About fifteen kilometres away from Gaya is situated an important Buddhist Destination India- Bodh Gaya. Though it forms a part of Gaya, the two places have diverse significance for two different faiths.
It is believed that Gautam Buddha underwent a penance under a banyan tree in Bodh Gaya. After prolonged penance, he attained enlightenment (bodh) here. Hence this place came to be known as ‘Bodh Gaya’, and the banyan tree which he underwent a penance as the ‘Bodhi Tree’.
With the spread of Buddhism to various parts of the world, Bodh Gaya’s fame as a Buddhist shrine also spread far and wide. Thousands of Buddhist pilgrims from China, Myanmar, Tibet, Thailand, Japan and other countries come on a Buddhist tours India to this place every year.
The place where the Buddha underwent penance has been converted into a sprawling temple, known as Mahabodhi Temple. It is the holiest shrine for the Buddhist and an incredible part of India’s Buddhist tours.
A beautiful idol of Buddha adorns the temple. It has a very high spire, and the walls have carvings depicting various incidents from the life of the Buddha. Next to the temple is a museum which has bronze, gold and stone idols of Buddha.
In the vicinity of the temple-there is another scared shrine- Animesh Lochan Chaitya. It is believed that, after attaining enlightenment the Buddha had first of all visited this place and was entranced to see the Bodhi tree.
Apart from the above mentioned places in Bodh Gaya, Chankraman is the third holy shrine of Bodh Gay a where the Buddha strolled up and down for a long time in a state of indecision for he was not sure whether to share his knowledge with others or not.
The Bodhi Tree on the bank of the river Neeran jana in Bodh Gaya owes its sanctity to the fact that the Buddha had attained enlightenment beneath this tree.
The Tibetan Vihar is also a scared place of Bodh Gaya and one of the important Buddhist Travel Destinations. The devotees take three rounds of it in the belief that this act would cleanse them all their sins.
Apart from an important place o Buddhist pilgrimage, Bodh Gaya is the seat of the famous Magadh University where subjects like History, culture and philosophy are taught.
On 26 June 2002, UNESCO declared the addition of the Mahabodhi temple at Bodhgaya as one of nine new sites added to the prestigious World Heritage List.