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(updated listing Cafe Om)
(updated listing Fujiya Green)
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*<eat name="Bowl of Compassion Cafe" alt="" address="Bodhgaya" directions="Opposite the police station" phone="" url="" hours="10AM-11PM" price="20-100R" lat="" long="">Newly set-up restaurant serving delicious Indian and international cuisine, with connections to the nearby Bowl of Compassion NGO. Patrons can choose special "Compassion meals", where the extra money goes towards helping the poor of the Tikha Bigha Village. Volunteers welcome.</eat>
 
*<eat name="Bowl of Compassion Cafe" alt="" address="Bodhgaya" directions="Opposite the police station" phone="" url="" hours="10AM-11PM" price="20-100R" lat="" long="">Newly set-up restaurant serving delicious Indian and international cuisine, with connections to the nearby Bowl of Compassion NGO. Patrons can choose special "Compassion meals", where the extra money goes towards helping the poor of the Tikha Bigha Village. Volunteers welcome.</eat>
 
*<eat name="Be Happy Cafe" alt="Behind Namgyal Monastery (follow signs)" address="" directions="" phone="" url="" hours="" price="" lat="" long="">A small cafe ran by a wonderful Canadian women. The cafe specializes in thin crust pizzas, Italian pastas, sandwiches in thick bread, freshly made cakes, homemade granola for breakfast and a variety of coffees.</eat>
 
*<eat name="Be Happy Cafe" alt="Behind Namgyal Monastery (follow signs)" address="" directions="" phone="" url="" hours="" price="" lat="" long="">A small cafe ran by a wonderful Canadian women. The cafe specializes in thin crust pizzas, Italian pastas, sandwiches in thick bread, freshly made cakes, homemade granola for breakfast and a variety of coffees.</eat>
*<eat name="Fujiya Green" alt="" address="" directions="A little out of the way around the south side of the sports oval" phone="" url="" hours="" price="30-120" lat="" long="">The Japanese options are surprisingly good (although not authentic). Big portions.</eat>
+
*<eat name="Fujiya Green" alt="" address="" directions="A little out of the way around the south side of the sports oval" phone="" url="" hours="" price="30-120" lat="" long="">The Japanese and Tibetan options are surprisingly good (although not authentic). Big portions.</eat>
 
*<eat name="The Olive" alt="" address="" directions="near Hotel Sujata on Buddha Road, on same side" phone="" url="" hours="" price="" lat="" long="">Impeccably clean, glass topped tables, filtered water. Excellent pasta dishes include spaghetti, fusilli, penne, and (my) other favourites include boiled vegetables, aloo gobi, masala chai. Opened start of 2013, cook very skilled. Can recommend.</eat>
 
*<eat name="The Olive" alt="" address="" directions="near Hotel Sujata on Buddha Road, on same side" phone="" url="" hours="" price="" lat="" long="">Impeccably clean, glass topped tables, filtered water. Excellent pasta dishes include spaghetti, fusilli, penne, and (my) other favourites include boiled vegetables, aloo gobi, masala chai. Opened start of 2013, cook very skilled. Can recommend.</eat>
  

Revision as of 06:02, 24 July 2013

The Mahabodhi Temple

Bodh Gaya [1] is a village in the state of Bihar. As the site of the Buddha Shakyamuni's enlightenment, Bodh Gaya is the most revered of all Buddhist sacred sites.

The main temple complex houses the famous Mahabodhi temple/stupa and a descendant of the original Bodhi Tree under which the Buddha gained enlightenment. Inside the Mahabodhi temple complex you can also enjoy the Lotus Pond or the meditation garden. Bodh Gaya has temples or monasteries from many other nations with a Buddhist tradition (Bhutan, Bangladesh, China, Japan, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Tibet), all within easy walking distance from the Mahabodhi temple.

Contents

Understand

Beware

Bodh Gaya is a venerable tourist trap. The worst culprits are the deceitful tour guides on motorbikes, who offer to drive you around for the day at exorbitant prices. They will typically attempt to befriend you without indicating their intentions, then offer to "help you" get the most of your experience. Some are particularly snaky and pretend to do it out of friendship, for a "token appreciation". Most will also pretend to work for an orphanage or school and ask for donations, even offering to show you the place, but this is a standard practice to cheat extra money from well-meaning foreigners.

Please note that everything inside Bodh Gaya is easy to find and within 5-15 minute walking distance from the Mahabodhi temple complex. If you do wish to utilize a local tour guide to for example visit the Barabar caves (20KM) or Dungeshwari caves (12KM), first request to see their official Bihar State Tourism Development Corporation ID card - then bargain heavily. It should NEVER be more than Rs. 500 for an entire day trip, no matter how far you drive out of town.

