Bodh Gaya is a village in the state of Bihar. It was the site of the Buddha Shakyamunis enlightenment, and is the most revered of all Buddhist sacred sites. The main temple complex houses the famous MahaBodhi temple/stupa and a descendant of the original Bodhi Tree under which the Buddha gained enlightenment. There are also temples or monasteries from many other nations with a Buddhist tradition such as Thailand, Tibet and Japan. Understand Edit The MahaBodhi Temple The man who became the Buddha was born in Lumbini, now in Nepal. He was the son of the local ruler, raised in some luxury and well-educated by the standards of the place and time. As a young man he became a seeker of knowledge, giving up luxuries, travelling a good deal, and learning from several teachers. Bodh Gaya is where he achieved enlightenment while meditating under a tree. Get in Edit By plane Edit The nearest airport is at Gaya (10 km) - Druk Air flies from Bangkok once a week. Thai Airways flies to Gaya daily. Air India flies from several destinations including Kolkata and Delhi. 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. By car Edit 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, Mumbai, Pune, Bangalore, Lucknow and Hyderabad. The road is very rough and narrow so the journey can be quite slow and dangerous. It takes roughly three hours from Patna to reach, on best way is to avoid the Gaya market, as the roads are very narrow. By train Edit The nearest railway station is Gaya, sixteen km away. From there you can take a bus or a three-wheel taxi (rickshaw) to Bodh Gaya. Rickshaw prices are variable, but the going rate was ₹20 for shared ride or ₹150 for entire rickshaw no matter what time of the day in April 2015. There is rarely a shortage of rickshaws. The train from Patna (which as the nearest good size airport and railhead) to Gaya costs ₹25 for passenger train and ₹50 for express non-reserved seat . The fastest express trains in the early morning takes about two and half hours and slow passenger train takes about four hours, which is still comparable to buses. Trains leave one to two hour interval. Best train travel from Calcutta is about eight hours; from Delhi, about fifteen hours (2nd class air con costs ₹161 - book upstairs at Gaya station then pay downstairs at window 29). The road from Patna is in bad condition: the train is also recommended. By bus Edit Private buses leave in the morning for Varanasi, Nalanda, Rajgir, and overnight for Kolkata and Bhutan through Siliguri. Get around Edit Map of Bodh Gaya By car Edit By far the most convenient way to get around Bodh Gaya are the auto-rickshaws, cycle-rickshaws, and tourist taxis. As always, make sure to bargain and agree on a price before setting out on the trip. The costs are usually quite low ; a few rupees will likely get you most places in the city. Edit Bodh Gaya is very walkable. Most of the major destinations and are within two kilometers (about a half-hour walk) from the Mahabdohi Temple complex. There are lots of pilgrims visiting for much of the year , so the streets will have people in them. As with any location in the Bihar province, avoid walking in the streets alone at night. See Edit Most temples open from 6AM to sunset and close between noon and 2PM. Bodhi Tree : During the first week, the Buddha remained under the Bodhi tree. A descendant of this tree can be seen on the western side of the temple today. Animeshlocha Stupa : During the second week, the Buddha sat in a spot and stared at the Bodhi tree. This spot is now the Animeshlocha Stupa , or unblinking stupa, where a statue of Buddha sits staring at the tree in the northern part of the temple. Ratnachakrama : During the third week, the Buddha paced back and forth between the tree and the stupa. This path is marked by the Ratnachakrama (Jewelled Ambulatory), which is near the north wall of the main temple. Lotuses sprang up from where he walked, and today, there are raised stone lotuses marking his steps. Ratnaghar Chaitya : This is the spot where Buddha spent the fourth week, to the northeastern part of the temple. Ajapala Nigrodh Pillar : The Buddha spent the fifth week meditating and answering the questions of the Brahmans under the Ajapala Nigrodh tree, a spot which is commemorated with a large pillar, on the central path past the east entrance. Lotus Pond : The Buddha spent the sixth week next to the Lotus Pond, to the south of the main complex. Rajyatana Tree : The seventh and final week was spent under the Rajyatana Tree, whose spot is marked in the southeastern corner of the temple with an actual tree. The colossal 80-foot Buddha Statue in Bodh Gaya Do Edit Buddha statue in MahaBodhi Temple Bodh Gaya is essentially a pilgrimage destination for Buddhists and all of its main attractions are related to this. The subsidiary tourist industry that has grown up around it (shopping, eating, and accommodation) is not really the main attraction. Perhaps unique to Bodh Gaya are the rather cheesy CDs for sale near the temple entrance that purport to be monks chanting Buddhist texts. You will know whether you want to take this home with you! Whether youre a Buddhist or not, the main thing to do in Bodh Gaya is just to absorb the vibe of the place where the Buddha attained awakening: the vapour trail of that energy is still in the air ! Learn Edit While there is plenty to learn from just walking around in Bodh Gaya, there are some institutions that offer instruction specifically geared toward travellers and pilgrims. Eat EditDrink EditCoffee Edit Alcohol Edit While there are no alcohol outlets in Bodh Gaya, hotels and guesthouses serve beer (₹100-150), provided it is drunk indoors out of public view. Sleep Edit Monasteries Edit Monastery guest houses offer a cheap alternative to hotels, though guests are expected to adhere to their house rules. They do not charge fixed nightly rates, but instead accept donations (ask other guests for the going rate). There is a whole string of guesthouses just opposite the park from the MahaBodhi Temple. all pretty much the same well maintained with restaurants on the ground floor at around ₹200 a single. Another group of mostly simple guesthouses is north of Kalachakra Maidan. Budget Edit Mid-range Edit Connect Edit Internet Edit Most, maybe all internet cafes in town refuse to let you connect anything to the computer such as a camera or thumb drive, and they refuse to let you upload or download photos. Eyes Of Compassion Cyber Cafe (EOC) on Bodhgaya Road appears to be the only cafe in town that lets you use Skype or upload photos however you have to pay ₹5 per photo uploaded or ₹5 per minute that you use Skype. The internet is quite slow all over town. Near Om Restaurant, downstairs. Many of the restaurants listed in the Eat section also provide WiFi. Respect Edit Temples Edit Monks participating in prayer at MahaBodhi Temple As in many sacred places, you must take off your shoes before entering the inner parts of the main MahaBodhi Temple complex, as well as any of the monasteries around the area. In fact, due to this, it is recommend you wear sandals or shoes that are easy to slip on and off. A guideline more specific to MahaBodhi is to circumambulate the stupa and other sacred objects in a clock-wise direction. Although it should go without saying, do not climb onto statues, monuments and other sacred objects. As it is a very religious town filled with pilgrims and monks, dressing modestly is a sign of respect. Loose-fitting clothing should suffice. Sacred cow doctrine Edit As India is the home of the sacred cow doctrine, seeing cows wandering the streets of Bodh Gaya is not an uncommon sight. It is illegal to strike or otherwise offend cows, so refrain from doing this. Furthermore, be sure drivers of any rickshaws you are in are cautious, as hitting a cow with a vehicle is a very serious crime. Foreigners have been fined heavily for these offences. Beggars Edit For a non-Indian it is almost impossible to walk twenty meters in the streets without being accosted. Riksha-Wallahs and the hordes of beggars, particularly the groups of children sent to beg instead of going to school, are much more persistent than in other places. Go next Edit
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