Considered the crucible of Buddhism, Bodhgaya is a small temple town that serves as a holy pilgrimage site, centred on Buddhist traditions, meditation, temples and monasteries. Travellers enjoy exploring ancient traditions and sampling multi-ethnic cuisine.
Things to do in Bodh Gaya
One of the most sacred sites for Buddhist pilgrims in north-east India, Mahabodhi Temple in Bodh Gaya sits on the Niranjana River, marking the sacred spot of Buddha’s enlightenment beneath the Bodhi Tree. The 55-metre-high temple comprises a central tower carved with arch motifs and engravings, surrounded by four corner towers and topped with an expansive dome.
The entire Mahabodhi Temple Complex is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, which also harbours the sacred Lotus Pond and meditation garden. You can view the emperor Ashoka’s stone slab marking the position where the Buddha sat. A small market at Mahabodhi sells colourful scarves, handcrafted textiles, jewellery, brass bells and various artefacts.
See the 25-metre-high Great Buddha Statue on Temple Street, dedicated to the Dalai Lama. The inside of the giant Buddha reportedly holds up to 20,000 small bronze Buddhas. Don’t miss the Bodhgaya Multimedia Museum showcasing 2,500 years of Buddhism through 3D animation, film and music.
You can try multinational cuisine from Tibet, Thailand, China and India in places such as Mohammad Restaurant, which also serves Western-style breakfasts and espresso drinks. Siam Thai is a popular place for massaman curries, fish cakes and larb kai with lemon.
Getting around Bodh Gaya
You can reach Bodhgaya by car, bus or three-wheel taxi, using the main road from Gaya, about 16 kilometres away. Buses operate between the two cities, along with taxis, tongas and auto rickshaws.