Street vendors and shop keepers are also used to overcharging for their goods. Be prepared to bargain heavily in souvenir shops, and even more so from street vendors who typically sell cheap imitation products (as an example, most vendors and numerous street kids attempt to charge Rs 50 or more for a small wooden Buddha statue in a plastic dome, but they go for just Rs. 10).

Get in

By plane

The nearest airport is at Gaya (17 km) - Druk Air flies from Bangkok once a week. Thai Airways flies to Gaya daily. Indian Airlines flies from Kolkata on Fridays at 10.00AM and Returns back on Mondays from Gaya at around 15.00 hrs.

Alternatively, you may take a flight to the Patna Airport (110 km away) and take a train or a taxi to Bodh Gaya as Patna has multiple daily direct flights to Delhi, Kolkata and Mumbai. Alternatively if you need suggestion you can also take help of travel agency

By car

One may take a flight to the Patna Airport (110 km away) and take a train or a taxi to Bodh Gaya as Patna has multiple daily direct flights to Delhi, Kolkata , Mumbai, Pune , Bangalore, Lucknow and Hyderabad. The road is very rough and narrow so the journey can be quite slow and dangerous. It takes roughly 3 hours from Patna to reach, on best way is to avoid the Gaya market, as the roads are very narrow.

By train

The nearest Railway station is Gaya (16 km). From there you can take a bus or a three wheel taxi to Bodh Gaya. Three-wheel taxi price is extremely variable, depending on time of day, but should be between 80-120 Rs. You should bargain considerably, there is rarely a shortage of service.

The train from Patna (which as the nearest good size airport and railhead) to Gaya costs 34 rupees (as of January 2008). The express trains take about two hours. Best train travel from Calcutta is about 8 hours; from Delhi, about 15 hours (2nd class air con costs 161, book upstairs at the gaya station then pay downstairs at window 29).

The road from Patna is in bad condition at the moment, train is also recommended.

By bus

There is a main road connecting Bodhgaya and Gaya. The Bihar State Tourist Development Coporation (Tel: 0612-225411) runs daily deluxe bus services to and from Bodh Gaya. Buses for Varanasi to Bodhgaya, Bodhgaya to Nalanda,Rajgir,Kathmandu

See

80-foot Buddha Statue

Most temples open from 6AM to sunset and close between noon and 2PM.

  • Bodhi Tree - it is believed that this tree is a direct descendant of the one under which the Buddha Sakyamuni attained enlightenment, inside the Mahabodhi complex.
  • Mahabodhi Stupa
  • Thai Monastery, [2]
  • 80-foot Buddha Statue
  • Royal Bhutanese Monastery
  • Japanese temple (Indosan Nippon), Temple Road, 2200743. 5AM-6PM. Daily meditation at 6AM and 5PM.
  • Archaelogical Museum, [3], closed Fridays, Rs. 10 (foreigners and locals alike). Possess a small but interesting selection of Buddhist and Hindu artifacts from Bodh Gaya and other nearby excavation sites. Photography not allowed.
  • Tergar Monastery, [4], Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche
  • Phowa Center, [5], Choeje Ayang Rinpoche
  • Gendhen Phelgyeling Monastery [6]
  • Root Institute, [8], Zopa Rinpoche
  • Kagyu Monlam Chenmo, [9], prayer festival, January
  • Nyingma Monlam Chenmo, [10], prayer festival, January/February
  • Bodhgaya Multimedia Museum, [11], Located next to the Mahabodhi Temple,Open all 7 days of the week. Museum provides the historical and Geographical context for the life of Buddha through a set of Multimedia films and 3D Animation movie. Phone:9199778545.
  • Barabar caves, the oldest surviving rock-cut caves in India, mostly dating from the Mauryan period (322–185 BCE), and some with Ashokan inscriptions, located in the Jehanabad District, 24 km north of Gaya.
  • Taiwanese Temple (World Chonghwa Buddhist Sangha). Tel: +91 631 220-0503/673

Do

Bodh Gaya is essentially a pilgrimage destination for Buddhists and all of its main attractions are related to this. The subsidiary tourist industry that has grown up around it (shopping, eating, and accommodation) is not really the main attraction. Perhaps unique to Bodh Gaya are the rather cheesy CDs for sale near the temple entrance that purport to be monks chanting Buddhist texts. You will know whether you want to take this home with you!

