Archaeological Museum, Bodhgaya-Bihar

Archaeological Museum, Bodhgaya-Bihar
Bodhgaya, in the state of Bihar, reckoned as the most important Buddhist pilgrimage center, is the place where Lord Sakyamuni (Gautam Buddha) entered into meditation after being moved by the sufferings of mankind. The giant Bodhi Tree (Peepal) that we see today is believed to have grown from the original Bodhi Tree under which, sitting on the raised platform, Prince Siddharth meditated and imally attained Nirvana.  

There is no other place more venerated by Buddhist than Bodh Gaya, where Gautam Siddhartha attained enlightenment and came to be called the Buddha, the Awakened one. A visit to Bodh Gaya is to commune with that sparkling illumination, that perceptive light of wisdom which removes unhappiness. This is why each year on the full-moon night in the month of May one can still see pilgrims (from India, Nepal, Burma, Thailand, China, Japan, and other countries) thronging here to celebrate the sublime event of the Buddha’s Nirvana.

So, while visiting the Mahabodhi Temple don’t miss the Archaeological Museum, Bodhgaya as it houses ancient sculptures and antiquities of Buddhism. The museum was established in 1956 and has a collection of Buddhist sculpture from the 1st century B.C to 11th century A.D. You can see a collection of relics of the old temple and also the remains of the railings of the temple dating to the 2nd-1st century B.C .Inside the museum are two galleries with an open courtyard and two verandahs filled with antiquities. The courtyard inside the Archaeological Museum, Bodhgaya contains cross bars, railing pillars and coping stones which were once inside the Mahabodhi temple premises.

The first gallery exhibits sculptures including standing Yakshi figure having elaborate coiffure, crowned Buddha in Bhumisparsamudra, Maiterya, images of Buddha in different attitude, standing image of Manjusri, terracotta plaque depicting Buddha in Bhumisparshmudra, railing pillar depicting Surya, panel showing Sahasra Buddha, copper antimony rod, miniature pot.In second gallery are exhibited sculptures associated with Buddhist and Brahmanical faith. Among them mention may be made of panel showing Sapta matrika, Dikpalas, Dasavatara of Lord Vishnu.

While at Bodhgaya, one can easily observe that peace and spirituality pervades all over the place. The Bodhi Tree under which Buddha gained enlightenment or Nirvana is the cynosure of all eyes here. Even followers from countries like Burma, Sri Lanka, China, Bhutan, Tibet and Japan have established numerous monastic settlements here. These settlements have heightened the spiritual charm of the place all the more. The surroundings are calm and are a perfect haven for those who are in search of peace and tranquility.
Location info:
Address:Archaeological Museum ,Bodhgaya,Bihar,India
Nearest City:Bodhgaya
Best time to visit: October to March
Summer- Max. 43, Min. 21. Winter – Max. 20, Min. 6. Rainfall: 120 cms.
The museum was established in the year 1956. The museum consists of two galleries and an open courtyard as well as two verandahs displaying the antiquities. The museum exhibits bronze and stone sculptures of Buddhist and Brahmanical faith of pala period, scenes related to Buddhist pantheon, Surya, Zodiac signs on railings of Sunga age, etc.
Interesting things to do:
Interesting things to Visit:
Bhutan Temple:
Bhutan Temple is located close to Mahabodhi Temple in Bodhgaya of Bihar. A popular pilgrim spot, the temple is built in Bhutan architectural style.  

Bodhi Sarovar:
Bodhi Sarovar is a pond situated to the west of the Bodhi Temple in the district Gaya. It is believed that Buddha took bath in this pond before going for meditation. It is an attractive place that is worth visiting.

Bodhi Tree:
Bodhi, also referred to as the tree of wisdom, is a gigantic pipal tree located at the western side of Mahabodhi Temple, in Bodhgaya, one of the four holy sites to Buddhists. Situated on the banks of the Niranjana River, Bodhi Tree is 13 km from Gaya. It is believed that this tree is a direct descendant of the one under which the Buddha Sakyamuni attained enlightenment, inside the Mahabodhi complex. Below the tree is a platform, on which the footprints of Buddha have been carved out in stone. Another highlight is Vajrasan, a slab of red stone, which is believed to be the spot Buddha sat for meditation.

Chinese Buddhist Temple:
Located at Bodhgaya in Bihar near Nyingma Monastery, the White Chinese Buddhist Temple was constructed in 1945 and belongs to a Taiwanese-based monastic order. It is white in color and built in Indo-Chinese architectural style. The statue of Buddha inside the temple was brought from China.

