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Bodhgaya is situated in Bihar, just 13 km from the holy city of Gaya. Bodhgaya which means ‘the place of enlightenment’, is the exact place where Gautama Buddha became enlightened under the Bodhi tree about 2500 years ago, thus starting a chain of events which led to the founding of Buddhism. The city is today visited by thousands of devotees including the great Dalai Lama who often visits the place. The entire city is dotted with temples and Buddhist monasteries, both recent and ancient. The most important structure is the Mahabodhi temple, situated adjacent to the Bodhi tree.
HOW TO REACH
By Air :-
Patna is the nearest airport, situated just 105 km from Bodhgaya. Regular flights connect Patna with major Indian cities including Delhi and Mumbai. Buses and taxis are easily available from Patna to reach Bodhgaya.
By Rail :-
The nearest and most convenient railhead is Gaya. Situated 16 km from Bodhgaya, the city is well connected to all the major Indian cities through regular trains. Gaya and Bodhgaya are conveniently connected through local buses.
By Road :-
Bodhgaya is connected to other cities in Bihar through well built roads. State road transport buses link the city with Gaya, which is further connected to all the cities across Bihar.
WHAT TO SEE
Situated near the tree where Lord Buddha was enlightened about 2500 years back, the Mahabodhi temple is the most important pilgrimage in Bodhgaya. Built on a high square platform, the temple houses a centuries old beautiful statue of Lord Buddha as well as an ancient Shivalinga. The tower of the temple rises to a height of 179 feet.
The tree is believed to be the descendant of the actual tree under which Lord Buddha sat and meditated before attaining the supreme knowledge. The tree rises up to a height of 80 feet and is believed to be over 120 years old. The diamond throne (red sandstone slab) is situated nearby.
The Dharma Chakra or the wheel of law is located in a Tibetan monastery, situated at a short distance from the Mahabodhi temple. Numerous devotees visit the monastery to be enlightened with the teachings and principles of Buddhism.
About 40 km from Bodhgaya are a series of ancient rock cut Buddhist caves. One of the most sacred destinations for people belonging to the Buddhist and Jain religions, the caves house a number of intricately decorated temples.
Gaya is a holy Hindu city, lying 16 km from Bodhgaya. It is believed that the cremation ceremony of a deceased performed here in Bodhgaya leads him towards salvation. The Vishnupad temple, situated on the banks of river Falgu is visited by numerous devotees.
Shopping in Bodhgaya is not the highpoint of your visit to Bodhgaya, which is a spiritual city. However the small town of Bodhgaya has many shops, which display decorative items, associated with Buddhism. Also available are a wide choice of statues of Buddha made of metals and sandalwood.
You can find both non vegetarian and vegetarian food options in Bodhgaya and over the years, tourism industry has focused on availability of diverse cuisine. However, you will not find lots of posh restaurants or fast food chains as is the case with many Indian travel destinations. If you are not allergic to roadside foods, give the makeshift tented eateries in the place a try. The hotels have attached restaurants that will delight foodies though. The caffeine buffs can find good quality coffee at Kalchakra Maidan. There are a few good quality Tibetan and Thai cuisine serving restaurants in the place as well. The prices are not very steep as it is.