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Bodh Gaya is a UNESCO World Heritage site and is one of the most important Buddhist pilgrimage sites in the world, well worth exploring if you take a Ganges River Cruise. A village in the state of Bihar, Bodh Gaya is home to the famous Mahabodhi Tree under which Gautam Buddha gained his enlightenment. Some of the original tree remains are still visible today and nearby pilgrims and tourists can enter the Mahabodhi Temple, a towering structure over 50 metres high and one of UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites. Over 100km from the nearest large city, this is one of the more remote but beautiful locations in India.

A visit to Bodh Gaya provides important insight into the Buddhist culture and Indian religious philosophies whilst also providing tourists with a chance to see some of the countries most beautiful architecture.

Bodh GayaBodh Gaya

Key facts about Bodh Gaya

Bodh Gaya is considered one of the four most important sites for Buddhists and is a pilgrimage destination with visitors coming from all over the world. The three other Buddhist pilgrimage sites include Sarnath, Lumbini and Kushinagar. The Mahabodhi Temple at Bodh Gaya was included as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2002. Bodh Gaya is more than 100 km away from Patna of Bihar making the nearby river one of the best ways to access it and explore. Budh Gaya was earlier known as Uruwela, Sambodhi, Vajrasana or Mahabodhi until the 18th Century. The pilgrimage season in Bodh Gaya starts in September and reaches its peak in January.

Things to do when exploring Bodh Gaya

Simply walking around the city of Bodh Gaya is an attraction in itself and one can easily get lost looking at the towering temples and historic architecture. That being said, the location is not short of other things to do and see.

Visit the Mahabodhi temple, Buddhism's holiest shrine and see the remains of the Mahabodhi Tree. See the 80ft sandstone and granite statue of Lord Buddha that towers over the treetops. Visit the archaeological museum to see the scriptures and relics associated with the Buddha. Smell the incense and take part in a prayer at the Tibetan Temple. Visit Muchalinda Pond, a place to sit, relax and meditate whilst watching the tranquil water teaming with impressive fish.

Bodh Gaya by the River

The nearby river is a perfect way by which to gain access to and explore Bodh Gaya, taking you right up to the outskirts of the city and within a short walk of the main temples and attractions including Mahabodhi temple, Giant Buddha and Muchalinda Pond. During an Upper Ganges River cruise, the historic town of Bodh Gaya is explored for an afternoon followed by an overnight stay in a nearby hotel, providing plenty of time to soak up the culture, sights sounds and culinary delights. With so much to see in Bodh Gaya and to really appreciate the relaxed Buddhist atmosphere, it’s important to allow plenty of time to enjoy your visit and to truly appreciate the serenity that surrounds you.