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Mahabodhi Temple Complex, Bodhgaya, Bihar

The place where the prince Siddhartha Gautam attained Nirvana and became Buddha, Mahabodhi temple is the holiest pilgrimage of Buddhists.

Mahabodhi Temple is a UNESCO inscribed World Heritage Site for its cultural importance.

Located in Gaya district of Bihar, Mahabodhi Temple is visited regularly by both Buddhist and Hindu and millions of tourists from around the World.

An array of monasteries and temples are peppered around the main Stupa where monks and devotees meditate and reflect as well as study the gospels of Buddha.

 Mahabodhi Temple Complex, Photo Credit - Wikipedia

The first temple was built by Emperor Asoka in the 3rd century B.C., and the present temple dates from the 5th or 6th centuries.

It is one of the earliest Buddhist temples built entirely in brick, still standing in India, from the late Gupta period.

The existing temple at Bodhgaya is one of the earliest and most impressive structures built exclusively from brick in the late Gupta period.

The carved stone balustrades are a supreme example of sculptural reliefs in stone.

The site consists of the main temple and six sacred places within an enclosed area, and a seventh one, the Lotus Pond, just outside the enclosure to the south.

The temple complex is built in classical style of Hindu temple architecture with low basement and moldings decorated with honeysuckle and geese design.

Inside the temple a colossal image of a seated Buddha touching the earth with his right hand. In this posture the Buddha accomplished the supreme enlightenment.

The Buddha statue is of black stone but it has been covered in gold and dressed in bright orange robes.

The most important attraction in the Mahabodhi Temple complex is the giant Bodhi Tree which lies to the western side of the main complex.

The existing tree is supposed to be the descendent of the original Bodhi Tree under which Siddhartha Gautam sat and after spending his first week attained enlightenment.

Animeshlochan Chaitya, Ratnachakrama, Ratnaghar Chaitya, Ajapala Nigrodh Tree, Lotus Pond and Rajyatna Tree where Buddha spent his second, third, fourth, fifth and sixth week respectively are some other major sacred places of the complex.

How to get there:

By Air: The nearest airport from to reach Mahabodhi Temple is at Gaya (17 km) - Druk Air flies from Bangkok once a week. Thai Airways has daily flights to Gaya.

Another alternative to reach Mahabodhi Temple is to catch a flight to Patna Airport which is connected with Delhi, Kolkata and Mumbai through multiple daily direct flights to. Patna is 110 km away from Bodh Gaya.

By Road: Gaya is well connected by road to Patna which is 112 kilometers away. Patna in turn is well connected to other major cities of India by road, rail and flights

By Train: Gaya 16 kilometers away from Bodg Gaya is the nearest railway station Gaya. Taxis, buses andthree wheeler (tuk tuks) are available from here to ferry the visitors to Bodh Gaya.

Keep in mind that tuk tuk price is extremely variable and fluctuate as per the time of the day. Charges vary normally from 100-150. You could save your bucks depending upon your skills in bargaining.

By Bus: Bodhgaya is connected by road to Gaya. The Bihar State Tourist Development Coporation (Tel: 0612-225411) runs daily deluxe bus services to and from Bodh Gaya. Buses also run for Varanasi, Nalanda, Rajgir and Kathmandu from Bodhgaya.