Bodh Gaya, a quaint village in Bihar, positioned on the banks of the Neranjana River is revered as a pious site especially for Buddhists from all across the globe. With an array of Buddhist monasteries and pilgrim sites, Places to visit in Bodh Gaya offer a perfect vacation for the ones seeking a soul soothing experience. From the UNESCO World Heritage Site, Mahabodhi Temple to the colossal 80-ft. Great Buddha Statue, and the sacred Bodhi Tree, there are numerous elements that make Bodh Gaya a perfect destination to spend a few days. Check out the best attractions to add in your itinerary and experience the best of Bodh Gaya.
10 Places To Visit In Bodh Gaya
While planning a trip to this tranquil place, stop by these intriguing places and enjoy a vacation like never before.
1. Mahabodhi Temple
Famously known as the “Great Awakening Temple”, Mahabodhi Temple is a major Buddshist site showcasing the excerpts from Lord Buddha’s Life. The attraction features great remnants from 5-6th century AD. The gigantic 170 ft. temple stands as a cylindrical pyramid, called shikhara on the 48 sq. ft. basement. Atop the temple are the Chataras depicting sovereignty of religion. You can visit the temple any day of the week between 5:00 am to 9:00 pm.
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2. Thai Monastery
Positioned just 650 meters away from Mahabodhi Temple, Thai Monastery or Wat Thai Buddhagaya exhibits a perfect blend of Thai and Buddhist architecture. The 25-meter high bronze statue of Lord Buddha inside is the epicenter of the monastery. The sloping roof embellished with golden tiles is an epitome of classic Thi architecture. To imbibe the tranquil aura of this monastery, attend meditation classes that are every morning and evening.
3. Great Buddha Statue
Boasting an impressive height of 80 ft. Great Buddha Statue is one of the top attractions in Bodh Gaya that possesses a great holy significance. The open-air statue represents Buddha in a deep state of meditation on a lotus spreading peace and harmony. This colossal statue with a combination of sandstone and red granite blocks took seven years to complete with 12,000 stonemasons. Inside the statue is a hollow spiral staircase leading you up to the chest and also around 16,300 small bronze images of the Buddha.
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4. Bodhi Tree
Image Credit: Ken Wieland for Wikimedia Commons
Bodhi Tree is a huge holy tree which is known for its sheer sacredness and is considered as the direct descendent of the original bodhi tree. As per the belief, Buddha attained enlightenment while meditating underneath this tree for seven weeks without moving from his position. There is a shrine on the same spot where he meditated which is called Animisalocana cetiya. You can also meditate under the same tree to experience the ultimate detoxification of mind and soul.
5. Indosan Nippon Japanese Temple
Built in 1972, Indosan Nippon Japanese Temple is an epitome of Japanese architecture. Having a great semblance with Japanese shrines, Indosan Nippon Japanese Temple is carved out of wood. Besides this, the temple features numerous Japanese paintings illustrating the life of Buddha. The prime goal to construct this temple is to preserve Buddhism and spread its teachings including the spiritual thoughts of Lord Buddha. The temple is open throughout the week from 6:00 am to 12:00 pm and from 2:00 pm to 6:00 pm.
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6. Dungeshwari Cave Temples
Image Credit: Hiroki Ogawa for Wikimedia Commons
Located at a distance of 13.9 km from Bodh Gaya, Dungeshwari Cave Temples is another prime attraction relating to Buddha’s life. Also known as Mahakala caves, Dungeshwari Cave temples is said to be the place where Buddha spent six years before descending to Bodh Gaya for enlightenment. Apart from the Hindu and Buddhist shrines, the cave captivates travelers for its peaceful aura.
7. Bodhgaya Archaeological Museum
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Enjoying the vicinity of Mahabodhi Temple complex, Bodhgaya Archaeological Museum features a wide collection of artifacts, sculptures, and antiques based on Hinduism and Buddhism from 2nd century BC to 11th century CE. Inaugurated in 1956 by the 14th Dalai Lama Tenzin Gyatso, the museum has three prime galleries, apart from the portico and corridor. The museum’s exceptional collection including intriguing images of Buddha, Manjusri, Maitreya, and other prominent figures from Buddhism makes it one of the best places to visit in Bodh Gaya.
