Bodh Gaya Things to Do

  • Things to Do
    by Willettsworld
  • Things to Do
    by Willettsworld
  • Things to Do
    by Willettsworld

Best Rated Things to Do in Bodh Gaya

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    Namgyal (Tibetan) Monastery

    by Willettsworld Written Jul 24, 2007

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    If you never get the chance to go to Tibet then this monastery and temple allows you to sample what the country has to offer with its beautiful colourful wall paintings and large prayer wheels (Dharma Chakra or Wheel of law). It is believed that an aspirant will be freed of sin if he or she spins the wheel three times in succession from left to right. The wheel is a 10m (33 ft) high metal drum painted gold and red. The abbot Ven. Ngawang Samten built Gandhen Phelgyeling Bodhgaya Monastery on the 3rd of February, 1938. He built this monastery with the intention of giving his most sincere service to the progress of the Buddha Dharma. He sought help from the government of Tibet and worked hard for many years gathering offerings and material supplies from India and the Kham province in eastern Tibet. He built the monastery, providing it with all the sacred images and holy texts. The primary image of Lord Maitreya stands 13 feet tall. Along with this there are three complete sets of Buddha’s discourses and one set of treatises composed by Indian scholars. More photos can be found in one of my travelogues.

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    Falgu River

    by Willettsworld Written Jul 24, 2007

    The Falgu River is one of the tributaries of the river Ganges. There is reference to the city of Gaya and the Falgu River in the Hindu epic of Ramayana. Hindu mythology states that Sita who was wife of Lord Rama has cursed the Falgu River. This is an interesting story and the mythology states that on account of this curse, Falgu River lost its water, and the river is simply a vast stretch of sand dunes. This is very apt as there wasn't much water around when I visited. The long low bridge that crosses the Falgu is called the Sujata Bridge named after a village girl who fed Buddha milk and rice pudding before he attained enlightenment.

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    Myanmar Vihar

    by Willettsworld Written Jul 24, 2007

    In 1883 the Mahabodhi Temple underwent restoration and a marble inscription records that "Burmese greatly contributed". A Burmese temple was added to the ensemble in 1936 and was given the name Myanmar Vihar, meaning "Burmese adobe." The temple has a community of Burmese monks, led for the past 30 years by abbot Baddanta Nyarnainda, who joined the monastery while on a Burmese state-sponsored mission to India's Assam state.

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    Vegetable sellers

    by Willettsworld Written Jul 24, 2007

    I like walking around street markets and shops and even inside supermarkets in foreign countries. There are a row of people selling fruit and vegetables along the side of the road on the bend where the main road come into the town from Gaya. Despite the levels of poverty in Bihar, there were plenty of sellers selling what looked like fairly good quality produce.

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    Buddha Gaya Dharmashala

    by Willettsworld Written Jul 24, 2007

    In amongst all the Buddhist goings-on lies this Hindu Dharmashala (pilgrim's rest house) which was built in 1944. It was built through the charity of Shreeman Raja Seth Baldev Dass Birla of Pilani, Jaipur.

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    Chinese Shechen Monastery

    by Willettsworld Written Jul 24, 2007

    Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche (1910-1991) planned to construct a monastery of the Nyingma School in Bodhgaya so that its rich tradition would also be present here. Accordingly, in 1996, a monastery complex was built under the direction of Shechen Rabjam Rinpoche and with the participation of dedicated volunteers and donors. The statue of Buddha in the Chinese Temple is 200 years old and was brought from China. More photos can be found in one of my travelogues.

    Open: 6am-12pm and 2pm-6pm.

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    Archaeological Museum

    by Willettsworld Written Jul 24, 2007

    This small museum opened in 1956 and exhibits stone sculptures of Buddhist and Hindu faiths as well as figures of Buddha. The main exhibit are four of the original sculpted stone railings that used to surround the Mahabodhi Temple that date from the 2nd century BC.

    Open: 10am - 5pm. Closed on Fridays. Admission: Rs2 for all.