Dungeshwari Cave Temples:
Dungeshwari Cave Temples, also known as Mahakala caves, is situated 12 km north-east of Bodhgaya, Bihar. There are three caves containing Buddhist shrines, where the Buddha is believed to have meditated.

International Meditation Center:
International Meditation Center, situated at Bodhgaya, offers courses on meditation and Buddhist philosophy. It came into existence in the year 1970 and was the first registered Vipassana Meditation Center in India. The center also conducts retreats round the year where the meditators from all over the world come together to participate. Buddhists from different parts of the world come together for Kathina Civara Dana or the Robe-offering Ceremony, which is held after the Vassa Vasa or the Rainy Retreat. The ceremony is organized to offer robes to the venerable monks by the devotees. Since 1970 International Meditation Center has been offering Vipassana Meditation without a break.

Japanese Buddha Temple:
Japanese Buddha Temple is an ordinary pagoda type temple situated at Bodhgaya, Bihar. The temple has fine artistry which makes it beautiful. It has a 150 ft high gold statue of the meditating Buddha brought from Japan.

Mahabodhi Temple:
The UNESCO certified World Heritage Site, Mahabodhi Temple is sited at Bodhgaya in Gaya District of Bihar. Built entirely in brick, it is 170 ft high and dates back to the fifth or sixth century. The temple is historically an interesting spot because it is the place where Buddha attained enlightenment. The temple stands adjacent to descendant of the original Bodhi Tree, under which Buddha sat in meditation for enlightenment. A Buddhist shrine, the temple is an ornate structure with a pyramid (50 m high) on the top. A red sandstone slab named Vajrasan can be seen beneath the tree. It is believed to be the spot where Buddha sat for meditation. Also found here is a large gilded image of Buddha.

Root Institute for Wisdom Culture:
Root Institute for Wisdom Culture is a registered non-profit charitable trust situated at Bodhgaya, offering courses in Buddhist philosophy and meditation. This Buddhist center guarantees a suitable environment for the people of any nationality or religion to study and meditate on the Mahayana Buddhist teachings.

Thai Temple:
Thai temple is located in Gaya District. It is a beautiful temple with sloping roofs and gold lacquered tiles. The temple houses the image of a magnificent Buddha with curly hair. In order to accommodate devotees and Thai Buddhist monks, rooms are provided behind the temple.
Mobile range info:
How to reach?
Nearest Railway Station:Gaya railway station is also connected by the rest of the country by trains. Many of the trains that run between Delhi and Kolkata go through Gaya. Direct trains also operate to destinations like Patna, Puri and Varanasi
Nearest Airport:Gaya airport international one and connects it to destinations like Yangon and Bangkok. Domestically, it is connected to destinations like Varanasi.
Road Transport:Gaya is connected by road to all the other important cities and towns of Bihar and neighbouring states– Rajgir, Patna, Giridih, Deogarh, Hazaribagh, Dhanbad, Tata and Kolkata.
Nearest Visiting places:
The Vishnupada Temple:
Standing on the subterranean banks of the river Falgu, the Vishnupada temple is 3 km away from the city. It was constructed by RajaRadhakanta Dev of Shovbazaar, Kolkata and renovated by Rani Ahalya Bai of Indore. The temple has a 30 m high tower that rests on 8 rows of decorated pillars covered with silver. Within, 16 inches long and 6 inches wide lotus feet of Lord Vishnu is imprinted on a solid rock, 48 inches diametre. The footprint, which is the primary object of worship in the temple, is surrounded by silver plated basin. Devotees offer water on the stone imprint on behalf of their forefathers. Also within the temple complex is the Akshaya vat, or the immortal banyan tree where last rites of an expired person is perfomed as per Hindu tradition. It is also believed that the Buddha practised meditation under this tree before going to Bodh Gaya and attaining enlightenment.  

Ramshila Hill:
Located 5 kms from the Vishnupad temple, the Ramshila Hill has a Sita Ram Lakshman Temple and Paleswara temple at its top. At Ramkund, pinda is offered.

Pretshila Hill:
3 kms ahead of the Ramshila Hill is the Pretshila Hill with a kund at the bottom. Here, pind-dan of those who died in accidents is performed.

Deo Sun Temple:
Deo is located north of the Vishnupada temple on the banks of the Sone river, around 20 km from Gaya.The Sun temple here is extremely famous. During the Chhat puja celebration (6 days after Dipawali), pilgrims stand waist deep in the water of the river and offer prayers as well as newly harvested grains, fruits and home made sweets to Sun god. A fair is also held here during this puja.

