I took these photos of the Maha Bodh Temple in the town Gaya town in Bihar. Bodh Gaya is an extremely historical place in Bihar. This is where Lord Buddha got his enlightenment. It is here that he sat under the banyan tree now called the “Bodhi Tree” for 40 days and used to think about life. The photograph below shows the exact spot where he used to medicate. Although the tree may not be exact tree but it certainly seems to have been derived from it.
While sitting under the tree, enlightenment came to Siddhartha and from then onwards he was called the Buddha, the enlightened one. The enlightenment was the root causes of sorrows and how to overcome them and attain Nirvana. He then gave his first sermon in a place called “Sarnath” where he taught others how follow the path to enlightenment.
On my way back we crossed some villages. I did not stop to take a closer look but it seems as if its market place. Village vegetable markets like these are very common. You can see that there are no shops and most of the sellers are selling their products on baskets. Markets like these will start in the morning and finish at night. At the end of the day, you won’t know that there was a market here.
Looking at this, India appears extremely poor and wouldn’t blame you at all for thinking that. You can read more about the poor people in India. In fact, Bihar happens to be one of the poorest places in India but it has been doing well economically. Unfortunately it doesn’t seem to have made any difference to the lives of these people. It doesn’t seem to have changed much since the Buddha walked these fields. What amazes me most is that, Bihar despite having such great historical heritage, it still remains backward. To be honest, this village could be anywhere in India. Most of the tourists to India do not even see these villages. But the truth is that the real India lies in these villages. You can read more about poverty in India.
Focusing on the Mahabodhi Temple, it can be reached via Patna the capital of Bihar by train and coaches (110km) organised by the ‘Bihari Tourist Department’. There are frequent trains from Varanasi. There is a Bodh Gaya International Airport but it’s only connected to Sri Lanka (Colombo) and Thailand (Bangkok). Thai Airways flies to Gaya daily. Indian Airlines flies from Kolkata (Calcutta) on Fridays at 10.00 in the morning and returns on Mondays from Gaya airport at around 15.00 hrs. In addition, there are flights from Delhi and Mumbai.
The town of Bodh Gaya has many guest houses and hotels. In recent years, tourism in Bodh Gaya has increased. Walking around the town, it seemed as if I was in Burma and not in India. I highly recommend this place for those seeking spiritual upliftment.
Some of the most important places to see in Bodh Gaya include:
Bodhi tree, Mahabodhi stupa, the Thai monastery, an 80 foot Buddha statue, Japanese temple (Indosan Nippon), and archaeological museum, Bodhgaya multimedia museum and the Barabar caves (the oldest surviving rock caves in India).