Bodhgaya Bihar – Buddhism in India
BODHGAYA BIHAR – A Buddhist temple signifying Buddhism in India
Bodhgaya is an important Buddhist destination in India. Its landmark is the “Bodhi Tree” in Bodhgaya’s “Mahabodhi temple”. It is thronged by Buddhists from all over the world. It is commonly believed that Lord Buddha meditated under the same Bodhi tree. To add the respect it is called as “Sri” Mahabodhi tree. It is a fig tree which is very sacred which is considered a direct descendant of the original tree.
MAP TO REACH BODHGAYA FROM PATNA
Bodhgaya is in Eastern India in the district called as Bihar. The capital city of Bihar is Patna. We reached Patna from New Delhi and planned a road trip from Patna to Bodhgaya. The duration was approximately four hours.
WHAT I WENT FOR
Bodhgaya is one of the most revered places in the world one of the “most important” Buddhist destination in the world.
Last year I visited a beautiful country Sri Lanka and really enjoyed a lot. When I was returning back to India I saw so many pilgrims dressed up in white ready to go to India and visit this destination Bodh Gaya. In Sri Lanka when anyone knew we were from India they asked us a question if we have visited Bodhgaya and how lucky we are if we have done that. Being asked this question I realized I must plan my visit to Bodhgaya soon.
Though I have traveled to so many exotic destinations around the world, this one time I was wondering that why I have not been so lucky to have visited this spiritual place of Bodhgaya. It was then that I decided there that my next destination will be Bodh Gaya.
WHAT I DISCOVERED
Gautam Buddha is the main figure of Buddhism as an enlightened God. Buddha’s teachings are famous around the world. He has many followers.
Bodhgaya is a pilgrimage and a religious destination with the Mahabodhi temple complex. It is in the Eastern Indian state called as Bihar and Gaya is the district. It is the very place where Gautama Buddha has achieved enlightenment under the famous Bodhi tree.
I cannot forget to step into Bodhgaya which was very different from other parts of the state of Bihar.
The moment I entered Bodhgaya I saw a huge building which was a replica of the Patola palace of Tibet (My bucket list destination) and the roads were much cleaner. It was like I was stepping into a beautiful unseen destination.
The tranquillity and the peace in the atmosphere were unparalleled it was a beautiful small town with various Buddhist temples being built up by various countries from Around the World.
It is said that even if you follow a few of Buddha’s teachings your life can undergo a huge transformation. Visiting all the Buddhist destinations all this while I totally believe in this saying it is indeed transforming.
Buddha’s practices and teachings are followed in various part of the World and each country has built a temple here following its own rituals and architecture. Hence, there is a temple from Japan, China, Thailand, and Tibet or from Bhutan etc.
UNIQUE OFFERING – This place has Buddhist Temple from around the world!
Since I prefer “hopping” while traveling, whether it is beach hopping or Island hopping or as shared Puja hopping this time the traveler in me decided to go “temple hopping” of different kind of Buddhist temples.
I had a phase of Buddhist destination travel. I visited various locations in India and abroad where Buddhist temple are found as Buddhism is a religion. It was then I discovered that each place has a very different architecture of each of their Buddhist temple.I found that the shape of the temple, rituals and even the statue varies in each of the different countries, be it in Thailand, Sri Lanka, Bhutan, Tibet or Japan. The temple is unique in different countries and there was always something new I learned visiting them while traveling.
It was only when I started traveling extensively I realized the importance of spirituality and various religions. There’s so much one can learn in every religion. With huge respect towards each religion, I visit these spiritual destinations.
When I visited Bodhgaya, I found temples from each of these countries built here. I was thrilled as this made me remember each of my previous visit to various different Buddhist Temples around the world. A feeling I can not describe, as I visited a Japanese temple to come out and go to another Thai Temple and the Chinese Buddhist temple. It was a beautiful feeling to embrace the positive vibes here from around the world.
