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Updated by Joanna James on Jun 27, 2019
Headline for 7 Best Things to Do in Bodhgaya - Top 7 Tourist Activities in Bodhgaya
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7 Best Things to Do in Bodhgaya - Top 7 Tourist Activities in Bodhgaya

As one of the holiest precincts in India Bodhgaya welcomes thousands of visitors from around the world. Here are seven activities all visitors should experience during a trip to the area.

1

Pay Homage to the Mahabodhi Temple

When it comes to iconic religious points of interest, there's no venue that commands the reverence and respect of pilgrims more than the Mahabodhi Temple. Recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the massive temple compound is one of the 4 sacred locations connected with the life of the Buddha and an integral part of any pilgrimage to India and Bodhgaya. The first temple was built by none other than Emperor Asoka and dates back to 3rd century B.C. The temple which stands today dates back to the 5th century B.C has been built in brick.

2

Visit the Bodhisattva Tree

The world-renowned Bodhi Tree under which Lord Buddha attained enlightenment in centuries past is also located in Bodhgaya. Named the Sri Maha Bodhi, Buddhist scholars believe Lord Buddha meditated under this very tree for seven days without once moving from his position beneath the shade of the tree. A shrine was built on the very spot in which his lordship sat and meditated during Lord Buddha's lifetime. The best time to visit the Sri Maha Bodhi in Bodhgaya is during the Bodhi Day which is marked on the 8th of December each year to celebrate Lord Buddha's enlightenment. Visitors based at Oaks Bodhgaya or countless other Bodhgaya hotels in the city will find the festival time is one of the busiest times of the year in the holy city.

3

Wine and Dine

Another joy of travelling around Bodhgaya is sampling the many culinary treats on offer in local restaurants. The Mohammad Restaurant is one such staple where a host of cuisines are given prominence in an extensive menu which includes not only Indian and Chinese favourites but also Thai and Tibetan dishes. The coffee and breakfast menu are equally enticing as are the fresh fruit juice beverages served at the restaurant.

4

Witness the Great Buddha Statue

Towering over the surrounding landscape, this larger than life Buddha statue is not only one of the tallest religious sculptures in Bodhgaya but also the only one with decidedly Japanese features. Unveiled by the Dalai Lama in 1989, the sculpture is found in the temple garden located near the Mahabodhi Temple. Ten smaller statues surround the main sculpture and represent key disciples of Lord Buddha.

5

Enjoy Italian Food at the Be Happy Cafe

Vegetarians should not miss the chance to dine at the Be Happy Cafe not only due to the many vegetable dishes on offer but also due to its excellent pizzeria and baked goods. Conveniently located a stone's throw away from the Mahabodhi Temple, the Italian restaurant uses the finest ingredients to create its desserts, pastries, bread and pizzas.

6

Tour the Dungeshwari Caves

Also known as the Mahakala Caves, the Dungeshwari Caves are situated less than 8 miles away from the heart of Bodhgaya. The three caves each contain stunning Buddhist temples and the caves are another site in which Lord Buddha is known to have spent time in meditation.

7

Discover the Archaeological Museum

Offering visitors a showcase complete with an impressive collection of relics and sculptures, the Archaeological Museum allows pilgrims to gain a better understanding of the great historical significance of Bodhgaya.

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