बुद्धं शरणं गच्छामि:। मैं बुद्ध की शरण लेता हूँ। I go to the Buddha for refuge.
धम्मं शरणं गच्छामि:। मैं धर्म की शरण लेता हूँ। I go to the Dharma for refuge.
संघं शरणं गच्छामि:। मैं संघ की शरण लेता हूँ। I go to the Sangha for refuge.
Well, I read somewhere that Buddha’s path is the only true path to the righteous path(Dharma). Those who didn’t know this, they knew nothing. Those who call Buddha a great soul(Mahatma) or master(Swami) they don’t know him at all. Buddha is like, Buddha only. He is the last in series of Avatar. After him, there would be no Avatar until Holocaust tomorrow.
How To Reach Bodhgaya
There are plenty of way reaching the Bodhgaya from all over India. One can come here via air, road or train according to own choice.
Gaya is the nearest airport which is approximately 17 km from the town of Bodhgaya. Though the frequency of flights is lesser, the airport is well-connected to Kolkata by flights. Now, however, the airport has started catering to international as well as domestic sectors. To start with, Thai Airways has an everyday flight to Gaya, Druk Air (an international carrier) flies once in a week from Bangkok.
The second nearest airport to Gaya is in Patna which is approximately 135 km away from the town. Patna airport is well-connected to Kolkata, Mumbai, Delhi, Ranchi, Lucknow and various other Indian cities via Indian Airlines and other domestic carriers.
A main road connects the town of Bodhgaya to the city of Gaya. Bihar State Tourism Corporation runs bus services (standard as well as deluxe buses) from Patna to Bodh Gaya twice daily. Apart from Patna, bus services are also available from Nalanda, Rajgir, Varanasi and Kathmandu. Now, a new line of luxury air-conditioned Volvo buses have been introduced that connect Bodhgaya with nearby towns and cities.
The nearest rail head is Gaya Junction, which is 13 km away from Bodhgaya. It is well-connected to major Indian cities. Once you reach at the Gaya railway station, you can reach the holy town by hiring any local taxi from there. The taxi charge will vary and depend upon the time of the day your trains reaches. Some of the regular trains are Sealdah-New Delhi Rajdhani Express, Howrah Rajdhani Express, Howrah-New Delhi Rajdhani Express and Kolkata Mail.
The second nearest railway station is in Patna which is 110 km away from Bodhgaya. Patna rail head boasts of a good connectivity and most of the Indian cities including metros like Bengaluru, Delhi, Hyderabad, Mumbai and Pune are linked with the Patna railhead.
My Introduction To Buddha
Prior to class 8th, I knew only two things about Gautam Buddha. That, both of us born in the same country and I don’t have to go school on his birthday— which was cool for me. When I passed class 7th, mom bought me a hip of new books and copy. In the middle of hip, I saw a book entitled Buddhacharita. I took it, read a couple of lines and that was the first interaction with Buddha’s life.
More I read about him, more I get fascinated by him. His story influences me so much that sometimes I thought of leaving home and go for meditation. It sounds foolish but that was a thought of a child. Many children of my age wanted to have Shaktiman power, a famous Indian superhero. I think this is what a child is like.
Now, I knew a lot about Buddha, I read about the Bodhi tree, under which he attained enlightenment. Once in the morning of Buddha Jayanti, Doordarshan was broadcasting a program about Gautam Buddha. They show some clips of Bodhi tree narrating the importance of it in Buddhism. This was the very first time in my life when I saw something related to Gautam Buddha.
My Visit To Bodhgaya
I think it was August of 2015 when I very first visited the Bodhgaya. I didn’t feel much spirituality during that time, as I was in the company of 8-10 friends just running everywhere. Although I did a lot of cool stuff, nothing was related to the spiritualism of that place.
The second time I went with a special friend all the way from Rajasthan, but nothing like Rajasthani. Devendra Muwal a Rajasthani who listen to Nepali song and have a good collection of it. I saw him listening to the Nepali song using google translator to understand the lyrics. So we went Bodhgaya in 2016, it was an awesome experience and one of a kind. We booked an auto rickshaw and rickshaw took us in every temple. We wanted to visit many other places but he needs to leave due to some reason.
On May 7th, 2017 I visit Bodhgaya for the third time—I visited the Bodhgaya. I was with three friends Praveen(Chensy), Chetan and Alok. It was the first visit of Chetan and Alok. Chensy had been here two years ago so I was the pro one.
Did Everything, But Under The Budget
I used all of my two-year knowledge and try my best to make their experience wow. First, we submit our cell phone in a counter and took a ticket of 150 INR for the camera. As one cannot carry the camera inside without permission. We went through the security check took a couple of selfies and a further walk to the main temple.
The floor of the temple was so hot that it was impossible to walk with barefoot, so the carpet was spread all over the floor. We entered into the temple, there was a big statue of Lord Budha meditating. Many monks were chanting the mantras.
Later we went to the back of the temple and sat in the shade of Bodhi tree. There were plenty of Buddha’s followers from all over the world, meditating just beneath the Bodhi tree.
There was also a lake called Mucalinda with a statue of Buddha sitting upon the snake in the middle of it. It is believed that heaven darkened for seven days after the four weeks when Buddha began to meditate. So the king of serpents, Mucalinda came out from the earth and protect him with his hood.
Just in the front of the lake, there was also a pillar. People believe that if someone stuck a coin on pillar’s top then his/her wish will come true. I don’t know whether it’s true, but I did it on every visit. Back of the lake consist of many glass house with thousands of lighted wick. There were also small stupas and carve on the boundary’s wall narrating the story of Buddha from birth to salvation.
First Time In Tanga(Carriage)
I had never ridden tanga(carriage) in my entire life, this was the first time I ever rode a tanga. Before riding tanga but after the exit from the Mahabodhi temple, we visited Tibetan temple. There were many international temples of Buddha from all the Buddhist country. The coachman took us to Thai temple and in all temples, this one had the most beautiful architecture.
Chensy wanted to mimic his pose that I took two years back here. So I took his image with blurry detailed in my mind. I looked at Chetan, he was busy in taking the selfie. After taking few more images of Alok and Chensy—we walked toward the tanga(carriage).
On the way, I asked coachman what is the name of the horse. He said Chhootki, which means small. I took a picture of her while riding, she was lean and thin, small in height, coordinating her name Chhootki. I felt bad for her but I suppressed my feelings and decided to enjoy the ride(evil me).
There were many temples on the way, but we visited “Great Buddha Statue” which is 80 feet tall. We were like Lilliput in the front of the statue.
We walked toward another temple after having a glass of soda. I saw a beautiful stupa, about 60-70 meter away from the entrance gate. Took a couple of images of friends in front of the stupa.
Monks were chanting the prayer with all their instrument playing. We spent more than half an hour watching them praying as it was very peaceful. Coachman unloads us near Chinese temple. Looks of the temple had changed a lot due to renovation. At last, we ended our journey visiting the Tenzing Tibetan temple and big gold painted stupa.
I have been to many places and has always realised, a company of good friends always make the journey much more exciting and memorable. I will be always thankful for the support of my best buddies, those have helped me making my journey memorable. Thank you, Parveen(Chensy), Alok, Chetan, Devendra, Kapil, Mantu, Nishit, Pramod, Lal, Devesh, Ashish, Nikhil, Hariom, Sonu, Sachin, Atul, Ved, Amit, Rahul, Surya, Vikash, Vikram, Deepak, Pankaj, Rajkumar, Pawan and our chcha Saif Bhai.