Bodhgaya is one of the most famous pilgrimage destinations for the Buddhist community. It is located in the state of Bihar, India. This town has the most popular home to dozens of Buddhist monasteries. Even it could increase the number of people to visit Bodhgaya each year. It is the safest city for women, and it is surrounded on three sides by hills and the meandering Phalgu River. In early days, Bodhgaya was called by another name called Bodhimanda, but now it is called a Mahabodhi temple. The King Ashoka was built the first temple at this site. It is the most popular world heritage site and enjoys constant visits from pilgrims from all over the world.
Why is it so famous?
Bodhgaya is a religious site and the place of pilgrimage. It is one of the places where the tourist gets a lot of attractions in Bihar. It is the most desired spiritual destinations in India. In this place, the lord Buddha becomes enlightened during intense meditation under a Bodhi tree. This place is filled with the monks from all over the world, and they can be seated at the foot of an enormous carved Buddha statue. They are reading the Holy Scriptures and deep in contemplations.
When to go?
Bodhgaya is still famous for pilgrimage seasons; it starts in September and reaches a peak in January. However, in weather-wise, it is the best time to visit between November and February. Try to avoid the visit of Bodhgaya in the monsoon seasons between June and September. Because the weather gets quite oppressive, followed by heavy rains. However, Bodhgaya still attracts a large number of devotees during the time of Buddha Jayanthi celebrations. It is most popularly held in April or May.
Places to visit in Bodhgaya
Bodhgaya is one of the most famous UNESCO world heritage sites. It is the most familiar place for the Buddhist community. When you are planning to start your visit to Bodhgaya, make sure of the availability of transportation processes. You may have several travelling options to Bodhgaya, so follow those options and pick the best one based on your needs. You should have such travel options like by air, by bus, by train and self-drive.
Here you have some of the popular places to visit in Bodhgaya. So follow the upcoming lines and get a better understanding of your tourist spots:
Mahabodhi temple is the most important temple site in Bodhgaya. This temple has a history of over 2500 years. It is one of the oldest brick temples in India. It is the place where the Gautama Buddha has attained enlightenment. This place was considered as the UNESCO world heritage site in 2002. This temple is surrounded by the Mahabodhi tree built by Mauryan Emperor Ashoka in 3rd century B.C. It is located on the banks of the Niranjana River. This temple will hold with a yellow sandstone statue of the Buddha encased in the glass. It has the six sacred places and a lotus pond housed within the complex. This temple is located in the centre of the town and maintains a strict level of security. Mobile phones are strictly prohibited within the temple premises, and if you want to carry your cameras into the premises, then you need to pay Rs.100 to the temple.
Bodhi tree – Bodhgaya
Bodhi tree is the most popular tourist attraction place in Bodhgaya. This is where the Gautama Buddha was meditated for several years and attained enlightenment (Nirvana) and became Buddha. This place is highly revered among a lot of Buddha devotees and other travellers. This tree will hold high religious importance in the Buddha community. In 262 B.C, Sanghamitta is the daughter of Mauryan emperor Ashoka, and she has planted the Bodhi tree in Bodhgaya. It is considered as the oldest specimen of a tree that has been regenerated over 2000 years. When it comes to visiting, Bodhi tree is the most important spot in Bodhgaya, and it can attract many of the monks to that place.
Great Buddha statue
The Great Buddha statue is the most important place on Buddhist pilgrimage and tourist routes in Bodhgaya. This statue is built at 19.5 meter high representing the Buddha seated in a meditation pose or dhyana mudra. This statue is the symbol of the holy place in Bodhgaya. This sculpture will serve as a visual intended to narrate the various aspects of Buddha’s life and lessons. It is one of the most significant landmarks of Bodhgaya. The great Buddha statue could take seven years to complete using the labor of 12,000 stonemasons. It is specially constructed from the combination of sandstone and red granite blocks. The Buddha statue will actually symbolize the teaching and travels of Gautama Buddha. The hand gestures of the Buddha are called mudra. That could indicate the teaching, meditation, enlightenment and wisdom.
Muchalinda Lake is the most famous and beautiful lake which is located in Bodhgaya. It is the famous historical landmark in Bihar. Muchalinda Lake is also known as “lotus pond”. The lush greenery and peaceful atmosphere surround this lake. It is the most attractive lake among the tourists. In this lake the beautiful statue of meditating Lord Buddha sitting on a snake coil and protected by its hoods. It is the major attraction part of this lake. Lord Buddha was meditating near the lake around six weeks of meditation; a massive strong storm broke out here while Buddha was meditating. So the Muchalinda will come out from his adobe beneath the lake to protect Lord Buddha from the uproar of the storm. So this place was to become more famous to the Buddhist community. It would be the central part of the spot with the sacred place for Buddhist community when it comes to tourist visits.
Sujata temple and stupa
Sujata temple is the most familiar place in Bodhgaya, which is considered as the land of heritage. This temple is dedicated to the lady who is said to be fed milk and rice to Gautama Buddha. It is located in Bodhgaya, Bihar. It is the place where the Gautama Buddha was consumed his first meal after seven years of starvation. This temple was considered religiously important as the offering is believed to have saved Lord Buddha’s life. This stupa was built by the Mauryan dynasty during the Gupta period and excavated during 1973-78 and 2003-2008. In this place, the tribal women called Sujata would give the kheer to Lord Buddha to eat. So it would be built under a remarkable historical incident. Sujata stupa is most famous for excellent brickworks in the early stages.
A Dungeshwari hill is an ancient cave which is popularly known as Mahakala caves. It is located at the distance of about 12-15 km from Gaya, along with the Falgu River. It is the place where the Lord Buddha was spent several years before descending to Bodhgaya. It is the most famous religious site held with high reverence by Buddhists. The Buddha community will believe that the Lord Buddha had meditated in these caves before travelling to Bodhgaya. The Dungeshwari hills are well-known for trekking destinations and draw enthusiasts in large numbers. This cave is relatively more comfortable for the locals and travellers, and it offers a surreal experience for those who let the inspirational energy to take over their conscience.
Thai temples are the best example of art and architecture. This monastery will stand out for its exceptional architecture and stunning beauty. This will be designed with the sloping roof and covered with golden tiles. This monastery has a 25-meter high statue of the Lord Buddha which is entirely made up of bronze. Especially, this was constructed under the idea of propagating the philosophies of Buddhism among the masses. It is one of the most beautiful monasteries in Bodhgaya. This monastery was established in the year of 1957. Here many of the people can participate together and practice the meditation and yoga at every morning and evening times. The masterpiece of designs and architectures gracefully surrounds the Thai temple.
Barabar cave is one of the oldest rocks cut architectures in the world. It is located en route from Patna to Bodhgaya, Bihar. These caves are built around the third century B.C., by Dasharatha Maurya (The grandson and the successor of Ashoka). The Barabar caves are found near the western Deccan and dating between 100BC and 170 AD. It is of the most popular tour for visitors to Gaya. Buddhist, Janis and Hindus sculptures fully occupy these caves. These caves have two chambers- the rectangular hall for the purpose of the congregation and another small prayer hall. The inner walls of the cave are fully polished and smooth. It is one of the most interesting places for the visitors in and around Patna. Barabar caves are located on the top of the hills and it would be the adventurous part for the visitors. In this cave, the visitors have to climb up through the stairs to explore this heritage site.
Wrapping it up:
Bodhgaya is the most famous heritage site globally, and it is considered the holiest site in Buddhism. It has remained the object of pilgrimage and veneration for both Hindu and Buddhist communities. Here you have a lot of places to visit. So make use of these lines and enjoy your touring days with the traditional and holy moments.