Monday, 12 April 2010


Friday 9 April: The most important place of Buddhist pilgrimage worldwide, this is where, in the 6th century BC under the Bodhi tree, Buddha attained enlightenment. Emperor Ashoka built the original Mahabodhi Temple here in celebration. It was renovated first by the British and then the Indian government and is now a World Heritage Site complete with a beautiful meditation garden and bell house.
Bodghaya is a tranquil town with the additional joy of having great architectural diversity in the monastery buildings that surrounding the main temple complex, from the austere Japanese temple to the delightfully ornate Bhutanese and Thai designs. The Bhutanese monastery is probably the most atmospheric place to stay in town but I opt for a simple room with a bookshelf and 'study' table in the more vibrant Burmese Vihara which suits me just fine.
Pictures of Bodhgaya.
Sunday 11: I squeeze into a ten (often more) person shared three-wheeled tempo (49th mode of transport) to Gaya for the bus to Patna and the North-East Express sleeper to New Jalpaijuri, then jump on a shared jeep to Kuresong, high in the cool tea-growing hillsides of West Bengal.

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