Location: 17 km from Gaya District, Bihar
Buddhism is said to have originated in India and this is the reason why India is the host to a number of pilgrimage sites of the Buddhists. One of the most sacred sites of the Buddhists is situated in the Gaya District of the Bihar State. Known as Bodh Gaya, It is the same auspicious site where Gautam Budhha is said to have attained enlightenment under a tree.
Located on the banks of the Neranajana River, Bodh Gaya is a small village in Bihar which was earlier known as Uruwela. The history of this place dates back to 500 BC. After having wandered for years in search of the supreme knowledge, Prince Gautama Siddhartha sat under the Bodhi tree to meditate. After three days of profound meditation, he attained enlightenment and became Budhha, ‘the enlightened one’. Centuries after, the Mauryan Emperor Asoka revived and propagated Buddhism, and built innumerable sites for the Buddhist monks. The main monastery constructed by him is now a World Heritage Site called the Mahabodhi Temple.
A number of inscriptions and accounts document the history of this auspicious site. The place came to be known as Bodh Gaya only in the 18th century. There are many stories and beliefs associated with the origin and importance of this place. Bodh Gaya is considered to be extremely holy and is visited not only by Buddhists but people from all over the world. It is truly an enriching experience to visit such an ancient site that speaks greatly about the Buddha and the history of Buddhism.
How to get there: Bodh Gaya is easily accessible by air, railways and road. The nearest airport and railway station is at Gaya, 17 km from Bodh Gaya.
Beware of the deceitful tourist guides who might cheat you for extra money.
Be prepared to bargain heavily with the street vendors and shopkeepers.