Bodh Gaya

Bodhgaya is one of the most sacred and important Buddhist pilgrimage centres in the world and an active International Buddhist centre. Situated in the State of Bihar, Bodhgaya is one of the four most important Buddhist pilgrimage sites, the other three being Lumbini, in Nepal - the place of Siddhartha Gautam’s birth, Kushinagar, near Gorakhpur – the place where he left his mortal body and Sarnath, near Varanasi – where Buddha gave his first sermon after enlightenment.

Bodhgaya is revered deeply as a place of significance amongst Buddhists as it was here, in Bodhgaya, that Siddhartha Gautam attained supreme enlightenment and thence came to be known as Buddha ‘the enlightened one’.

Bodhgaya remained hotbed for Buddhism till the 13th century when it was invaded and conquered by the Turks. Today, a little more than a village, Bodhgaya houses every possible kind of Buddhist temple and monastery – Thai, Korean, Tibetan and Vietnamese… built by devotees from all over the world and is flocked by millions of pilgrims and tourists every year.


The Dalai Lama often visits Bodhgaya and usually spends December and January here. During the Dalai Lama’s visit, Bodhgaya comes to life and several courses are run here. One can learn meditation techniques, enrol for introductory courses in Buddhist teachings or even study Pali, the language in which Buddhist scriptures were originally written.


 Things to Do in Bodhgaya

Learn Meditation Techniques

Learn Buddhist Teachings

Study Pali

One can enroll for a short yoga course at the Bihar School of Yoga, Munnar, World’s first accredited Yoga University.


What to Buy and Where in Bodhgaya

Bodhgaya has a range of things to offer for shopaholics. While the hot favourites and must buy remain Religious Art, Buddhist Books, good-luck charms and ornaments, you can check out Refugee market for sweaters, blankets, shawls and finely woven carpets.


 Around Bodhgaya


You can make a day-trip to Rajgir and visit the shrines around and have a taste of local cuisine. Earlier called Rajagriha, this is where Siddhartha had disowned his princely stature and began living like an ascetic.



38 km from Rajgir is a small place called Pawapuri where Lord Mahavira breathed his last. Pawapuri is home to a famous Jalmandir which pulls hordes of tourists throughout the year.


Dungeshwari caves

To the North-east of Bodhgaya are the Mahakala or Dungeshwari caves where Buddha practiced severe starvation and self-denial with five ascetics who became his followers. However starvation so weakened his body that one day, Siddhartha collapsed and fell into a river and almost drowned, when a cobra came to his rescue. It was then that he reconsidered his path.




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