Follow the footsteps of Lord Buddha and arrive at Bodhgaya. Here is the place where Prince Siddhartha attained enlightenment and became Buddha. Here is the place where one of the major religions in today's world owes its origin.
If you are looking for a spiritual upliftment, perhaps you should travel to Bodhgaya, the Buddhist pilgrimage center.
The small town of Bodhgaya in Central Bihar came into prominence in the 6th century with Buddha's enlightenment or Nirvana under a Bodhi tree in Bodhgaya.
India is not eyed only for its mountains and seaside destinations by visitors. There are quite a number of holy places and pilgrimage spots in the country that attract millions of religious minded tourists from all parts of the world. One such religious destination in India is the holy place of Bodhgaya. Located in Bihar's Gaya district, Bodhgaya is the place where legendary spiritual leader and visionary Gautama Buddha attained Nirvana. The small city in Bihar attracts thousands of Buddhists and religious visitors all over the year. Apart from serving as one of the major Buddhist pilgrim centers of world, Bodhgaya is also an important place for those who want to study Buddhism.
Best time to visit
Since it is located in the state of Bihar, Bodhgaya has a typical tropical climate. For foreigners hailing from western nations, summer can be the most taxing time to visit this religious destination. The temperature is quite high and dry winds can make situation even more taxing for tourists. Ideally, winter is the right time to visit the Buddhist center. The months from October to March are suitable. If monsoon is not much of a problem you can also visit Bodhgaya during August or September when the temperature will be on lower side, compared to the summer months.
Reaching Bodhgaya is possible through both bus and train routes. The nearest town where you will find all means of transportation is Gaya, which is about 16 km away. Once you reach Bodhgaya through these means, exploring the place is not tedious. As it is, you will find the major sightseeing options near the Mahabodhi temple complex. You can cover them on foot unless you do not have habit of exploring travel destinations by walking. Before hiring any local tour guide, ensure he is associated with Bihar State Tourism Development Corporation. For traveling to nearby places like Gaya, Nalanda you can choose from Auto Rickshaws and Taxis. Tongas are also available in the city for local transport.
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.
As it is expected, the sightseeing options in Bodhgaya are mostly religious or spiritual in nature. The Bodhi Tree is most likely the 5th succession of the legendary tree under which Gautama Buddha attained enlightenment. Under the tree, you will see seat of stability known as Vajrasana where the sage used to sit and meditate on. At Temple Street's end you will find the magnificent Great Buddha Statue, 25 meter tall. Spiritual leader Dalai Lama unveiled the statue in 1989. The renovated Mahabodhi temple is another edifice you cannot miss and same can be said about the adjacent archeological museum. Meditation lovers can also see the Meditation Park located at the temple's north east. The beautifully adorned Chinese temple is another must see spot on the place. There are quite a few monasteries that you can see as well.
The Patna Airport is served by many budget airlines and you can find bargain deals with a little online search or negotiation with travel agencies. Gaya is connected by rail route with many Indian cities and from there you can reach Bodhgaya by taxi or bus. From Gaya Airport you can take auto-rickshaws, which will charge you INR 20 for shared travel and INR 150 if you travel alone. The Bihar State Tourist Development Corporation offers deluxe bus service between Patna and Bodhgaya every day. For AC bus the cost is INR 185 and for non- AC bus trip, cost is INR 60. There are many budget guest houses and hotels where you can put up for INR 200-250 approx for a single room. There are a number of luxury hotels belonging to 3 and 4 star bracket which may charge you about INR 1500 per day.
How many days are enough to travel?
While Bodhgaya is not large in size, you need more than one day to explore all laces and adjacent cities properly. Remember the fact that the temples, monasteries have enough interests for spiritually inclined visitors. They cannot be covered just in a day if you have an eye for details. Besides, you will also feel like tasting the regional cuisine. Usually, a majority of tourists visiting the city also like to explore historic places like Nalanda and Rajgir. For all these, a couple of days would be required. Bodhgaya makes the perfect choice for a weekend trip to spiritual holiday destination.
Tourism Department Contacts
You can find enough information on hotel booking and travel agencies offering packages for Bodhgaya online. However, it is essential that you keep tourism department contact details in hand. The Bihar State Tourism Development Corporation operates three hotels, namely- Sujata Vihar, Buddha Vihar and Siddhartha Vihar. The contact details are:
Sujata Vihar, Bodhgaya, Gaya-824231
Siddharth Vihar, Bodhgaya, Gaya-824231
Phone: 0631-2200445, 2200127
Buddha Vihar, Bodhgaya, Gaya-824231.
Phone: 0631-2200445, 2200127
Apart from these, you can also opt for Hotel Bodhgaya Ashok, which is operated by the Indian Tourism development Corporation. You may contact Bihar State Tourism Development Corporation for additional details. The contact details are:
Emergency Contact Numbers
No matter where you travel to, keeping emergency contact numbers is a prerequisite and Bodhgaya trip should not be an exception. Given the incident of recent bomb blasts in the place, this has become even more essential for tourists. If you need any help on traveling or getting round Bodhgaya, contact Tourist Information Center at 033-22803304. Near Kalchakra Maidan, the Bodhgaya Police station is located and you can dial it to report any crime or mischief type incidents at 0631- 2200741, 0631- 2212075. The District Magistrate of Gaya can be reached at +91-631-2222900 or emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org
How to Reach Bodhgaya
Bodhgaya is perhaps the most important spiritual tourist destination for Buddhists.
Although Bodhgaya has no airport of its own, there is an airport in Gaya, which is 17 kms away from Bodhgaya.Most airlines from the important cities of India touch Patna, which is 135 kms from Bodhgaya.
The nearest railway station is also Gaya.Trains from all major cities of India stop at Gaya.Indian Railways has introduced a new train, Buddha Parikrama that caters to Buddhist spiritual tour by linking all the places associated with Buddha and Buddhism.
Distance to Gaya
- From delhi - 1030 KM
- From patna - 97 KM
- From chennai - 2009 KM
- From varanasi - 250 KM
- From mumbai - 1817 KM
- From hyderabad - 1441 KM
Shopping in Bodhgaya
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.
Places to See in Bodhgaya
- Mahabodhi temple
- Prestshila Hills
Last Updated on : December 11, 2013