Pawapuri is also known as Apapuri, it is believed that all sins for a devout Jain end here. Lord Mahavira who was the last Tirthankar breathed his last here around 500 B.C and was cremated on the bank of a large lake, overflowing with beautiful lotuses. Pawapuri, the place where Lord Mahavira, the founder of Jainism, attained his enlightenment is located 38 kms from Rajgir and 90 kms from Patna.Legend has it that after the cremation of Mahavira, in order to meet the demand for his ashes, a large amount of soil was removed from around the funeral pyre, creating the water-tank. The beautiful marble Jalmandir was later built in the middle of the tank. Jal Mandir, the white marble temple in the middle of this lake, blooming with beautiful lotus flowers affords a breathtakingly enchanting sight. A large number of Jain pilgrims throng here. Samosharan, another Jain temple, is also located here. There are five other temples in the vicinity.

The world’s first democracy with a duly elected council– Vajji, had its seat of administration in Vaishali. Being associated with Buddha and Jain Tirthankars, Vaishali has emerged as a historical and scenic place. Lord Buddha came thrice here and also gave his last sermon at Vaishali. Amrapali, a courtesan, gifted a mango grove to Buddha and later she became a Buddhist nun. Vaishali was also the venue for the second Buddhist council, 100 years after the death of Buddha.Vaishali is also considered to be the birthplace of Jain Tirthankar, Mahavira, by the Swetambar sect of Jains. Many historical monuments and material were found in the excavations at Vaishali

Barabar caves:
The Barabar caves, generally found in the shape of a cottage or hut, open on one side with other three sides walled with stone. With their interiors smooth and soothing, these caves also served as retreats for the Jain and Buddhist monks. Among the Buddhist caves, the Lomas Rishi cave is the finest example of the world famous Indian Buddhist Chaitya arch style.

Barabar hills:
Barabar hills located at a distance of 20 kilometers from Gaya in Bihar, comprises numerous temples constructed from black granite stones. Built for the first time during Ashoka’s reign with contributions in the later period also, these caves look like wood from a distance.

Nagarjuna caves:
The Nagarjuna caves, large in size, depicts the Jataka tales. An excellent work of architecture, these caves includes bow shaped arches at the entrance, circular halls and mini caves, all polished from inside. The Sudama cave, a two chambered structure with polished interiors, is the perfect example of this type of cave. Towards the north of the Sudama cave lies Karan Choper or Supriya cave, which is a single chambered structure with a vaulted roof and small gate. Secondly, the caves of the five Pandavas form another part of the Barabar caves. THese caves, used by five brothers, the Pandavas in their exile in the Mahabharata period, are small in size.

Swarna Bhandar:
The Swarna Bhandar or the King Bimbisara’s treasury, is also known as the twin rock cut caves in Rajgir. a major tourist destination, two cave chambers were hollowed out of a single massive rock, one of which is believed to have been the guards’ room. The rear wall or the doorway which has two straight vertical lines and one horizontal line cut into the rock, is supposed to lead to king Bimbisara’s treasury. The inscriptions carved on the wall in Sankhalipi or shell script has not be deciphered yet and considered to be the clue to open the golden treasury.

Mahabodhi Temple:
Buddhism is today a world renowned religion. It is this temple that witnessed the divine enlightenment of Gautama Siddartha who renounced all worldly pleasures to find the answers to the questions that stirred his soul. He meditated under a pipal tree here and attained insight and wisdom that he preached to the world. This tree is also referred to as the “Bodhi tree”. A visit to this holy place will explain to you why the UNESCO declared it as a World heritage site in the year 2002.The Mahabodhi Temple, Bodhgaya built around 6th-7th centuries, is the largest but is a later structure constructed on the site of the Bodhi Shrine of Buddha. This temple was constructed by the famous Emperor Asoka who embraced Buddhism after feeling guilty of leading a life of war and destruction.
The temple is 170 ft high consisting of nine storeys of pyramidal towers. The structure has a stupa shaped dome at the top. At the base of the main tower are four towers at each of the four corners. On the edifice are several niches with Buddha images depicting scenes from his life. As you enter the temple you can see the main shrine which is built where Buddha attained Enlightenment. The place is called “the Navel of the Earth” (puthavinabhim) where Buddha gained wisdom, knowledge and light and later experienced this joy of liberation for the next seven days sitting there.