Whether you're a Buddhist or not, the main thing to do in Bodh Gaya is just to absorb the vibe of the place where the Buddha attained awakening: the vapor trail of that energy is still in the air!

  • Kundan Bazar Book/Clothing/Gift Shop, 9106312200049, [12]. Located on the main road near Embassy Hotel, Kundan Bazar is a great little shop with a good selection of clothing, gifts, and books. Their prices are not exorbitant, but do bargain a little.
  • jayaweera, srilanka, 0718022387.


Eat

  • Cafe Om. Excellent pastries, great food too. This is the place where everybody meets everybody.
  • Bowl of Compassion Cafe, Bodhgaya (Opposite the police station). 10AM-11PM. Newly set-up restaurant serving delicious Indian and international cuisine, with connections to the nearby Bowl of Compassion NGO. Patrons can choose special "Compassion meals", where the extra money goes towards helping the poor of the Tikha Bigha Village. Volunteers welcome. 20-100R.
  • Be Happy Cafe (Behind Namgyal Monastery (follow signs)). A small cafe ran by a wonderful Canadian women. The cafe specializes in thin crust pizzas, Italian pastas, sandwiches in thick bread, freshly made cakes, homemade granola for breakfast and a variety of coffees.
  • Fujiya Green, (A little out of the way around the south side of the sports oval). The Japanese and Tibetan options are surprisingly good (although not authentic). Big portions. 30-120.
  • The Olive, (near Hotel Sujata on Buddha Road, on same side). Impeccably clean, glass topped tables, filtered water. Excellent pasta dishes include spaghetti, fusilli, penne, and (my) other favourites include boiled vegetables, aloo gobi, masala chai. Opened start of 2013, cook very skilled. Can recommend.


Drink

Bodhgaya may have been a "dry" town, without liquor outlets. Hotels and guesthouses will in their restaurants serve beer (100-150 IR), provided it is drunk indoors out of public view. However in 2009 there are government liquor stores selling Wine ($10 usd / liter) and Rum, Whiskey etc. approx same price as the wine. Beer is 60 Rs/can.

Sleep

Monastery guest houses offer a cheap option to hotels, though guests are expected to adhere to their house rules. They do not charge fixed nightly rates, but instead accept donations (ask other guests for the going rate). There is a whole string of guesthouses just opposite the park from the Mahabodhi Temple. All pretty much the same well maintained with restaurants on the ground floor at around Rs 200 a single.

  • Bhutan Monastery. checkin: 30.12.2011; checkout: 11.1.2012. Pleasant but basic single and family rooms, some with private bathroom
  • Burmese Vihara, Gaya Road. Very basic accommodation. The Vihara exists mainly to cater to groups of Burmese pilgrims, but there are often rooms available for others. Rules are posted prominently. Food service is only for those arriving in groups, and by prior arrangement.
  • Kundan Bazar Guest House, Bhagalpur Village (Near Old Vietnam Temple), 9106312200049 (), [13]. Single rooms to full-service apartments, bike rentals, internet cafe, book, gift, and clothing shop, snooker bar, self-service kitchen, laundry facility, tour packages, and more
  • Mahabodhi Society, GDD, 88776655. checkin: 06-05-2012; checkout: 07-05=2012. Private rooms and dorms available. 4 ADULT & 2 CHILD AGE 5 & 9
  • Rainbow Guesthouse, next to Burmese Vihara on Gaya Road. Basic rooms, are cleaned more thoroughly on request, friendly and reliable staff.
  • Rahul Guesthouse, (Just further north up the road 100m from Deer park and the Bodhi tree there's a sports oval, Rahul's and many other guest houses are just on the other side of the oval. Walk along the road that goes around the oval and you'll see it.). checkout: Noon. Amazingly clean rooms, with medium customer service. It's surrounded by about four other guest houses, so it's a good spot to head towards and shop around. Single Rs 2000 / Double Rs 2500.
  • Sakya Monastery Guesthouse, Mastipur Village (Near Bhutan Monastery), 91 631 2200770. Clean, simple, friendly, peaceful and calm environment.
  • Siddhartha Vihar, Bihar Tourist Complex, ''+91 631'' 220-0445. Simple, but comfortable rooms.
  • Hotel Sujata, Buddha Marg, +''91 631'' 220-0481/220-0761/220-0011 (, fax: ''+91 631'' 220-0511), [14]. checkin: 1- 03-09; checkout: 3-03-09. Clean environment and good restaurant.
  • Welcome Guest House, 2 mins walk from Tamplenear Mahabodhi Temple (opp-jayprakash prak), ''+91 631'' 2200377 (), [15]. checkout: Noon. Welcome Guest House offers cheap and pleasant rooms in the center of town.
  • Om Soni Family Guesthouse, A little street off of the Japanese Temple, 0091-9973454906. A monk at the Japanese monastery recommend this place because he has known the owner, Vijay Kumar, since he was a little boy. Vijay is a really nice guy and the bathrooms are clean, though the rooms a bit small. No wi-fi, but for the price a good deal in town. Ask people around the Japanese temple if you can find it...you have to walk by the temple and then make a left one or two streets past the woodcarvers shop. 250-300 rupees for a double.