Yes, Bodhgaya is an amazing place where one can go, Temple Hopping, as there are many Buddhist Temple from around the world making it truly a global destination.
Bodhgaya-Japanese Buddhist Temple
I decided to see all kind of temples and compare the differences in various style. Without visiting Japan or Thailand or China one can visit their uniquely designed Buddhist temples here. One can see the rituals, architecture and various practices which are being followed and learn so much.
Bodhgaya – Chinese Buddhist Temple
Bodhgaya – Thai Buddhist Temple
Bodhgaya – Bhutanese Buddhist Temple
TIPS FOR PLANNING THIS TRIP
Dress Up Conservatively
The place is highly respected and one must consider dressing up accordingly.
Read about Buddhism
It is advisable to read about Buddhism and the history of this destination to understand the importance of this place.
Daytime travel is recommended
Further, this place is not commercially touristy and one must not expect to get very high facilities around. Safety measures are important during the road trip to avoid chaotic traffic conditions. Daytime travel is recommended.
Visit all temples
There are various temples from around the world. Each temple is unique and one must visit all the temples.
After visiting all the beautiful temples it was time for shopping. Souvenirs related to Buddhism cannot be found easily anywhere else in India. I picked up various Buddha statues small replicas of the Stupa and meditation bowls from this place.
Must visit the Great Buddha Statue
As if I wasn’t feeling blessed already I move towards this big Buddha monument which reminded me of Big Buddha in Phuket the place is Landmark for tourist photography.One must visit here to feel truly peaceful
TRAVELQUARTZ RECOMMENDED DESTINATIONS
After Temple Hopping, one must gear up for visiting the Mahabodhi Tree and the main temple complex.
One must finish the photography session as one leads to the main Complex of the Mahabodhi tree where photography is not allowed. So I don’t have pictures from that Complex since the camera was not allowed and I respect the reasons behind it but I can share my experience ahead.
I was super thrilled on visiting the most famous Mahabodhi temple complex and visiting the original Bodhi tree.
After standing in a small line we were able to enter the temple complex. The first view towards my right was the Mahabodhi Tree which is an original sapling (as per belief ) of the main “Sri Mahabodhi Tree” where Buddha has attained enlightenment. The area is covered by a small barricading.
Many pilgrims dressed in white yellow and various monks were sitting there to meditate on the tree and absorb the positivity of the atmosphere.
There is “Vajrasana” or diamond throne built there. This shrine was built as a monastery in past by Buddhist emperor Ashoka.
As shared in my previous blog of spiritual traveling I could instantly connect with the destination and felt the peace and tranquillity around. There was a sense of calmness peace and happiness, so much so that I was thankful to God that I was standing under the great tree. I was filled with gratitude.
MAHABODHI TEMPLE or MAHABODHI VIHAR
This is the main temple complex and also UNESCO World Heritage Site.
When I walked around the complex I could see very old architectural structures of stupa and meditation centers The architecture is one of the oldest and something I have never seen before. Further, I moved towards the main temple of Lord Buddha.
I was reciting the words “Buddham Sharanam Gacchami”. (I go to Buddha for refuge), I moved ahead and entered into the temple praying and convey my regards to the great Buddha statue.
I stayed hours there meditating and feeling the positive energy around me. It was a feeling I never felt before. I got moved by the environment and felt so thankful for reaching this pious place. A destination I would love to visit again.
MY NEXT VISIT
There is definitely much more to this definition then what I have shared and one needs to experience it at least once in a lifetime. I am planning to visit here and stay for few more days and learn more about Buddhism and take part in the rituals. There’s so much learn at this place.
No wonder I met pilgrims of Sri Lanka who were having their lifetime dream to visit one place in the entire world and that was Bodh Gaya in Bihar.
I am revisiting here once I learn more about Buddhism and regain the peace I felt there.
I feel lucky to have visited this destination and if you have felt the same way visiting some other place, then please leave the destination and experience details in the comments below.
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