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8. Muchalinda Lake
Image Credit: Chandan Singh for Wikimedia Commons
Named after the serpent King Muchalinda, Muchalinda Lake is one of the most sacred places to visit in Bodh Gaya, Bihar. As per the legend, it is the spot where Buddha spent the sixth week while attaining enlightenment. While he was meditating by the side of Muchalinda, a thunderstorm struck and the serpent king emerged as a shield to Buddha. The main sculpture here is of Budha and the snake around him as a protector. The clean waters of the lake and lush greenery around it make it a sight for sore eyes.
9. Barabar Hill Caves
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Built during the Mauryan Empire 322–185 BCE, Barabar Caves is among the best tourist places near Bodh Gaya which is around 43.1 km from it. The cave takes pride in being the oldest surviving rock-cut caves in India. The USP of the caves is their state-of-the-art architecture with sharp cuttings of the rock giving a fair competition to today’s high-end structures. Barabar Hill is a cluster of four hills including Karan Chaupar, Sudama, Visvakarma, and Lomas Rishi. Although these are hill caves, you will also find a few Jain and Hindu sculptures.
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10. Royal Bhutan Monastery
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Built as a tribute to Lord Buddha by the King of Bhutan, Royal Bhutan Monastery is among the top places to visit in Bodh Gaya. The monastery showcases the excerpts from Gautam Buddha’s life with fascinating 3-dimensional clay carvings. The marvelous architecture, a seven feet tall structure of Buddha, and a serene aura around the monastery truly deserves your attention. Apart from exploring the monastery, you can indulge in some moments of meditation to feel the calm within you.
Replete with the serene aura of Buddhism, Bodh Gaya is a one-of-a-kind destination that instantly leaves ones enthralled. Moreover, spots like Mahabodhi Temple, Bodhgaya Archaeological Museum, Thai Monastery, Muchalinda Lake, Bodhi Tree, and Great Buddha Statue allow you to explore the best of this tranquil village. So, when you plan your next trip to Bihar, don’t forget to visit these best Places to visit in Bodh Gaya and indulge in experiences that your soul will thank for.
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Frequently Asked Questions About Places to Visit in Bodh Gaya
Which are some best places to see in Bodh Gaya?
Some of the best places to visit in Bodh Gaya are:
1. Mahabodhi Temple
2. Bodhgaya Archaeological Museum
3. Thai Monastery
4. Muchalinda Lake
5. Bodhi Tree
6. Great Buddha Statue
When is the best time to visit Bodh Gaya?
The ideal months to visit Bodh Gaya are between October to March when the weather is pleasant and the temperature ranges from 17°C to 35°C. During this time, you can enjoy visiting the best places in and near Bodh Gaya.
Can I visit Bodh Gaya during the current Covid situation?
Yes, you can plan a visit to Bodh Gaya during the current Covid situation. However, make sure that you are completely vaccinated and always carry your vaccination certificate. Besides this, you need to follow government protocols that include wearing a mask when in public, sanitizing hands at certain intervals, and maintaining social distance.
How many days are enough for exploring Bodh Gaya?
A trip of 1-2 days would be enough to witness the best of Bodh Gaya including attractions like Mahabodhi Temple, Bodhgaya Archaeological Museum, Thai Monastery, Muchalinda Lake, Bodhi Tree, Great Buddha Statue, and more.
Which are the best hotels in Bodh Gaya?
Here is a list of some of the best hotels in Bodh Gaya:
1. Marasa Sarovar Premiere, Bodhgaya
2. Hotel Bodh Vilas
3. Maha Bodhi Hotel.Resort.Convention Centre
4. Maya Heritage
5. Oaks Bodhgaya
6. Niranjana Hotel Bodhgaya
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