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Updated by Joanna James on Jun 23, 2019
Headline for The Top Sites to Visit in Bodhgaya – The Holiest Of All Buddhist Sites
Joanna James Joanna James
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The Top Sites to Visit in Bodhgaya – The Holiest Of All Buddhist Sites

The village where Buddha attained enlightenment, Bodhgaya is the very heart of Buddhism. Predictably, it is regularly visited by throngs of devoted pilgrims and curious visitors.


Mahabodhi Temple

Sometimes referred to as the "Great Awakening Temple", this UNESCO World Heritage Site is said to be the location where Prince Siddhartha reached enlightenment and came to be the Buddha. This gives it the rare honour of being one of the only four locations that connected to the Buddha during his lifespan. Rising to a height of fifty five metres, the Mahabodhi Temple is spread over almost five hectares of land. A Bo tree on the premises is said to be directly linked to the original tree that Buddha meditated under. First built in the second century, this sacred temple is open to people of all religions and definitely deserves a visit. Set close to the river, it is not far from most Bodhgaya Hotels.


Great Buddha Statue

Towering over a tranquil and beautifully manicured garden, the Great Buddha Statue is another holy sign in this symbolic city. Unveiled in 1989 by none other than the His Holiness XIV Dalai Lama himself, it was the first Buddha statue in the whole of India. The gigantic statue rises to a height of twenty five metres and is made of both sandstone and red granite, both of which combine to give an exotic appearance to the statue. Next to the Great Buddha Statue, one can find ten other statues of Buddha's students, albeit in a smaller size factor. Probably the second most important religious structure – after the Mahabodhi Temple – in the town, it took an astonishing seven years to build. Close to hotels like Oaks Bodhgaya, finding the statue is quite easy. If you do get lost just ask the locals.


Tibetan Refugee Market

Souvenirs are an absolute necessity regardless of where you visit. If you are a person who feels the same, make a beeline for the Tibetan Refugee Market. Situated in the middle of Bodhgaya, the market is definitely one of the most colourful areas in the village. You can find a range of items here like artifacts to religious souvenirs and clothes. The handicraft items follow classic Tibetan styles that give it a distinctive appearance. Many pilgrims will be happy to know that you can get statues of Lord Buddha made out of a multitude of materials such as sandalwood and metal.


Thai Monastery

The only Thailand temple in the country, the Thai Monastery was built in 1956. Built by the Thailand Royal Family in order to spread Buddhism and strengthen ties between the two countries, it has many features that showcase the classic Thai architecture. The most prominent sign of Thai architecture is the sloping roof with signature golden tiles. Moving on to the inside, one can find a twenty five metre tall statue of the Buddha. The majority of the Thai Monastery is covered with drawings and carvings of the Buddha. With a calming atmosphere, it is a great place for those who wish to meditate.

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