Mahabodhi Temple:- The Mahabodhi temple is also called as the “Great Awakening Temple”. It is among one of the World Heritage Sites. It is a Buddhist temple in Bodh Gaya, which marks the location where the Buddha, is said to have attained enlightenment. It has a very calm and serene ambiance, which people from all walks of life can appreciate. Bodh Gaya is about 96 km from Patna, Bihar State, India.
Mahabodhi temple is a historical place at which the enlightenment of Gautam Buddha took place which later on became a place of pilgrimage. Many monks and devotees can be seen performing countless prostrations to the tree. It has a purificatory ritual and some monks are known to do up to 1,00,000 prostrations at one time.
The architecture of the place attracts tourists and pilgrims to the city of Bodh Gaya from far off places. The temple is built in the Dravidian style, as opposed to the usual Nagara style of temples.
- Open Time: 5:00 AM - 12:00 PM and 4:00 PM - 9:00 PM
- Best Time To Visit Bodh Gaya
October to March is ideal for a visit according to the weather conditions, but tourists flock here throughout the year. Post-October, a lot of monks, flock from Dharamshala to Bodh Gaya and the city is colored with maroon robes. Dalai Lama himself spends some time here during December and January. Visitors also flock here in the month of Vaisakh (April-May) to celebrate the Buddha Purnima, the auspicious day when Siddhartha had attained enlightenment.
- Summer (March - June) Summer temperature in Bodh ranges between 25 to 45 degrees Celcius. The hot and humid climate attracts fewer tourists during this season leading to drop in hotel prices.
- Monsoon (July - September) Monsoons bring high rainfall in the region. Rains bring down the temperature of Bodh and make the weather comfortable for sightseeing.
- Winter (November - February) Though winter mornings in Bodh are pleasant and ideal for sightseeing, the town receives chilly nights with dense fogs. Temperature ranges from 25 to 4 degrees Celcius during this season. The Kalachakra Festival is a major attraction in this season.
- How to Reach Mahabodhi Temple
Bihar State Tourism provides complete facility of traveling from Patna to Bodhgaya. Train facilities are also available from all cities to Bodhgaya at Bihar. Internal transport like autos and other vehicles are also available . Bodhgaya airport is also present 5km away from Gaya.
Siddhartha Gautama was a young prince, observed the suffering and the struggles of the world . He wished to end it, so he went to the banks of the river Phalgu which is near Gaya. He sat in meditation position under a peepal tree which later got its name as the Bodhi tree. After three days and three nights, he got enlightenment and sorted out everything .Later on, in that same location, Ashoka built the Mahabodhi temple .
Do not miss the sight when a number of monks and devotees worship together around the bodhi tree.
- Other Places To Visit In Bodh Gaya
1) Great Buddha Statue
This statue of Lord Buddha is the tallest in India and was instated by the XIV Dalai Lama in 1989. It is a meditating Buddha resting on a giant lotus, constructed using intricately carved sandstone and red granite.
2) Bodhi Tree
Bodhi tree is the most hallowed spot in town. It flourishes inside the Mahabodhi. In the months of October and November which is normally the favorable time to visit the place, many tibetan pilgrims come down from McLeod Ganj in Dharamsala and perform their worship.
- Open Time: Best time to visit : Nov to Mar
3) Tibetan Refugee Market
This market is paradise for shopping lover. It offers a large variety of winter-wears, handicrafts and souvenirs, etc.
4) Mahabodhi Temple Complex Book Store
This book store offers a wide range of collection of Buddhist books, books on Buddhist culture and history of Mahabodhi Temple.
5) Thai Monastery
Well known for its curved roof covered with exquisite tiles of gold, the Thai Monastery houses a bronze statue of Buddha and another recently erected 25m high statue in the garden.
6) Royal Bhutan Monastery
The Royal Bhutan Monastery has been named so, as it was built by the King of Bhutan as a dedication to Lord Buddha. Clay carvings are seen on the interior walls of the monastery that depict different aspects of the Buddhist culture.
7) Muchalinda Lake
A popular site at Bodh Gaya, the Muchalinda Lake is located next to the main temple. It is associated with a mythological tale stating that Lord Buddha was protected from the storm by Snake King Muchalinda.
8) Brahmayoni Temple
Devotees who wish to visit this temple must go through a grueling climb of 424 high stone steps to reach the top of the hill, atop which lies this temple.
Two caves namely Brahmayoni and Matreoni are also situated on the hill along with an ancient temple of Astabhujadevi. Brahmayoni hill was the place where Buddha preached the fire-sermon to a thousand former fire worshipping ascetics and it is said that each ascetic became enlightened after hearing his teachings.
9) Chinese Temple
Chinese Temple was constructed by Buddhist monks. It displays beautiful Chinese artwork with a statue of Lord Buddha within the sanctum.
Situated along the Bodhi Temple, Cankamana is a holy shrine featuring a carving of Lord Buddha’s feet into the black stone lotuses.
11) Indosan Nippon Japanese Temple
An outstanding example of Buddhist culture and Japanese architecture, this temple was built in 1972 with the help of International Buddhist communities.
The structure of the temple is carved out of wood and it looks like a Japanese shrine. It also showcases a lot of Japanese paintings narrating events from the life of Gautam Buddha.
- Open Time: 5am-12pm, 2pm-6pm
12) Vietnamese Temple
Vietnamese Temple is the most recently constructed shrine in the area and features a serene looking statue of Buddha which exudes a calming aura and appears to be smiling.
13) Vishnupad Temple
As the name suggests, this temple was built as a dedication to Lord Vishnu and features a 40 cm long footprint of Lord Vishnu that is enclosed by a basin made of silver plates.
This footprint marks the act of Lord Vishnu subduing Gayasur by placing his feet on Gayasur’s chest. Within the courtyard, there are other temples situated as well. One is dedicated to Lord Narasimha and another to Lord Shiva in the form of Phalgwisvara. This temple serves as a very significant place of worship for Hindus and is located in Gaya.
14) Jama Masjid
Jama Masjid is the largest mosque in the state of Bihar and dates back to around 200 years. It was built by the royal family of Muzaffarpur. The shrine is well known for its festival Shabina when the prayers are offered on the 27th night of Ramadan.
15) Kundan Bazaar
Kundan Bazaar is an ideal place for those looking for souvenirs to back home, books and other handicrafts of the region.