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The tide of history can be turned by a single moment. At Bodhgaya, in the Indian state of Bihar, that moment was the second that Prince Gautama Siddhartha achieved enlightenment beneath the branches of a bodhi tree, giving birth to one of the world’s great religions. Bodhgaya has been a place of pilgrimage ever since, attracting a continuous stream of Buddhist monks and Buddhism enthusiasts from around the world, particularly in January and February, when the Dalai Lama visits from Dharamsala to deliver lectures to the crowds. A descendant of the original bodhi tree still stands in the grounds of the famous Mahabodhi Temple, 2500 years after ...

The tide of history can be turned by a single moment. At Bodhgaya, in the Indian state of Bihar, that moment was the second that Prince Gautama Siddhartha achieved enlightenment beneath the branches of a bodhi tree, giving birth to one of the world’s great religions. Bodhgaya has been a place of pilgrimage ever since, attracting a continuous stream of Buddhist monks and Buddhism enthusiasts from around the world, particularly in January and February, when the Dalai Lama visits from Dharamsala to deliver lectures to the crowds. A descendant of the original bodhi tree still stands in the grounds of the famous Mahabodhi Temple, 2500 years after the life of the Buddha. Surrounding the temple compound are dozens of monasteries and temples, constructed by Buddhist nations from around the world. Many offer courses in Buddhist philosophy, attracting large numbers of spiritually-minded Western students. The gateway to Bodhgaya is the small town of Gaya, eight miles north along the Patna road.

Joe Bindloss
About the Expert

Joe Bindloss has written more than 30 guidebooks for Lonely Planet, Time Out and other publishers, with a focus on Southeast Asia, the Indian Subcontinent and island nations.

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Joe Bindloss for Triporati

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Facts at a Glance

  • Location: A city in Gaya district in the state of Biha, in Eastern India.
  • Language: Hindi, English
  • Currency: Indian Rupee
  • Research: Wikipedia | Wikitravel
  • Weather: Daylight | Rainfall
  • Current Time:

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    October to May, particularly January and February for the Dalai Lama's lectures