• Mahabodhi temple
  • Mahbodhi tree
  • Bodhgaya
  • Bodhgaya
    + 64
Bodhgaya Info
  • State: Bihar
  • Famous for/as: Pilgrimage
Attraction in Bodhgaya
Hotels in Bodhgaya
Best Time to Visit
  • Jan
  • Feb
  • Mar
  • Apr
  • May
  • Jun
  • Jul
  • Aug
  • Sep
  • Oct
  • Nov
  • Dec
Bodh Gaya is a small town located in the Gaya District of the Indian state of Bihar. It is one of the most sacred Buddhist pilgrimage sites as it is the place where Gautama Buddha attained enlightenment. This holy city is situated on the banks of the river Niranjana within an area of 91.94 sq. km.

Siddhartha Gautama inhabited the bank of the Niranjana River to practice austerities along with five followers. He left austerity realising that it could not lead to salvation. His five followers disgusted with his failure deserted him and left for Sarnath. He then moved towards the village of Senani, where a Brahmin girl offered him rice milk. Accepting a kusa grass from a grass-cutter, he took a seat under a pipal tree to meditate until he attained enlightenment.

Buddha continued to meditate for seven days under the Bodhi tree after the attainment of enlightenment. During the next seven days, he practised walking meditation. Behind the main temple there is an ancient pipal tree, situated towards the west, which is where Buddha attained enlightenment. It is believed that immediately after preaching the five principles of life and the eight-fold path, Buddha attained Nirvana.

About 250 years after the enlightenment, Ashoka visited the site and is believed to have founded the Mahabodhi Temple. Along with the monastery, Ashoka also erected a diamond throne shrine at this place. This shrine has a canopy supported by four pillars over a stone representation of the Vajrasana or the Seat of Enlightenment.

Bodh Gaya, with a population of 30,883 people, is renowned as the most important of the four main pilgrimage sites dedicated to Gautama Buddha. Hindi and Urdu are the official languages of Bihar, but residents here mostly speak Bhojpuri, Maithili and Magadhi.

Buddha Jayanti or the birth of Lord Buddha, celebrated in April or May, is an important festival of this place. Buddha Purnima is observed on the day when Buddha attained enlightenment. This festival is characterised with prayer meets, sermons on the life of the Buddha, religious discourses and continuous recitation of Buddhist scriptures, group meditation, processions and worship of the statue of Buddha.

Nyingma Monlam Chenmo is a 3-week long festival celebrated in January and is attended by the Dalai Lama. In Bodh Gaya, tourists can shop for decorative items associated with Buddhism, artefacts, sandal beads, different statues of Lord Buddha and woollen garments.

The best time to visit Bodh Gaya is between October and March, when the temperature remains cool. Moreover, special Buddhist meditation programs are organised during this time.