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Things To Do In Bodhgaya
Bodh Gaya in Bihar is located 100km from Patna which is the capital of Bihar. Bodh Gaya is considered to be the most important among all the pilgrimage sites for Buddhists anywhere in the world. Bodh Gaya is a spiritually intense place for not only Buddhists but also Hindus and Jains. It is under the Bodhi Tree in the Mahabodhi Temple complex that more than 2000 years ago Buddha is said to have attained his enlightenment. Just like a visit to the Mahabodhi Temple, there are several other things to do in Bodh Gaya. Let us see some of the more important ones.
Visit the Awe-inspiring Mahabodhi Temple and the Book Store
The Mahabodhi Temple in Bodh Gaya is among the earliest as well as the most imposing of all the structures that were built during the late Gupta period. The temple complex with direct associations with Buddha is the place where in 531 BC he is said to have meditated under the famous Bodhi Tree. After his Nirvana, Emperor Ashoka visited this place sometime in 260BC where he built the first temple at the place where the Bodhi Tree stood. Today’s complex has been rebuilt several times over that temple and its surroundings. Visitors must visit the main temple and the six places that are considered to be sacred. The seventh place is the Lotus Pond which is beyond the enclosure that is in the south. There is a bookshop that is located close to the entrance inside the temple. Here you can buy books on Buddhism and Buddhist culture as well as the Mahabodhi Temple.
Feel the Pulse of the Locals at the Tibetan Refugee Market
If you want to buy souvenirs, the Tibetan Refugee Market is the best place to do so. This market is right in the centre of the town and here you will find woollen wears in bright colours. There are diverse artefacts as well as souvenirs related to Buddhism. It is not necessary for you to buy anything at all. A visit is good enough and you will see that you can spend hours just looking at various products on sale. The market has several shops, all run by Buddhists, mainly with a Tibetan background. The statues and figurines of Buddha are very attractive and you may find some in sandalwood or metal.
Admire the Muchalinda Lake
Situated right next to the main temple in Bodh Gaya, the Muchalinda Lake, according to mythology, is where Buddha was comforted by the snake king Muchalinda when Buddha was disturbed by a storm while he was meditating. You will find the environment of the lake very relaxing and serene. At night the lake is fully lit up and one can enjoy the surroundings more.
Visit the Chinese Temple
The Chinese temple which was constructed by Buddhist monks has a statue of Buddha which is two hundred years old and which was brought from China. There is a beautiful Chinese artwork displayed inside the temple that is very near the Bodhi Temple. Besides the main shrine there are three Buddha statues in gold finish.
Go to the Root Institute for Wisdom Culture
The Root Institute with its beautiful gardens full of flowers, sits on more than two acres of land just outside the town. Here you can attend a course or undertake a retreat for meditation. You could also stay here when you come to Bodh Gaya. What you will achieve is an experience which is semi-monastic and the place is neither a guesthouse nor a hotel. You will find several holy objects spread all over the gardens. These are stupas and statues besides the 12’ high prayer wheel. Many decades ago trees had been planted and today these are tall and give shade and spread greenery. You could simply meditate here or do yoga exercises.
Pray at the Vietnamese Temple
There are several Buddhist temples in Bodh Gaya and out of these the Vietnamese Temple is the latest addition. The temple was constructed by the government of Vietnam and built mainly for the revival of Buddhism in this country. The temple’s architecture reflects the Vietnamese style with a positively modern touch. The statue of Buddha that is mounted inside the temple has an air of serenity that does not fail to capture the viewer’s heart. Do walk around the well maintained and fairly extensive garden that envelopes the temple. The temple remains open for 12 hours starting at 7am.
Soak in the Ambience of Kundan Bazar
The Kundan Bazaar is a small shop and not a marketplace. It is located inside a very popular place called Kundan Bazaar Guest House. It is in reality a small sized shop which sells those books that concern Buddhism besides clothing, souvenirs and various gift articles as well as statues of Buddha. If you like to read books on religion you will surely love this place. All the products that are sold at Kundan Bazaar are priced reasonably and one can also bargain. The shop is popular mainly because of the rave reviews it has got from the tourists who visit the place.