I sat near some monks whilst they were being called to prayer. It's a nice experience to see them chant and perform their Buddhist rituals whilst only sitting a few feet away. They seem to like having you observe them. They come from all of the nearby monasteries and so where different coloured robes to indicate where they originate from. Tibetan monks where red whilst yellow is worn in southern countries.
Bodh Gaya is a must for every Budhist
"Temples Temples Temples"
Now if you are a budhist, or just interested in budhism, this place is an absolute must! This is the place where Budha found enlightenment under the Bodhi tree. The great-great-great-great....grandchild of the original tree is located in the very heart of Bodh Gaya, with the famous Stupa right by it´s side. Go there on full moon, and you´ll see 10´000 candles burning at night, all over the temple area. A very breathtaking sight!
Every Country with Budhism has built at least one temple there, and my absolute favorite is the Butanese temple. The Butanese are famous for their sculptures, and they modeled Budhas life onto the walls, it is VERY impressive. If you want to live cheaply, drop into the burmese guest house (temple). I´ts on the street to Gaya.
"Things to see"
As mentioned the Burmese temple is very Impressive. The Japanese built an enormous Budha-statue, but it lacks the creative spirit, because it was designed by a computer. The Chinese one is rather minimalistic, and the Tibetans built three temples, for every lineage one.
Infront of the main Stupa (with the Bodhitree) you can change your money from paper to coins, to give to the beggars, it increases your good karma. You´ll make a small loss of course. And please don´t get talked into buying chokolate for the kids, or milkpowder for the mothers with children. The mikpowder just get´s sold back to the shopowner, and the kids could do with a decent meal, instead of sugar.
The Mahakalla Caves arent too far away, and one can hitch a ride with a donkey-kart, wich is quite some fun.
The way up to the cave is a bit strenuous, not only because of the steepness of the slope, but also because of the beggars. Some of them are in a terrible state.
And if you are there for Holy, be prepared to give away your clothes afterwards, the riksha drivers will always aprechiate some "new" clothes. The people have enormous fun by throwing dyed water at people (especialy kids). It was hilarous!
But don´t leave the hotel or guesthouse befor 10 AM because the poorest people can´t afford the paint, so they use muck, and that´s quite disgusting... but there´s an unwritten law, that after 10 AM it´s not allowed anymore. And be warned, that pale westeners are favored targets, especialy if they are traveling on a donkey-kart (a slow-moving-target ! ).
The other thing to see is their New Years Eve. It´s on a Full Moon, a few weeks after the 1. Jan. The people light up torches and have a procession up the Hill north of Bodh Gaya, a very nice sight.