Bodhgaya is the place where Gautama Buddha attained unrivaled, ultimate Enlightenment. This place is one of the holiest places among the 5 Buddhist circuits. Bodhgaya cause consciousness and apprehension of nature of impermanence. The city is also known as Bodh Gaya, located on a rocky bluff, in North East region of India in Bihar State. Bodhgaya’s ancient name was Uruvela, during Buddha era. Today Bodhgaya is growing city with a population of around 40,000 residents. The major tourist attraction of Bodhgaya is Bodhi Treeand Mahabodhi Temple; there are also Japanese, Tibetan Bhutanese and other shrines, temples and monasteries around both the spots. The ornately carved Mahabodhi Temple is the major tourist attraction, which has also been declared UNESCO Word Heritage Site in 2002. It preserves a huge Golden Buddha with an ancient railing, dating back to 100 BC.
Bodhgaya is also important religious place for the Hindus, ever year ‘Pitrapaksha Mela,’ fair (dedicated to ancestors’ dead souls) is held here. Accordingly to the methodical saying, that Lord Vishnu who is believed to have granted the power of cleansing one’s sins in this holy place. Once a demon named Gaya who somehow gained such a power, even God felt threatened by him; while demon was dying he demanded that the area covered by his huge dead body should be one of the holist place in the universe. And this land was named after demon Gaya, later become Bodhgaya.
However, Hindus have religious bound to visit Gaya after the demise of their parents for definite rites, for Pindan, to solace of the departed souls and ensures spiritual peace for them. This is fundamental belief of the ever pilgrim to invoke the witness of God, so that by offering prescribed rites for happiness and peace to free himself from the debt of his dead ancestors. These rituals are performed round the year; however most of Hindu followers visit during the annual fair in month of September every year. Even Lord Buddha when he was prince performed his first Pindan rituals for his dead ancestors at this place.
The major and most popular festivals is held every full moon of May each year, the festivals is called Buddha Jayani, the birth day of Lord Buddha. Buddha Mahotsava is one of the major annual fair, a three days celebration with full of spiritual and culture values. There is also Nyingma Monlam Chenmo and Kagyu Monlam Chenmo prayer for peace of the world, celebrated during January and February month every year.
Numbers of tourists especially from Asian countries flock to Bodhgaya to earn merit by visiting of holy sites where Prince Gautam attained the title of Lord Buddha. Through out the year, day and night specially during the pilgrimage and festivals season, the monks clad in colorful attire are found here meditating, studying Dharma lesson, marking offers to various statues and sputa’s on the site and circumambulating (walking around) scared Mahabodhi temple.
Best time to visit: November to February, the Buddha Birthday fair held in Month of May.
Places of Interest
Mahabodhi Temple, Bodhi Tree, Animesh Lochana Chaitya Temple, Ratnachankrama, The Bodh Gaya Museum, Chankramana, Ratnagarh, Tibetan Monastery, housing the Maitreya Buddha (future Buddha). Also Chinese Temple Burmese Temple, and Monastery, Buddhist Monastery of Bhutan, Thai Temple and Monastery.
Sun Temple: 32 kms: Temple of Sun Goa, splendid architecture similar of the Konark temple in Orissa.
Pretshila Hill: 12 kms. This place is just below there is Bramha Kund (pond) for religious holy dip for Pind Dan. On the top of the hill there is temple made in 1787 built by Queen of Indore.
Vishnupad Temple: 12 kms: There is a Vishnu Temple on the bank of river Falgu. Built in 1787 Queen Ahilya Bai built the Vishnu temple on the banks of river Falgu.
Barabar Caves: 41 kms: It is an important archaeological site. The caves built in 3rd century, carved out from solid rocks bear details of the life of the Buddha.
Other Excursions: Dungeshwari: 12 kms, Muchalinda Lake 3 kms, Gaya: 12 kms, Rajgir: 80 kms, Nalanda: 96 kms 96 kms, Pawapuri: 114 kms.
By Air:Nearest Airport is Gaya 12 kms. Well connected by air to Kolkata, other optional airport is Patna 187 well connected with all major towns of India.
By Rail:Nearest Railways Stations is Gaya well connected with Patna, Varanasi, Kolkata, Puri, and New Delhi.
By Road:Gaya: 17 kms, Rajgir 78 kms, Nalanda102 kms, Patna 135 kms, Varanasi 255 kms, Kolkata 497 kms.