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Updated by Joanna James on Jun 23, 2019
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Top Things to Do in Bodhgaya – Sacred Sanctuary

Bodhgaya located in the Gaya district of Bihar, India is probably the holiest place amongst all Buddhist pilgrimage sites. It is here, the Buddha attained enlightenment, thus making the site one of four key pilgrimage locations for followers of the Buddhist faith. Here is a list of what to do there.

1

Visit The Mahabodhi Temple

A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Mahabodhi Temple, marks the place the Buddha attained Nirvana and is one of the holiest shrines amongst all Buddhist temples. The original temple, constructed by Emperor Ashoka in the 3rd century BC, was replaced by the existing one somewhere around the 5th or 6th century BC. The construction is unique as the shrine is made entirely of brick; located just a 5 minute drive from Oaks Bodhgaya, this should be the first place you visit in Bodhgaya.

2

Tuck into Some Tasty Treats

Bodhgaya is not all about visiting one shrine after another, it's a place of exploration and treating the foodie in you as well as, the culture lover is wholly recommended. Head over to Mohammed Restaurant, located at the tourist bus park, not too far from most Bodhgaya hotels for a sumptuous feast of local and international favourites. The menu while catering to Buddhist pilgrims also offers a selection of Chinese, Tibetan, Thai and Indian dishes.

3

Head Over to the Bodhisattva Tree

The tree, better known as the Maha Bodhi is located in the same grounds as the Mahabodhi Temple; it is under this tree the Buddha, upon meditating for 7 continuous days, reached enlightenment. A shrine is erected at the spot the Buddha is believed to have sat, and according to ancient chronicles was also used in the time of the Buddha. Go there to enjoy the peaceful vibes, and you too will appreciate the serene ambience which seems to exist amongst the rustling leaves of the Bodhi.

4

Check Out the Great Buddha Statue

This is a statue built in Japanese style; it towers over the area at an impressive height of 82 feet. Located within a beautifully manicured garden close to the Temple Dt, this monolithic statue was unveiled by the Dalai Lama himself in 1989. Around the statue are 10 smaller figures representing the followers of the Gautama Buddha; the statue which is now an iconic symbol representing Bodhgaya sits tall and proud next to the Mahabodhi Temple.

5

Plan an Expedition to Explore the Dungeshwari Caves

Beautiful cave temples also called the Mahakala Caves, the Dungeshwari cave temple is situated just 12kms from the centre of Bodhgaya. The network of 3 caves, all contain a number of Buddhist relics, but the most significant aspect of the caves is attributed to the fact that Lord Buddha once used them to meditate in; he is believed to have spent many years in these caves, lost in prayer before heading out to Bodhgaya. While the majority of relics are for Buddhist pilgrims, there is one cave dedicated to the Hindu faith and the Goddess Dungeshwari. Locals call the place Sujata Sthan, after the legend a local woman named Sujata, offered the Buddha, in a weakened state after months of self-starvation, some food which he accepted.