Bodh Gaya Travel Blog› entry 8 of 13 › view all entries
We arrived in the city of Gaya, about 5 to 10 miles from Bodh Gaya and took a tuk-tuk to our guest house. Despite the girls confirming a 100 rupee price (about $2) the guy insisted on 150 rupees when we got there. This hasn’t happened often but it does happen.
Bodh Gaya, the holiest site for Buddhists from around the world, is the place where Buddha attained enlightenment. The focal point of the town is the Mahabodi Temple, whose soaring pyramidal spire dominates the landscape. The temple is carved with lotus medallions and scenes from the Buddha’s life, and includes the sacred Bodhi Tree, under which Prince Siddhartha, more than 2,500 years ago, meditated on the causes of human suffering, found the answers he was seeking, and became the Buddha -- the Enlightened One.
As in all temples shoes must be removed before entering, which is understandable and ordinarily not a problem. At Mahabodi Temple though all outdoor walk ways are marble and on a hot day can result in people practically hop scotching from one shady patch to another. This didn’t seem to bother the two dozen maroon-robed, Buddhist monks who walked around the temple time after time chanting their mantras.
While certainly appreciating the history and significance of the Bodi Tree I can’t say I was touched in any big way by the spirituality it represents to Buddhists and others as well.
Other than the Bodi Tree and the many other Buddhist temples from countries throughout Asia--Japan, Thailand, etc--mosquitoes in Bodh Gaya seem to be quite the attraction. They thrive as I’ve never seen them anywhere else--including Wisconsin where they’re considered the state bird. The only plausible explanation is that word has spread throughout the mosquito community that Buddhists don’t believe in killing anything, including mosquitoes, so over the years they‘ve thrived with absolutely no fear of so much as a swat of a hand. There are millions of them all over, inside and out, and you can’t walk 10 feet without a half dozen of them landing on you.