Top 10 Things to do in Gaya, India

February 20, 2018 Jana Sager

Discover the best top things to do in Gaya, India including Mahabodhi Temple, Vishnupad Temple, Bodhi Tree, Gaya Pind Daan, Mangla Gauri Temple, Royal Bhutan Monastery, Tibetan Monastery, Great Buddha Statue, Rajayatna Tree, Thai Monastery.
Restaurants in Gaya

1. Mahabodhi Temple

Bodh Gaya, India +91 96000 17031
Excellent
81%
Good
15%
Satisfactory
2%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

5 based on 818 reviews

Mahabodhi Temple

One of the most sacred places for Buddhists, the temple is an imposing example of early brick structures in India. It holds the diamond throne, a colossal image of Buddha and the holy Bodhi tree.

Reviewed By Ankur B

The place is so amazing and the positive vibes experienced inside the temples is beyond description. The place is so mesmerizing that you will feel absolute peace. It is advisable to hire a guide before entering the temple otherwise you will miss interesting facts about the temple. Guides are available at the entry gate and charges approx. INR 200.00 only. Mobiles, laptops, battery banks are not allowed inside the temple. Lockers are available free of charge.

2. Vishnupad Temple

Gaya, India
Excellent
43%
Good
37%
Satisfactory
16%
Poor
2%
Terrible
2%
Overall Ratings

4 based on 140 reviews

Vishnupad Temple

Reviewed By A TripAdvisor Member

I went to Vishnupad Temple. As the name suggests, this temple was built as a dedication to Lord Vishnu and features a 40 cm long footprint of Lord Vishnu that is enclosed by a basin made of silver plates. It is great place to go.

3. Bodhi Tree

Bodh Gaya, India +91 96000 17031
Excellent
82%
Good
15%
Satisfactory
2%
Poor
0%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

5 based on 440 reviews

Bodhi Tree

Reviewed By sactokw - Northern Cal

This is a must for the pilgrimage as this is where Gautama became the Buddha. There are many monks and pilgrims, so it can get crowded around the tree. Do take a seat and breathe in the reverence people have for the Buddha. Although the tree may be the 4th or 5th generation, it is a site to see. Many people collect the leaves as momento or gifts. To get in, there are a couple of security check points, and no cellphones or iPads allowed. You can pay 100 rubies (about $1.50USD) to bring in a regular camera.

4. Gaya Pind Daan

Pital Kiwar | Bahuar Chaura, Gaya 823001, India +91 94300 70365
Excellent
30%
Good
50%
Satisfactory
12%
Poor
6%
Terrible
2%
Overall Ratings