  • Hotel Buddha International, Near Japanese Temple, Bodhgaya, [16]. checkin: 12:00 Noon; checkout: 12:00 Noon. (hotel.b.int@gmail.com) This is a budgeted Hotel in Bodhgaya, there are 31 AC rooms with single & Double occcupancy. Room facilities include features like attached bath, running hot and cold water, internet browsing, refrigerators, CCTV, direct dial facility etc. Hotel facilities include features like multi cuisine restaurant, henna designing, swimming pool, ayurvedic centre, travel desk, doctor on call, free parking etc

Mid-range

  • Royal Residency, Domuhan Road, ''+91 631'' 220-0124 (fax: ''+91 631'' 220-0181). Comfortable rooms with Japanese style same-sex communal hot tub. two storey building with acceptable quality and services. Dining facilities are good.

Contact

Internet

Most, maybe all internet cafes in town refuse to let you connect anything to the computer such as a camera or thumb drive, and they refuse to let you upload or download photos.

"Eyes Of Compassion" Cyber Cafe (EOC) on Bodhgaya Road appears to be the only cafe in town that lets you use skype or upload photos however you have to pay rs. 5 per photo uploaded or rs. 5 per minute that you use skype. The internet is quite slow all over town. Near Om Restaurant, downstairs.

Respect

  • Take off your shoes before entering the inner parts of the main temple/stupa complex.
  • Circumambulate the stupa and other sacred objects in a clock-wise direction.
  • Preserve the peace and tranquility.
  • Do not climb onto statues, monuments and other sacred objects. Remember that it's not the end after we visit but these should be preserved for our very own future generations ahead.

Beggars

There are many beggars in Bodh Gaya, especially outside temple entrances. Sometimes they can be quite persistent. Nevertheless, they are typically not as determined as the rickshaw drivers or street peddlers trying to sell cheap souvenirs at an exorbitant price.

Get out

  • Sarnath : Sarnath has huge importance in Buddhism is a suburb of the holy city of Varanasi. Thousands of tourist visit daily. Sankrit Tour Zone(India) is best helping hand in Varanasi for travel related issues and bookings for hotel/flight/Train/Guide or Car sankritabhishek@gmail.com or call at +91 - 964-800-0010.
  • Rajgir – The site of Gridhakuta (Vulture's Peak), where the Buddha stayed and gave teachings on the Mahayana (the second turning of the wheel), and Venuvana, the first Buddhist monastery. Rajgir is also an area known for its hot springs, which are open to the public. There are daily bus tours that depart from behind the Birla temple (close to Cafe OM) and cover Rajgir, Nalanda and around 10 to 12 other interesting sights on the way. These buses leave at around 8AM and return at 7PM. Be ready for a really bumpy ride, which is well worth the effort. Charges are surprisingly low at Rs150 only for the whole day (2009 rates - might have increased). If you ask any travel agent within Bodh Gaya about this, they will most likely not tell you about this cheap option. It is preferable to book your tickets a day in advance, as at times there are large groups of pilgrims. If you want to venture out on your own, there is an option of changing buses at Bihar Sharif.
  • Nalanda – This Buddhist university was established in 450CE. Currently, there are extensive ruins, but no inhabitants. Nalanda Museum is open 10AM-5PM daily except Friday. Shared jeeps plying the route between Rajgir and Bihar Sharif make a stop at the turnoff for Nalanda. Rickshaws and other vehicles are available from there to the main gate, a distance of 2km. PWD operates a guest house near the gate.
  • Deo – Visit this place for a glimpse of Famous Sun Temple.
  • Patna - 130 km by Road, Deluxe Buses for Patna Available from BSTDC(Enquiry Phone No. 0631-2200672) Bodhgaya Hotel (7AM, 2PM daily), you can also go By Train from Gaya Junction.

Read

Along the Path: The Meditator's Companion to the Buddha's Land by Kory Goldberg & Michelle Decary




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