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    Thai Monastery

    by Willettsworld Written Jul 25, 2007

    The Thai Temple is the best of the temples architecturally as it has a typical sloping, curved roof covered with golden tiles. Inside, the temple holds a massive and spectacular bronze statue of Buddha. It really took me back to my visit to Bangkok a few years ago. The temple was built in 1957, to mark 2500 years of Buddha, by the Jing of Thailand. More photos can be found in one of my travelogues.

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    Karma Temple

    by Willettsworld Updated Jul 25, 2007

    This Tibetan temple on Temple St near the Big Buddha statue in beautifully decorated inside and out. The exterior features wonderful wall paintings as does the inside which chart Buddha's life including his enlightenment at Bodh Gaya. Well worth a visit and more photos can be found in one of my travelogues.

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    Daijokyo Buddhist Temple

    by Willettsworld Written Jul 25, 2007

    The next temple along on Temple St towards the Big Buddha statue is this, the Japanese Daijokyo Buddhist Temple. It was inaugurated by H.E. Shri Giani Zail Singh, a former President of India on the 13th February 1983. Outside the temple in the garden lie dozens of lanterns.

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    Great Buddha Statue

    by Willettsworld Written Jul 25, 2007

    At the end of Temple Road lies this 25 metre high Buddha statue that was unveiled by his Holiness the Dalai Lama on the 18th November 1989. The statue itself is made out of blocks of pink sandstone and stands on a lotus flower on top of a pedestal that are made out of yellow sandstone and red granite. The statue is flanked by ten chief disciples of Buddha which were erected in 1996.

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    Indosan Nipponji (Japanese) Temple

    by Willettsworld Written Jul 25, 2007

    This was my favourite temple out of all the ones in Bodh Gaya apart from the Mahabodhi Temple of course! Its roof is shaped like a pagoda and inside are two huge paintings of crowds that are looking towards the main central buddha statue on the altar.

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    Bhutanese Monastery

    by Willettsworld Written Jul 25, 2007

    This is probably the closest I'll ever get to Bhutan. The temples interior features three Buddha statues and is beautifully decorated with paintings. The buildings outside represent Bhutanese architecture that I remember seeing from Michael Palin's Himalayan TV series when he visited the country. However, I don't think they have palm trees there!

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    Mahabodhi Temple

    by Willettsworld Updated Jul 25, 2007

    The Mahabodhi Temple (meaning "Great Awakening Temple") is the location where the location where Siddhartha Gautama, the Buddha, attained enlightenment under a Bodhi tree some 2,500 years ago. In approximately 250 BC, about 250 years after the Buddha attained Enlightenment, Buddhist Emperor Asoka visited Bodh Gaya with the intention of establishing a monastery and shrine. As part of the temple he built, the diamond throne (called the Vajrasana), attempting to mark the exact spot of the Buddha's enlightenment, was established. Asoka is considered the founder of the Mahabodhi Temple. The current temple structure dates back to the 6th century AD but was razed in the 11th century by invading Muslim armies. The temple was restored several times over the centuries, the last of which occured in 1882 under the direction of Sir Alexander Cunningham.

    The temple is constructed of brick and is one of the oldest brick structures to have survived in eastern India. It's considered to be a fine example of Indian brickwork and was highly influential in the development of later architectural traditions. According to UNESCO, of which it now holds World Heritage status, the present temple is "one of the earliest and most imposing structures built entirely in brick from the late Gupta period”. The main spire is 54m (177ft) high and inside features a large gilded image of Buddha. The temple is also holy to Hindu's as Buddha is believed to be the ninth incarnation of Vishnu. More photo's can be found in one of my travelogues.

    Open: 5am-9pm. Admission is free. Stills camera charge is Rs20.

    Mahabodhi Temple Mahabodhi Temple Bodhi Tree Railings Buddha statue
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    Lotus pond

    by Willettsworld Written Jul 25, 2007

    By the northern wall of the compound is the Lotus Pond, called Mucalinda Lake (abode of the snake king). Buddha is said to have spent the sixth week in meditation here. There is a life-sized Buddha covered by a cobra. A cobra is said to have saved Buddha from drowning while he was in deep meditation. This pond is full of beautiful lotus flowers. In front of the pond are the remains of an Ashoka pillar, which is now about 6m (20 ft) high.

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