It was under a Bodhi (sacred fig) tree in Bodh Gaya that Siddhartha Gautama is said to have attained enlightenment and become the Buddha in 534 B.C.
The most important site in the Buddhist religion, hundreds of thousands of Buddhist pilgrims travel to Bodh Gaya every year to pray in the monolithic Mahabodhi Temple that protects a sapling cut from the original Bodhi tree in 288 B.C. The original Mahabodhi Temple is believed to have been constructed in 250 B.C. by the Buddhist Emperor Asoka. The current structure is believed to have been a massive renovation and enlargement completed between the 5th and 6th centuries.
Successive invasions by foreign powers and religions saw the decline of Buddhism throughout India, and by the 12th century Mahabodhi was abandoned and falling into disrepair. In the later part of the 19th century the British government of India began an extensive excavation and restoration process to return the temple to its former glory. The site was added to the UNESCO World Heritage list in 2002, and numerous Buddhist countries have added their own temple structures and aided in additions and enhancements to the existing structures.
The best weather to visit Bodh Gaya is between October and March. High temperatures between April and June give way to cooling and resuscitating rainfall from July to September. Pilgrims from McLeod Ganj, home of the Tibetan Government in Exile, start arriving in November, and His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama is a frequent visitor between December and January.
Bodh Gaya is in the Eastern Indian state of Bihar. The small holy city is best reached by private vehicle departing from Bihar’s capital city of Patna.
No trip to India would be complete without a visit to the center point of Buddhism. Bodh Gaya is a must-see on our tours of India.
Appropriate Attire :
Buddhist tenants require shoulders, arms, and knees to be covered while on holy ground, and certain temple areas may require the removal of shoes upon entrance.