4 based on 72 reviews

Gaya Pind Daan

Reviewed By Arun Prasanna G - Gaborone

So you have decided to go to Gaya to do Pind Daan to your ancestors or a departed soul? Good move and here are some ideal tips for the same as i just did and i felt i need to share few information & my own experience so that one doesnt get lost and get the full essence and blessings of what you venture for:-
1. Going all the way to Gaya ensure you stay in Bodh Gaya which has better facilities and also a beautiful little town with its own charm as Lord Buddha's enlightened place. Many many beautiful attractions not to miss and a comfortable stay is guaranteed with humpty number of class hotels
2. Pind Daan can happen in Gaya (12kms away) and a quick Auto ride (Tel: 08804686447) (Rs. 200-250) (dont waste money on taxis unless you want to go and travelling with kids) will do the job.
3. Where to do Pind Daan? Who does it properly ? How reliable? I am told people cheat / ask for a lot etc? - OKAY lets take this one at a time
Where to do Pind Daan in Gaya?
There are many places including the Vishnu Pad Temple complex where random pandas some wearing jeans, some chewing Paan can come to assistance, the one who assists you will also be looking at other potential clients and at the same time will be performing your Pind Daan. Well what am saying is, its not a good idea to do it near or within the temple as its more commercial and their only motto is to make money. Yes, there may be one or two good souls who do it like the way its done, but you must be lucky to find one, if you do, you should be even lucky to get him to quote you reasonably and other competing pandas not to disturb you.
So what must i do?
I contacted Karnataka Bhavan, a mutt based location 1 km before the temple in a gully area operating only for this purposes. (Phone : 99342 64642 Mr. Pawan). If you can't reach this number, still fine, just go there and an elderly gentleman at the reception will offer you a package for Rs.1250. Which includes the entire Pind Daan Puja, Materials, a guide who takes you to temple to drop of the Pindams or the completed items at temple and finish the formalities.
Will there be hidden costs that i need to pay elsewhere?
Keep some 200-300 in 50s or 10s yes i did encounter some of those and i had to just pay them off so that they stop bugging me. But no need to spend beyond 1500 in total for this and at the same time the whole thing is done at peace and to satisfaction.
Why do i hear charges like 3500, 5000 and even 20,000?
Sheer greed. No shastra says you need to give all those "Dhanams" etc. You rather find a worthy place and donate if you have a lot of money. My experience above is only for performing the " PIND DAAN" and not any other "DAAN" so the costs above Rs.2000 means someone is playing games
Ok, i have paid Rs.1250 at Karnataka Bhavan? What happens next? What do i go with ? Any dress code for Pind Daan?
About the Pooja
You are asked to meet one of their many "Purohits" who reside in that mutt and its always busy with the same pooja Performances and has 2-3 floors. Your Purohit will ask you to sit in a designated place and in front you will have 2 small copper pots with water. One big one small. Then a leaf (traditional indian stitched leaf) which will contain rice or flour for you to make Pindams (small round balls).
You will be asked to me 35 x 3 = 105. This includes every departed soul you were in contact with and want to pray for their well being and seek their blessings for your and your family. Once you finish he chants puja for all the 3 layers you just made (it takes about 1.5 to 2 hours) and then you are given the 3 layers in a plate to be taken to Vishnupad temple 1 km away (i walked, if u want u can get an auto too, u can wear your slippers while walking, too many cows around)
A guy from the Karnataka Bhavan will walk along with you to guide you to temple. There you drop off your slippers/shoes (no need to buy anything or listen to anyone outside the temple who may lure to different ideas for them to make money) and go in, you will find a cow - layer one of 35 pindams to be given to cow. Then you enter temple complex and another brahmin priest who is probably connected to Karnataka Bhavan or to the guide who walks you we don't know, but he stops you, says some manthras, takes you into the main Vishnu Pad area and asks you to drop the Pindams at the "Pad" foot prints. And worship the footprint. Take prasad and pay some Dakshina to the brahmin ( i paid Rs.100). He will bless you and then ask you to go to a Banyan tree within the temple complex. There another jeans wearing priest will bless you and ask for Rs.100, you better give to avoid arguments, place the 3rd and final pindams there and remove the "Pavithram" and place it. With this you are done and you can leave the temple back to your hotel. Karnataka Bhavan even arrange for you to have lunch there. Brahmin cooked meals, if you want you eat there and go to your hotel or just go straight. Upto you.

What to take & Dress code
Just keep a separate bag which may have your wallet, phone, a towel (if they ask you to shower, i showered at hotel and went). You can dress in a clean white Dhoti and shirt. You may be asked to remove the shirt during puja which you can wear again after you complete the whole formalities including the visit to temple.
You don't really need to go with anything special apart from money, change, coins may be.
After i finish performing Pind Daan puja at Karnataka Bhavan, what happens?
Ensure, you take prasadam for your home, kids, wife, parents etc. THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT. They will neatly put it in a small money bag and give you some rice and a copper Vishnupad to keep in Pooja room. They give you this even before you head to the temple to drop off the pindams
Additional Ideas of Pind Daan : Please note that if you are flying to Gaya and have 3-4 days etc. Try to go via Allahabad, do a dip at Triveni Sangam, perform Pind Daan there. Then 100kms from there by road is Varanasi, One of the most spiritual and beautiful experience i ever had was here and you can also perform Pind Daan here at Kaashi (Varanasi's other name) and get blessings of river Ganga and Lord Vishwanath. Then a 265 kms drive to Gaya & Bodh Gaya can be your last leg and you can fly out from Gaya International Airport to any of your destination. If you are a train traveller you can still do it, but you need to plan well.
Our beliefs are strange and difficult to understand, but it always gives you a psychological relief and satisfaction. On that note, i hope my tips and travel ideas would be of help to someone who is trying to do but not finding the right place or reasonable cost. Hope this helps!

