You Google for Bodhgaya and you will be bombarded with places that you can visit. You might think that it will take days for you to cover Bodhgaya and you would need a hired car or taxi but in reality barring a few places, which are on the outskirts of Bodhgaya the entire town can be covered on foot.
In my previous few blogs, I have already listed down a few of the prominent places that you can visit like Mahabodhi Temple, Barabar Caves & Dungeshwari Cave so what I have done in this blog is to collate all the places in a single blog post.
This is the main reason why people flock to this part of the world. The main temple is one of the holiest sites in Buddhism and millions of visitors come here to pray. Out here, you will find the Bodhi Tree, which people say, is part of the same family tree under which Gautama Buddha got enlightened. This temple has also multiple sites where Buddha spent time before his final enlightened under the Bodhi Tree.
For details please read this detailed blog.
Jaya Shri Mahabodhi Vihara
Apart from the main Mahabodhi Temple, there are several temples and monasteries which were built in the last century by various groups, especially countries. Since this is frequented by monks from all over the world thus these places act like a guesthouse as well as the local office. Most places like these have attached temple and these are all unique to the country that it belongs to. This one is primarily that of Sri Lanka and is located right opposite to the main gate of Mahabodhi Temple.
This place is located right next to Jaya Shri Mahabodhi Vihara and outside the boundary walls; you will find several Tibetan street vendors selling their local stuff and memorabilia. This monastery also operates a clinic inside its compound, which mainly deals in natural healing. The temple upstairs on the first floor is a must-visit, especially for its beautiful colorful wall paintings.
Trung Tam Vien Giac
This Buddhist temple is for the people of Vietnam. This place is located a little ahead from Tibetan Monastery. This place also has an institute by the name of Vien Giac Institute.
This is also a Tibetan monastery and was built in 1996. Other than the beautiful temple, there is also a Stupa in the memory of Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche. I found this to be one of the most beautiful monasteries in Bodhgaya.
Mahabodhi Chinese Temple
This is right next to Shechen Monastery and as the name suggests is a Chinese temple.
World Chon Ghwa Buddhist Sangha – Taiwan Temple
This is located right behind the Chinese Temple and is for the Taiwanese people. This is the only temple in Bodhgaya that I have seen having a statue of Fasting Buddha.
Bangladesh Buddhist Monastery
This is managed by the Bangladesh Buddhist community.
Wat Thai Bodhgaya
If you talk of lavish design then according to me this wins the prize belonging to the Thailand government.
The Royal Bhutanese Monastery
Bhutan is a predominantly Buddhist nation and has a big presence in Bodhgaya with this large temple and monastery.
This is the Japanese temple at Bodhgaya. They have a huge garden in front of the main temple, which also has a stupa structure.
A five-minute walk from the Japanese temple will take you to one of the prime attractions of Bodhgaya, which is a giant stone statue of Buddha. The height of the statue is 64 feet and can be seen from a distance making it look very majestic.
Daijokyo Buddhist Temple
Many people do not know this but in reality, Daijokyo Buddhist Temple is the owner of the Giant Buddha statue and they share the same plot of land. This place contains a training center also.
Not only different countries but there are different sects of Buddhism under the leadership of various monks and some of them have their seminaries at Bodhgaya.
A little off the main road takes you to the Mongolian Buddhist temple.
Archaeological Museum Bodhgaya
Make sure not to miss this as this museum has many artifacts from the Mahabodhi Temple. A portion of the ancient stone gates is kept here for display along with several stone sculptures & artifacts.
This is separate from the Archaeological Museum Bodhgaya and is located in Gaya and not in Bodhgaya. This museum, however, has very little important artifacts considering its size. It is said that most of the important display items were shifted to the massive new museum (Bihar Museum) located in Patna.
Dungeshwari – Mahakala Cave Bodhgaya
This is an important place for the religious traveler to visit as they say that Buddha himself meditated in the cave for six years before proceeding to Bodhgaya and then meditating under the Bodhi Tree where he got enlightened. I have written a detailed blog about this place.
Click here to read that blog.
Ancient caves built during the reign of Ashoka for the use of monks for meditating and resting. Out here there are four caves Karan Chaupar Cave, Sudama Cave, Lomas Rishi Cave, and Vishwakarma Cave. A little up ahead you will find another set of caves known as Nagurjuni Caves. I have a separate detailed blog about these caves please refer to that for details.
This is not a place but a local delicacy and is famous around Gaya. This is like a cookie covered in sesame seeds and is available at most shops. These have a long shelf life thus do bring a few packets back home.
The best and the cheapest place to shop in Bodhgaya will be around the Mahabodhi Temple. There are many street vendors selling souvenirs, woolen wear, etc. The best way to get the best price is through bargaining, visit a couple of shops to get an average and then bargain.
I have tried to do my best to cover most of the temples around Bodhgaya; however, there are more around Bodhgaya, which you can visit. I will try my best to keep updating this list from time to time.