Travel to Gaya


Gaya Travel



The town of Gaya, the headquarters of Gaya district in the state of Bihar, is one of the most important tourism and pilgrimage spots in the country. Situated next to the Phalgu River, it is the place where all Hindu families congregate to participate in the rituals and pay respects to their ancestors and other deceased members of the family. The Bodh Gaya region of the town is also a part of the international pilgrimage circuit of Buddhists.

The Vishnupad temple of Gaya and many interesting historical sites are to be seen in and around Gaya which attracts history buffs and tourists interested in archaeological ruins to this place. The existence of Bodh Gaya so near to Gaya city gives it a niche identity within international tourism networks and the amenities that are available are also of international standards.

Places to Visit

Gaya is an extremely auspicious pilgrimage spot for Hindus and there are many interesting places in and around the city that may appeal to different kinds of tourists.
  • The main attraction of Gaya is the Vishnupad Temple, one of the most important religious institutions for Hindus. This temple, built next to the Phalgu River, is said to have the footprints of Lord Vishnu himself.
  • On the banks of the river, Hindus from all over the country come to offer pind and propitiate their deceased ancestors and relatives.
  • The Brahmajuni Hills is another place of tourist interest from where one can get a beautiful bird's eye view of the entire city.
  • A little away from Gaya is the world famous temple town of Bodh Gaya where the Buddha is supposed to have attained salvation.
  • Bodh Gaya is a must-visit because of the beautiful Mahabodhi Temple, Sujata Garh and Dungeshwari Temple.
  • In and around Gaya are the Sudama Caves and the Lomash Rishi Caves, which are picturesque sites to go on picnics.
  • The Archaeological Museum at Gaya is also a very exciting attraction for history buffs.
Best Time to Visit

The city of Gaya experiences hot summers and equally cold winters. In the summers, temperatures may rise to 45 to 47 degrees Celsius and it is scorching and unsuitable for tourism. Most travellers avoid the city during the summer months. June, July and August sees the temperature turn humid, with medium to heavy rains. But winters and spring, with temperatures between 4 to 28 degrees Celsius, are perfect for travelling to this historical and holy city.

The winters are quite harsh, and tourists are advised to be prepared with enough warm clothing to deal with the cold. October to March is the peak tourist season for Gaya as the climate is comfortable and suitable for picnics and sightseeing and there are many fairs that take place in the city at this point. For tourists who are interested, a cattle fair happens next to the Phalgu River during the winter months.

How to reach

Gaya is very well connected to the rest of the country and internationally because of its esteemed status as both a Hindu and Buddhist pilgrimage spot.
The city has an international airport, the Bodh Gaya airport, which is connected very well with national and international cities via operators such as Air India, IndiGo, SpiceJet, Jet Airways, Druk Air, Mihin Lanka, Myanmar Airways International and Tai Airways International.

Gaya is also an important railway junction and is connected to several Indian cities via trains such as the Neelachal Express (Delhi), the Ranchi Rajdhani Express (Delhi), the Kolkata Mail (Kolkata, Mumbai) etc. One can also approach Gaya through Patna, which is also an important railway station connected to all major cities of the country. Gaya is approachable by road through buses under the Bihar State Road Transport Corporation with Bodh Gaya, Nalanda, Varanasi, Patna and Kolkata. Private cars, taxis and luxury Volvo buses are also available that connects the city to Patna and Kolkata.

Local Transport

Gaya is a very busy city and sees massive footfall of tourists, especially on pilgrimages, all throughout the year. Because of this, local transport in Gaya is very easy and systematic to navigate through. It is also a tourist-friendly and definitely pocket-friendly option.

While the ghats and the temples obviously require walking and exploring, the large local bus network under the Bihar State Road Transport Corporation caters to all other transportation needs of tourists. It is a safe and cheap local travelling option. Apart from this, there are auto rickshaws that ply throughout the city and connect to all the major sightseeing spots.

Taxis are also available throughout the city for the convenience of tourists. Private cars can also be hired to travel across Gaya. BSRTC buses, cars, taxis and auto rickshaws also connect the main city with Bodh Gaya and other outlying areas which are famous tourist spots.

