. In this posture the Buddha accomplished the supreme enlightenment.
The statue is of black stone but it has been guilder by the devotees.
The entire courtyard of the temple is studded with large number
of votive stupas. These stupas are of all sizes built during the
past 2500 years ago. Most of them are extremely elegant in structural
beauty. The ancient railings, which surround the temple, are of
the first century BC and are among the very interesting monuments
of the century.
Animesh Lochan Chaitya
It is believed that the Buddha spent one week here looking towards
the great Bodhi tree out of gratitude, without twinkling his eyes.
The present Bodhi Tree is probably the fifth succession of the original
tree under which the Buddha had attained enlightenment. Vajrasana,
the seat of stability, is a stone platform on which the Buddha is
supposed to have sat in meditation gazing east, under the Bodhi
Pretshila Hill (12 km, Gaya)
This hill adds to the beauty of Gaya. It is about 10 kms from the
Ramshila hill. Just below the hill is the Brahma Kund. After taking
bath in this pond people go for the 'Pind Dan' which involves performance
of religious rites and offering donations and charity for the peace
of souls of one's parents and ancestors. On top of the hill the
Queen of Indore, Ahilya Bai, built a temple in 1787popularly known
as Ahilya Bai Temple. This temple has always been an attraction
for the tourists due to its unique architecture and magnificent
Vishnupad Temple (12km, at Gaya)
In 1787 Queen Ahilya Bai built the Vishnu temple on the banks of
river Falgu. The temple has some great architecture and design which
attracts devotees and tourists alike. A 30-meter high octagonal
tower overshadows this temple.
Barabar Caves (41 km)
It is an important archaeological site. The caves carved out from
solid rocks bear details of the life of the Buddha. The interior
of these caves is chiseled to a wonderful polish. The carvings in
the caves reflect the skill with which these caves were carved out.
These caves were built in the 3rd century and are fine examples
of the skill which the Indian mansion had attained at that time.
These caves of Mauryan period are rightly considered to be the origin
of Indian cave architecture. It was here in these caves where the
Buddha had meditated for some time and concluded that the ultimate
knowledge can not be attained through mortification of the flesh.
This marks the sacred spot of the Buddha's meditative perambulations
during the third week after pious enlightenment. It is believed
that wherever the Buddha put his feet lotus sprang up.
The Buddha spent one week here, where it is believed that five colors
came out of his body.
Other Treasures of Bodhgaya
80 ft Statue of the Buddha, Lotus Tank, Buddha Kund, Rajayatana,
Brahm Yoni, Chinese Temple & Monastery, Burmese Temple, Buddhist
Monastery of Bhutan, International Buddhist House & Japanese
Temple, Thai Temple & Monastery, Tibetan Monastery, Archaeological
Museum. Sujata village (2 kms), Dungeshwari Hill (Prag bodhi) (22
kms by road), Maitraya Project (3 kms).
The nearest airport is at Gaya 7 Kms and Patna 135 kms. Indian Airlines
and Sahara Airlines connect Patna to Calcutta, Bombay, Delhi, Ranchi,
Lucknow and various other cities.
The nearest railway station is Gaya (17km).
Bodhgaya is well connected by road to Gaya (17km), Nalanda (101
km), Rajgir (78 km), Patna (135km), Varanasi (252 km), Calcutta
Taxis, Tongas, Auto Rickshaws, Cycle Rickshaws are available.
Regular direct bus services are available from Gaya, Patna, Nalanda,
Rajgir, Varanasi. Bihar State Tourism Development Corporation run
buses from Patna- Bodhgaya route twice a day.
Conducted Tour : Chartered buses
or taxis are arranged from Ranchi and Patna by Bihar State Tourism
Temperature (Max / Min) Deg C
Summer 47 / 28
Winter 28 / 4
Rainfall: 186 cms (Mid - June to
Best Season: October to March.
General Information & Accomdation info on Bodh Gaya city of Bihar - India