Bihar, Travel, Hotel, Accommodation, India


Bodh Gaya

  Bodh Gaya or Bodhgaya बोधगया) is a city in Gaya district in the Indian state of Bihar. It is famous for being the place of Gautama Buddha's attainment of nirvana (Enlightenment).

Historically, it was known as the Bodhimanda Uruvela, Sambodhi, Vajrasana and Mahabodhi. The name Bodh Gaya did not come into use until the 18th century. The main monastery of Bodhgaya used to be called the Bodhimanda-vihāra (Pali). Now it is called the Mahabodhi Temple.

For Buddhists, Bodh Gaya is the most important of the main four pilgrimage sites related to the life of Gautama Buddha, the other three being Kushinagar, Lumbini, and Sarnath. In 2002, Mahabodhi Temple, located in Bodh Gaya, became a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The surrounding town, by contrast, is dusty, noisy and somewhat polluted, due in large part to the large numbers of pilgrims and tourists who visit there. A new development plan has been proposed to "ensure a sustainable and prosperous future" for Bodh Gaya, but has become controversial because such a plan may require the relocation of whole neighborhoods.

According to Buddhist traditions, circa 500 BC Prince Gautama Siddhartha, wandering as an ascetic, reached the sylvan banks of Falgu River, near the city of Gaya. There he sat in meditation under a bodhi tree (Ficus religiosa). After three days and three nights of meditation, Siddharta attained enlightenment and insight, and the answers that he had sought. He then spent seven weeks at seven different spots in the vicinity meditating and considering his experience. After seven weeks, he travelled to Sarnath, where he began teaching Buddhism.

Disciples of Gautama Siddhartha began to visit the place where he had gained enlightenment during the full moon in the month of Vaisakh (April-May), as per the Hindu calendar. Over time, the place became known as Bodh Gaya, the day of enlightenment as Buddha Purnima, and the tree as the Bodhi Tree.

The history of Bodh Gaya is documented by many inscriptions and pilgrimage accounts. Foremost among these are the accounts of the Chinese pilgrims Faxian in the 5th century and Xuanzang in the 7th century. The area was at the heart of a Buddhist civilization for centuries, until it was conquered by Turkish armies in the 13th century.

How to go to visit Bodh Gaya?

By plane

The nearest airport is at Gaya (16 km) - Druk Air flies from Bangkok once a week. Thai Airways flies to Gaya daily. Indian Airlines flies from Kolkata on Fridays at 10.00 a.m. and Returns back on Mondays from Gaya at around 15.00 hrs.

Alternatively, you may take a flight to the Patna Airport (110 km away) and take a train or a taxi to Bodh Gaya as Patna has multiple daily direct flights to Delhi, Kolkata and Mumbai. Alternatively if you need suggestion you can also take help of travel agency.

By car

One may take a flight to the Patna Airport (110 km away) and take a train or a taxi to Bodh Gaya as Patna has multiple daily direct flights to Delhi, Kolkata , Mumbai, Pune , Bangalore, Lucknow and Hyderabad. Amba Travels specializes in car rental services from Patna.

By train

The nearest Railway station is Gaya (16 km). From there you can take a bus or a three wheel taxi to Bodh Gaya. Three-wheel taxi price is extremely variable, depending on time of day, but should be between 80-120 Rs. You should bargain considerably, there is rarely a shortage of service.

The train from Patna (which as the nearest good size airport and railhead) to Gaya costs 34 rupees (as of January 2008). The express trains take about two hours. Best train travel from Calcutta is about 8 hours; from Delhi, about 15 hours (2nd class air con costs 161 book upstairs at the gaya station then pay downstairs at window 29).

The road from Patna is in bad condition at the moment, train is also recommended.

By bus

There is a main road connecting Bodhgaya and Gaya. The Bihar State Tourist Development Coporation (Tel: 0612-225411) runs daily deluxe bus services to and from Bodh Gaya. Buses for Varanasi to Bodhgaya, Bodhgaya to Nalanda, Rajgir, Kathmandu.

Sightseeing and place to see in Bodh Gaya.

Most temples open from 6 am to sunset and close between noon and 2 pm.

*** Bodhi Tree - it is believed that this tree is a direct descendant of the one under which the Buddha Sakyamuni attained enlightenment, inside the Mahabodhi complex.

*** Mahabodhi Stupa.

*** Thai Monastery.

*** 80-foot Buddha Statue.

*** Japanese temple (Indosan Nippon), Temple Road, 2200743. 5am-6pm. Daily meditation at 6 AM and 5 PM.

*** Archaelogical Museum, closed Fridays, IR 2 (foreigners and locals alike)

*** Tergar Monastery, Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche

*** Phowa Center, Choeje Ayang Rinpoche

*** Gendhen Phelgyeling Monastery.

*** Karma Dhargye Chokhorling Monastery, Beru Khyentse Rinpoche

*** Root Institute, Zopa Rinpoche

*** Kagyu Monlam Chenmo, prayer festival, January

*** Nyingma Monlam Chenmo, prayer festival, January/February

*** Bodhgaya Multimedia Museum, Located next to the Mahabodhi Temple,Open all 7 days of the week. Museum provides the historical and Geographical context for the life of Buddha through a set of Multimedia films and 3D Animation movie. Phone:9199778545.

*** Barabar caves, the oldest surviving rock-cut caves in India, mostly dating from the Mauryan period (322185 BCE), and some with Ashokan inscriptions, located in the Jehanabad District, 24 km north of Gaya.

Place to sleep / Hotels in Bodh Gaya. Visitors, tourist can book hotels online.

*** Bhutan Monastery. checkin: 30.12.2011; checkout: 11.1.2012. Pleasant but basic single and family rooms, some with private bathroom.

*** Burmese Vihara, Gaya Road. Very basic accommodation. The Vihara exists mainly to cater to groups of Burmese pilgrims, but there are often rooms available for others. Rules are posted prominently. Food service is only for those arriving in groups, and by prior arrangement.

*** Mahabodhi Society. Private rooms and dorms available.

*** Rainbow Guesthouse, next to Burmese Vihara on Gaya Road. Basic rooms, are cleaned more thoroughly on request, friendly and reliable staff.

*** Sakya Monastery Guesthouse, Mastipur Village (Near Bhutan Monastery), 91 631 2200770. Clean, simple, friendly, peaceful and calm environment.

***Siddhartha Vihar, Bihar Tourist Complex,  ''+91 631'' 220-0445. Simple, but comfortable rooms.

*** Hotel Sujata, Buddha Marg, +''91 631'' 220-0481/220-0761/220-0011 fax: ''+91 631'' 220-0511). checkin: 1- 03-09; checkout: 3-03-09. Clean environment and good restaurant.

*** Welcome Guest House, 2 mins walk from Tamplenear Mahabodhi Temple (opp-jayprakash prak), +91 631'' 2200377. checkout: Noon. Welcome Guest House offers cheap and pleasant rooms in the center of town.

*** Royal Residency, Domuhan Road,+91 631'' 220-0124 (fax: ''+91 631'' 220-0181). Comfortable rooms with Japanese style same-sex communal hot tub.

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