5. Mangla Gauri Temple

Gaya, India
Excellent
48%
Good
44%
Satisfactory
4%
Poor
4%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 25 reviews

Mangla Gauri Temple

Reviewed By padmaja111 - Hyderabad, India

This is an ancient temple and is mentioned in Padma Purana, Vayu Purana and Agni Purana. Present temple dates back 1500 CE, and it is situated on a hilltop,has a cave like architecture. Goddess is worshipped in the form of breastof ( sthana )as it is believed that Sathi 's body part fell here and it has become a shakthi peseta or energy center. It is considered as a symbol of nourishment. This is benevolent form of Ma Durga and it is believed that whoever comes here Bhakti and prapathi , gets his wishes fulfilled and prayers answered. Inside, 4or5 people can only be accommodated at a time. It is croweded only on Tuesday s and Sundays. Navarathri is the biggest festival here and draws a large number of people. ,There are upalayas housing Mahishasura mardini, Dakshina Kali, Lord Ganesha, Lord Shiva and Hanuman deities.

6. Royal Bhutan Monastery

Buddhist Town, Bodh Gaya, India +91 96000 17031
Excellent
65%
Good
34%
Satisfactory
1%
Poor
0%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 101 reviews

Royal Bhutan Monastery

Reviewed By AnkitJ_rpr - Raipur

Their are many Buddhist temple, in the Gaya, & this one is surely among them. These temples lets you experience the Buddhist culture, & also to get knowledge about, how different parts of the world, have adopted the Buddhism.
It's a kind of lifetime experience. Good to go...

7. Tibetan Monastery

Bodh Gaya, Gaya, India +91 631 220 0735
Excellent
49%
Good
43%
Satisfactory
8%
Poor
0%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 23 reviews

Tibetan Monastery

Reviewed By VIPIN_GOEL_TP_Impex - Prashant Vihar, New Delhi, Delhi, India

Established in the year 1938, the Tibetan Mahayana monastery stands across the road from the Maha Bodhi temple complex. The monastery houses a huge Dharmachakra or the wheel of law, which is 10 meter high metal drum painted in golden and red colour and they say one can be free of all the sins committed, if one spins the wheel three times continuously from left to right. The monastery also consists of an image of Maitreya Buddha, which is believed to be the future incarnation of the Buddha. The Monastery is well decorated with the Tibetan scriptures, thangkas and other Buddhist symbols and objects. It also has a meditation centre and it conducts courses based on meditation and the principles of Buddhism. It also shelters the Buddhist tourists who come to visit the holy place of Bodh Gaya.

8. Great Buddha Statue

Great Buddha Statue Road | Daijokyo Buddhist Temple, Bodh Gaya, India +91 631 220 0747
Excellent
58%
Good
32%
Satisfactory
9%
Poor
1%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 284 reviews

Great Buddha Statue

Reviewed By Jia Q - Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Since Bodh Gaya is so important for Buddhists, many Buddhist Countries/Regions built monasteries in Bodh Gaya. These monasteries normally close from noon to 2pm, so we visited them in the afternoon after a rest in the hotel. In the picture below was the first place we visited in the afternoon. The 80-foot Buddha statue was built by Japan, and as you can see, our driver in blue shirt was taking a selfie in front of the statue. Everyone had to remove shoes to walk around the statue. Since my period just came, I really didn’t want to walk on the cold marble. I put on plastic bags to cover my shoes, but the driver gave me a “you better show some respects” look. After I told him I was not feeling well, he allowed me to walk with shoes that covered by plastic bags.

9. Rajayatna Tree

Bodh Gaya, Gaya, India
Excellent
69%
Good
26%
Satisfactory
5%
Poor
0%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 19 reviews

Rajayatna Tree

Reviewed By Syed_Mudassir - Bengaluru, India

Very peaceful site with in the Mahabodhi Temple Complex. You may find this as the Mecca for the Buddhists. During the Occasion of Great Kalchakra Pooja this place may be the best place to find peace within those enchanting.

10. Thai Monastery

Near Buddha Statue, Bodh Gaya, India
Excellent
58%
Good
34%
Satisfactory
6%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 144 reviews

Thai Monastery

Reviewed By AnkitJ_rpr - Raipur

The temple made in the Thai style, basically depicting their art of architecture, & their method of the worship. Nice to getting to know about the Thai culture.

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