Bodhgaya, the erstwhile Uruvela, is an international place of pilgrimage located in the central part of Bihar
, 16 km from Gaya
and 105 km from Patna
. Situated on the banks of Niranjana River, it is the place where Gautama Buddha
attained enlightenment. The centre has monasteries and meditation centers run by Tibetan, Burmese, Thai and Vietnamese communities. There is a restored 7th century Mahobodhi Temple
, considered to be originally built by Ashoka
during 300 BC and a museum of Buddhist and Hindu relics here.
An ancient pipal tree - named Bodhi Tree
- is situated at the back of the main temple. It is revered as the descendant of the tree under which Gautama sat in meditation for enlightenment.
The ideal time to visit Bodhgaya is between December and March. Barabar and Nagarjuni Hills, situated about 41 km from Bodhgaya, are sites worth visiting.
Bhar State Tourism Development Corporation conducts daily deluxe coach services to and from Bodhgaya and Patna. Nearest airport is Patna Airport (112 km) and the nearest railhead is Gaya Junction Railway Station (16 km).