Hotels

Gaya as an international tourism spot has many different accommodation options of international standard. There are also many budget hotels and dormitories to suit the needs of pilgrims coming from all over the country. Most of the budget hotels in Gaya are situated on the station road for ease of access. Some of the budget to mid-range hotels in the city are Hotel Viraat Inn, Hotel Rose Valley Gaya, Hotel Uruvela International, Hotel Ajatasatru, Hotel Roxy Dx, Hotel Laxmi International etc. These hotels give basic amenities and more luxury amenities such as internet, etc.

The Hotel Siddharth International is one of the most luxurious hotels in Gaya and has international standard comfortable rooms and luxurious amenities to which foreign tourists are habituated. It is also a much more expensive accommodation option.

Apart from this, there are various dharmashalas which dot the city, especially near the ghats, where a lot of pilgrims without formidable financial means stay.

Travel Tips

Gaya is a religious pilgrimage spot and while it is tourist-friendly clean and hygienic, there are a couple of things all tourists are supposed to keep in mind. It is also a spot for penance and holiness. It is important not to hurt religious sentiments in the city. Tourists are advised to be careful of the touts at the ghats who coordinate the pind-daan- services and often extract money from pilgrims.

Travellers visiting the temples both in Gaya and Bodh Gaya should be careful to take off their footwear before stepping into the premises. Winters in Gaya can be really harsh and tourists travelling during the winter months should stock up on enough warm clothing to combat the chill. Travellers who choose to indulge in some shopping near the temple area of Gaya city or in Bodh Gaya should be warned that the shopkeepers inflate the prices a great deal. Tough bargaining must be done in order to purchase the souvenirs at a fair price.

How many days are enough to travel

Gaya is a city with many treasures, appealing to different kinds of tourists. While Gaya is often treated as a weekend getaway from Patna, a trip to Gaya also includes a trip to Bodh Gaya, which would surely take about five days. Pilgrimages are often longer, whether for Hindus or for Buddhists, and Buddhist pilgrimages explore not just Bodh Gaya, but the adjoining areas such as Sarnath and Nalanda. This will take at least a week to explore the path of the Buddha more intimately.

Tourists who are interested in archaeology and history will also need about a week to explore Gaya and its suburbs which are full of surprises, as sites such as the Barabar Hills or Rajgir are an absolute must-see and definitely need more time to be explored.

Tourism department contacts

Gaya is a rather tourist friendly place and there are many tourism information centres dotted across the city. In Gaya as well as Bodh Gaya, there are many tourism kiosks available that can be accessed by international tourists for any kind of help.

Tourists are advised to contact these government- run kiosks and information centres instead of any private companies in order to get fair and safe information about the area. In this case, it is easier to avoid frauds and being swindled by touts who throng the pilgrimage spots. Following are the main contacts and telephone numbers of the main tourism offices in and around the area for the easy access of all kinds of tourists.

Bihar State Tourism Development Corporation
(A Govt.of Bihar Undertaking)
Bir Chand Patel Path,
Patna PIN-800 001
Bihar. India.
Phone: +91-612-2225411,
Fax: +91-612-2506218.
Email: bihartourism.bstdc@gmail.com
Web Site: http://bstdc.bih.nic.in/

Tourist Information Center
Gaya Railway Station
Phone: 0631-2223635

Bodh Gaya Tourist Information Center
Phone: 0631-2200672

Emergency Contact Numbers

Gaya is a fairly safe and secure tourist spot and all kinds of travellers from all across the world find it appealing and easy to navigate. Yet, tourists are strongly advised to remain on guard and travel safe. Touts are ubiquitous in this holy town and tourists are strongly advised to avoid them. While staying in dharmashalas, it is advisable to not carry any valuables or laptops etc, as the security of these establishments is not top-notch.

While going into the temples, it is advisable to not wear much jewellery and keep money bags and purses under special care in the midst of the great crowds inside. The following are some of the emergency contact numbers that travellers in Gaya can avail in case of any mishap or any other kind of information:
  • Police - 0631-420003, 2420110
  • Police Control Room - 100
  • Hospital - 061-2430577, 2229797, 2431503, 2421126
  • Ambulance Services - 102
  • Rail Reservation Enquiry - 138
  • General Railway Enquiry - 20283
  • Gaya Airport - 631-210129, 9431224694
  • Fire Brigade - 101


Last Updated on : 16/11/2013

     


     

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