Bodh Gaya is a religious site located in the Gaya district of Bihar. The place is popular as it is the place where Gautama Buddha to have obtained Enlightenment. This is the most important of the main four pilgrimage sites related to the life of Gautama Buddha.
The main places to visit in Bodhgaya include:
Mahabodhi Temple: This Buddhist temple is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is said that this is the place where the Lord Buddha attained enlightenment. The Chatras built at the top of Mahabodhi temple teaches the supreme power of the religion. There is a 9th century Shivalingam also inside the temple.
Vishnupad Temple: This is an ancient temple in Bihar located on the banks of Falgu River. It is considered that this temple was built on Lord Vishnu’s footprints and hence the name. The footprint here is 40 cms in length. There are images of various gods and goddesses in the large temple complex. There is a temple for Lord Narasimha in the courtyard of the temple. The eastern side of the temple is dedicated to God Shiva.
Dungeshwari Cave Temples: The temple got more spiritual importance as Lord Buddha spent many years here before he headed towards Gaya and enlightenment. The temple is popularly known as Mahakala caves. This is a good place for meditation.
Barabar Caves: These caves date back to Mauryan era that span between 322 BC and 185 BC. These are the most ancient surviving rock-cut caves in Bihar. Barabar caves are four caves of which the most amazing caves are Lomas Rishi caves. Its construction style is similar to that of wooden huts, which were home to Buddhist monks. There are many Hindu sculptures and Jain sculptures found in the caves. The inscriptions on the walls of the caves depict the history and growth of Buddhism.
Bodhi Tree: The Tree is considered holy by the followers of Buddhism as Buddha attained spiritual enlightenment here. The tree found now here is not the original tree, but is the fifth generation of the original tree. It is said that the original tree was uprooted by the Emperor Ashoka’s wife as she was jealous about the devotion of her husband to Buddha.
Chinese Temple & Monastery: The temple is located near to Mahabodhi temple. Here you can see the pure Chinese architectural style. There is a 200-year-old Buddha statue in the temple said to be from China. There are three golden statues of Buddha inside the temple.
There are many more tourist attractions in Bodhgaya such as Bodhgaya Archaeological Museum, Muchalinda Lake, Thai Temple and Monastery, Royal Bhutan Monastery, etc.
The best time to visit Bodhgaya is from November to March. The nearest railway station to Bodhgaya is Patna and the nearest airport to Bodhgaya is Gaya Airport.
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