Bodhgaya is a holy place of pilgrimage that is situated in the Gaya district of Bihar in India. It is famous for the Mahabodhi Temple and the place where Buddha is believed to have received his enlightenment. Buddhists regard Bodhgaya as one of the four key pilgrimage sites that is associated with Gautam Buddha’s life. Below are some great ways to explore this holy place.
1. Visit Mahabodhi Temple, an UNESCO World Heritage Site
The Mahabodhi Temple Complex has a great significance since it is one of the four primary holy places of pilgrimage that is associated with Buddha’s life. It is supposed to be the place where Buddha obtained his enlightenment. Emperor Ashoka had constructed the first temple way back in the third century BC. The current temple was built either in the 5th or 6th-century BC. This Buddhist temple is unique in the sense that it is constructed entirely of brick. This was the first temple that was built by the great Emperor Ashoka.
Address: Bodhgaya, India
Website: Mahabodhi Temple
2. Enjoy gastronomical delights at Mohammad Restaurant
This restaurant is located at the Tourist Bus Park and right behind the market stalls. Mohammad Restaurant is regarded by many as one of the best restaurants in Bodhgaya. It offers a vast array of food with a broad menu from the Buddhist world for its guests. It is a multi-cuisine restaurant, and offers delectable Indian, Thai, Chinese and Tibetan food. It caters for the palate of the Western tourists too and serves several Western favorites including espresso coffee, to energize you after a hectic day of sightseeing, and also breakfasts. You just cannot miss the fresh fruit juices and opportunity to enjoy the outdoor seating, with a pleasant ambiance. It is a place where you will get great service, a great menu, great atmosphere and reasonable prices.
Address: Behind Shree Birla Dharmasala, Bodhgaya, Bihar 824231
3. A trip to Bodhisattva Tree where Buddha reached 'Enlightenment'
The famous Bodhi tree is situated at the Mahabodhi Temple. It is also referred to as the Sri Maha Bodhi. It is under this tree that Buddha got his enlightenment or ‘Bodhi’ while he was deep in meditation. There are some Buddhist texts that claim that the Lord Buddha had meditated under this tree continuously for seven days without even moving once. A shrine was constructed on the very spot where he had sat to meditate. This holy spot was also used as a shrine when Lord Buddha was alive. King Ashoka was extremely diligent and regularly paid homage to this holy Bodhi tree during his tenure. A festival is also celebrated every year in the month of Kattika as a mark of homage. The Bodhi Day is celebrated on December 8 every year to commemorate Gautama Buddha’s enlightenment under the Bodhi tree.
Address: Mahabodhi Temple, Bodhgaya, India
4. Visit Siam Thai to enjoy authentic Thai food
The Siam Thai restaurant enjoys proximity to the Mahabodhi Chinese Temple in Bodhgaya. It takes Bodhgaya’s Buddhist aura one step ahead. This friendly and warm restaurant is tastefully decorated with beautiful Buddhist paintings and motifs. It is the perfect melting pot for both food and art. The staff is friendly and helpful and will gladly assist you to make up your mind about what to order. The restaurant is air-conditioned and the service us quite prompt. It is located on the first floor of the building and is an apt place to enjoy a leisurely meal after a hectic day in the city. The delicious curries served here are made with authentic ingredients that are directly flown from Thailand. You can enjoy some intriguing starters like lamb kai (minced chicken with mint, lemongrass, and lemon) and fish cakes. You may even get addicted to the superb chicken paenang. The place is frequented by yellow-robed monks, who can recognize a delicious curry when they see it.
Address: Bodhgaya Rd., Bodhgaya, India
Website: Siam Thai
5. Great Buddha Statue: a Japanese style statue
This is a Japanese-style statue standing at an imposing height of 25 m (82 feet) and towers magnificently over a garden near the Temple Dt. The Dalai Lama unveiled this grand monument back in 1989. The statue is surrounded by ten smaller sculptures that represent the 10 disciples of Gautam Buddha. The Buddha statue is said to be partially hollow. Over the years, it has become a symbol of Bodhgaya and stands right next to the famous Mahabodhi Temple.
Great Buddha Statue
Address: off Temple St., Bodhgaya, India
Website: Great Buddha Statue
6. Be Happy Cafe: enjoy fresh coffee and Italian cuisine
This is a vegetarian and authentic pizzeria and bakery, which is situated in the heart of the town. The restaurant is located only 5-minute’s walking distance from the Mahabodhi Temple. The place uses the finest and freshest ingredients in its dishes like freshly roasted espresso beans, virgin olive oil, and imported dark chocolate. The bread and desserts are freshly made on a daily basis in the restaurant’s bakery and they make their salad dressings and sauces from scratch. If ordered, their pizza is baked on a thin crust with fresh mozzarella cheese and delicious homemade sauce. It is a cozy and quaint cafe and since the place is in high demand, reservations will ensure that you save time for your lunch.
Be Happy Cafe
Address: In front of the Vietnamese Temple, next to the Kalachakra Ground. Bodhgaya, Bihar, India
Facebook: Be Happy Cafe
7. Plan a trip to Dungeshwari Caves
These cave temples are also referred to as Mahakala Caves. The Dungeshwari Cave Temples are located approximately 12 km (7.4 mi) away from Bodhgaya in its north-east. Altogether, there are three caves, each containing beautiful Buddhist shrines. It is widely believed that Lord Buddha had meditated in these ancient caves. While the main caves contain holy shrines for the Buddhists, there is one for Hindus. These cave temples are also referred to as Sujata Sthan by the localities. Lord Buddha is believed to have spent years praying here before he went down to Bodhgaya.
Address: Bodhgaya, India
8. Archaeological Museum: a repository of rich Buddhist sculptures
Entrance Gate of Archaeological Museum BodhgayaPosted by Khin Zaw Naing Zaw on Thursday, 22 May 2014
The Archaeological Museum contains a rich collection of sculptures that are worth visiting. Most of the stone collections of Buddhist sculptures are headless, and these sculptures are of great historical importance, dating back to the time period between the 8th and 10th-centuries. The main highlight of this famous museum in Bodhgaya is a collection of sandstone and granite pillars and railings, that are around two thousand years old. These structures were brought here from the Mahabodhi Temple. Visitors are not allowed to take photos inside the museum.
Address: Off Bodhgaya Rd., Bodhgaya, India
Website: Archaeological Museum
9. Ram Sewak Tea Corner: enjoy your tea at a price to surprise you
If you are a budget traveler and want to sustain at rock-bottom cost, then this Dhaka-style food joint is just perfect for you. Though it is a roadside stand, you would love its lip-smacking snacks like dias, idli (South Indian rice cake), samosa, basic thalis, lassis, and sweets.
Ram Sewak Tea Corner
Website: Ram Sewak Tea Corner
10. Sujata Stupa: a celebration of devotion
This is a huge stupa that is located across the Fagu River in Bodhgaya. This stupa was constructed in the memory of Sujata, who was a cow-herder and fed Lord Buddha. Buddha was starving at that time and Sujata served him rice pudding. The meal ended Buddha’s seven long years of strict asceticism and thereafter following the Middle Way. This ancient stupa is made of brick and was initially painted white and covered with a lime plaster, and it is about a 20 minute walk from Bodhgaya.
Address: Sujata Stupa
Relax, unwind and embark upon a unique spiritual journey
So, come to Bodhgaya, Bihar. A place where you will get peace of mind and be able to unwind yourself spiritually. Make the most of your visit by following this list of things you can do during your visit.
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