It is situated at a distance of about 16 Kms west of Saharsa in village Mahishi where an ancient temple of Bhagwati Tara is built. The idol of Bhagwati Tara is said to be very old and draws devotees from far and wide. On either side of the main deity, there are two smaller female deities which are worshipped by the people as Ekjata nad Nil Saraswati.

Chandika Sthan at BIRATPUR:
Biratpur village under Sonebarsa block of this district is famous for an ancient temple of goddess Chandi. This village is also associated with King Birat of the Mahabharat age. During exile the Pandavas had lived here for 12 years.The tantric Scholars and devotees attach much significance to this Chandi temple, which is said to form an equilateral triangle (TRIK) WITH Katyayani temple near Dhamhara ghat and Tara temple at Mahishi. During the Navratra people from distant places visit the village to offer prayers to the goddess of power.

Madan Bharti Asthan:
The place is situated in Mahishi Block. It is said that a religious discourse (Shastrath) was held between Shankaracharya and the local scholar Mandan Mishra. Bharti, wife of Madan Mishra, who was also a great scholar, was named as Judge for the discourse. It is also said that Shankaracharya, after his initial victory over Madan Mishra was challenged by Bharati, was outwitted by her and he (accepted defeat).

SUN Temple at Kandaha:
Like Deb (in Aurangabad district), the SUN Temple at Kandaha village is an important religious and historical place which has been duly recognized by the Archaeological Survey of India. The idol of sun god riding seven horsed chariot, has been carved on a single granite slab. At the door of the sanctum sanctorum, there are inscriptions which a deciphered by historians, confirm that this sun temple was built during the period of king Narsimha Deo of Karnata dynasty who ruled over Mithila in the 12th century. It is said that a brutal Mughal emperor named Kalapahad had damaged the temple which was however renovated by the famous saint poet Laxminath Gosai.

Laxminath Gosai Sthal at Bangoan:
The famous saint and poet of which is hardly 9 Km away from the district head quarter. The huge bunyan tree under which the remains of Gosaiji have been preserved is the centre of great reverence for the people of the district.

Dewan Ban Mandir:
One Shiv Ling is established in the temple situated in Sahpur-Manjhoul of Nauhatta block. It is said that the Ling was established by Maharaja Shalivahan some time in 100BC. The Hindus celebrate a festival called jitiya after the name of Jimutbahan who was the son of Maharaja Shalivahan. Description of this place is found in Shri Puran. The ancient shrine at Dewan Ban was washed away by the turbulent Koshi river. The local people have however build another temple in the adjacent area.

It is an old village, important since the time of Mughals and is presently the headquarters of the block of the same name. The village has a ‘Shiva temple’ about 80 feet in height. The temple which was damaged in the earthquake of 1934 was reconstructed by Raja Srinand Singh of Srinagar Estate. There is a grave of Madho Singh on an earthen mound about 50 feet high. Madho Singh had become a martyr in the battle of Ladri Ghat. Offerings are made on he rave both by Hindus and Muslims.

Bihar School of Yoga:
Bihar School of Yoga houses a Yoga Research Library. Comprising of a well-stocked and large collection of books and data, the library is an asset in itself. Here, you will find the school’s publication on Yoga, health techniques and research, apart from other books on yoga. The school, located at Ganga Darshan, is built over a large hill overlooking the Utter-Vahini Ganga. The location of the training is very apt, as it provides the perfect ambience for the establishment of such a training center.

Bhimbandh Wild Life Sanctuary:
Occupying an area of about 682 sq km, Bhimbandh Wildlife Sanctuary is located in the south-west of Munger District of Bihar. The sanctuary falls to the south of the river Ganges and is at a distance of 56 km from Munger. Besides being famous for its wildlife, the place is also well accounted for its hot water springs. These hot springs are basically found at the valley portion and the foothills of Bhimbandh.
Nearest Petrol Pump:
Petrol Pump Dobhi Gaya:Gaya,Bihar,India
Lotus Nikko Bodhgaya Hotel:Bodhgaya,Gaya,Bihar,India  
Hotel Pankaj:Tekari Road,Gaya,Bihar,India,MO:09955811250
Hotel Gharana:Hotel Gharana,South Church Road,Near Gandhi Maindan,Gaya,Bihar,India,ph:0631 2225512
Things to carry:
Tips & Suggestions:
Help Line/Phone Number:
Police Station:100
Nearest Hospital:
Government Hospital:Jehanabad,Bihar,India
Holy Family Hospital:Koderma,Jharkhand,India
Society/Community Phone Number: