Mahabodhi Mahavihara

The Mahabodhi Mahavihara is very famous throughout the history. Anyone with knowledge about Buddha will know about this place. This is the place where Siddhartha Gautama, or as we know him, Buddha, achieved enlightenment. It was built by Maharaja Asoka in the 3rd century BC. Presently it has been honoured as a UNESCO World Heritage site.

The Mahabodhi temple is said to be substantially similar to the stupa originally built here by Emperor Ashoka. The temple enshrines a huge Buddha statue, seated in the cross-legged, earth-touching pose, over the spot where the Buddha is believed to have gained Nirvana. Mahbodhi statue is believed to be an exact likeness of the Buddha himself and is the most revered statue in the Buddhist world.

On the Western side of the temple is the Holy Bodhi tree- the Pipal tree under which Buddha attained enlightenment. The Vault of Mahabodhi temple is being coated with gold plates as heavy as 290kgs, as offered by the Government of Thailand.

Mahabodhi Temple standing in the east of the Bodhi Tree, the temple has continued to amaze people from the very time it made its presence in the earth with an unworldly beauty and architecture. The 170ft tall temple with ‘chatras’ on the top of it exemplifies supremacy and a great influence of religion. The four towers rising from the four corners of the main temple also give enough equilibrium and countenance to the whole atmosphere. This consecrated and blessed erection seems to be the proof of nothing but the immeasurable endeavor of the great Buddha to free the world from all of its affliction and angst and give it a touch of supreme bliss and perfection only to help the people vanquish every kind of unhappiness and misery. Inside the temple, there is a grand statue of Buddha in a sitting stance where He is seen to touch the earth by his right hand. It is heard that He attained his ultimate ascendancy and knowledge in this comportment only. In the main sanctum, there are also variegated votive stupas, the artistry of which still happens to befuddle the visitors worldwide.

Hindi is the official language here.



Travel Tips

As wonderful and beautiful the Mahabodhi temple is there certainly are some minus points to it. The regular power-cuts in Bodh Gaya are the first that should be mentioned. Carrying a torch with you will certainly come in handy.

The best and the most favourite part for the travellers is probably the availability of wireless internet.

Bodh Gaya has both Vegetarian and non-vegetarian food. This serves as a major plus for the tourists since everybody has a taste of their own. The make-shift tent- restaurants lining the roads also serve great food.

The pilgrimage season starts mainly from September. The number of pilgrims reaches its peaks in January although the best time to visit Bodh Gaya is November and February. June and September should be avoided due to the monsoon season. The weather tends to get very aggressive. The other times are very hot and thus not suitable for visit. Even so, many pilgrims visit Bodh Gaya during May to attend the festivals.

The temple is open from 5 in the morning to 9 in the evening. Entry is free here, although, bringing a camera would cost 20 rupees. Bringing a video camera costs Rs 300.

Tourist traps are also very common in these areas. They offer to show you around in their vehicles and charge abnormal amounts. A day’s trip around Bodhgaya could never cost more than Rs 500. Even the street vendors have a way of overcharging for their products. One should always bargain heavily before buying things.

When to visit

  • Jan
  • Feb
  • Mar
  • Apr
  • May
  • Jun
  • July
  • Aug
  • Sept
  • Oct
  • Nov
  • Dec
sprinkles Pleasant
  • 30° Max
  • 22° Min
  • 17.2 mm
  • Light clothes
Things to do

For Buddhists, Bodh Gaya is not only a sacred place but also a very important one. That was the foundation of their faith. It is one of the most important pilgrimage destinations. Over the years, the number of pilgrims has risen considerably. Owing to that, the subsidiary tourist industry has grown a lot.

The best part about Bodh Gaya, as stated by many, is the vibe of the whole place. It is said that the vapour of Buddha attaining his enlightenment is still there in the sacred air. The peace and tranquillity of the place is very famous.

Another famous thing about Bodh Gaya is the “cheesy” CDs that are sold near the temple entrance.

One could visit the Kundan Bazaar while visiting Bodh Gaya. It is a very famous book; clothing and gift shop and have few of their best collections. It is located near the Embassy Hotel on the main road. With the correct strategy of bargaining, one can have a wonderful buying spree in the bazaar.

The Mahabodhi Temple complex bookstore has a great collection of books on Buddhism. It is right inside the temple complex and ha the newest books at the local price.

Getting Around

The Mahabodhi Mahavira is a temple that takes up a vast area. Inside this temple, one must go by foot to explore the various parts of the temple. Getting to Mahabodhi temple is easy and is mentioned below.

Places to Stay

One could choose to stay in the monasteries of Bodh Gaya. The Root Institute offers meditation retreats. Kundan Bazaar is also a very popular place among the tourists. They offer a wide variety of accommodations.

Due to the rising number of pilgrims, many hotel accommodations have come up in Bodh Gaya. They offer a number of suitable accommodations with the best possible services.

How to Reach

  • The nearest airport to the temple is the Gaya airport. It is 17kms away from the temple. One could also land in the Patna airport that is 110kms away from the temple. From there, they can take a bus or a train to the temple.
  • The nearest railway station is he Gaya station located 16kms away.
  • Bodh Gaya and Gaya are connected by a main road. The Bihar State tourist development corporation runs deluxe bus services on a daily basis. They run buses from Varanasi to Bodh Gaya, Bodh Gaya to Nalanda, Rajgir and Kathmandu. The roads here are very narrow and rough. Avoiding the Gaya market would be best while coming by car from the Patna airport.

Surrounding Attractions

The Prestshila Hills are one of the most beautiful sites offered by the Bodh Gaya. It is situated 100kms to the south of Patna. It is of mush historic and mythical importance. It is situated in close vicinity of the Phalgu River. The interesting fact about this river is that the water in this river always remains under a thick layer of silt and sand.

The Vishnupad Mandir is dedicated to Lord Vishnu and is marked by the Dharmashila- a footprint of lord Vishnu. With the Bhumihar Brahmins as the traditional priests, this temple has been the object of devotion for a lot of pilgrims. This place is also believed to be where Lord Buddha meditated for six years.

Pagodas and shrines - Several Buddhis countris have built pagodas and temples in Bodhgaya. The Chinese temple was built in 1945 and has three golden statues of the Budha.

Emergency No.

Police station: 100

Ambulance: 102, 108

Fire station: 101