A Travel Guide to Gaya

Gaya Airport Directory (GAY)
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Gaya is a popular pilgrimage destination in Bihar. The city features numerous temples and abbeys that are dedicated to Buddhism. Its major tourist attractions include the marvellous Buddha sculpture, the Bodhi Tree and the Mahabodhi Temple. As commonly called by the locals, a trip to Gaya or Buddh Gaya will give you an in-depth insight into the city's religious values. Taking a stroll at its architectural masterpieces will leave you charmed. The sacred city of Bihar is where Prince Siddhartha meditated under the Bodhi Tree to achieve spiritual enlightenment. 

The city is known for serenity and hence is surrounded by pacific spots all over. After covering the major attractions, there are chances you might miss the hidden places that are not known but are a must-visit. So, take a ramble at the Daijokyo Buddhist Temple, a Buddhist temple that features a three-story pagoda building, including the main hall on the first floor, a founder's hall on the second floor the reliquary hall on the rooftop. The Barabar Cave is the ancient rock-cut cave that features Lomas Rishi caves and is a treat to watch. You can also plan your day to visit places like the Chinese Temple and Monastery, Muchalinda Lake, etc. Enjoy the city's beautiful architectural sight along with its tranquil ambience.

Best time to visit Gaya

  • Summer: The best time to visit Gaya is between March to June. The weather during these months is quite warm and dry.
  • Winter: The best time to visit Gaya during winters is between December to February.
  • Monsoon: Monsoons in Gaya arrive in June and last till September.

Most Spoken Languages in Gaya

  • Magahi or Magadhi
  • Hindi
  • English

How to reach Gaya

  • By air: The Gaya International Airport is located at a distance of 12 km from the southwest of Gaya city. IndiGo now operates daily flights connecting Gaya with Kolkata and Varanasi and seamless connections to other key destinations in India.
  • By bus: The Bihar State Tourist Development Corporation operates deluxe bus services to and from Patna. You can also hop on private buses that leave early in the morning.
  • By train: Train is another pocket-friendly and comfortable mode of transport. If you love to travel by train, then consider booking your tickets in advance to get your favourite spot.

Getting around Gaya

The best way to move around Gaya is through various modes of transportation, such as cycle-rickshaws, tourist taxis and auto-rickshaws. These modes are not only convenient but affordable too. As the city is walkable, hence taking a foot tour to nearby tourist sites is feasible.

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Places to visit in Gaya

  • The Mahabodhi Temple: The Mahabodhi Temple or the Great Awakening Temple, as they commonly call it, is a place where Lord Gautam Buddha meditated and attained enlightenment. The temple is spread over an area of 4.8 hectares and is approximately 55 meters in height. After turning to Buddhism, Emperor Ashoka constructed this temple to achieve peace and solitude. Situated towards the left of the temple is the Bodhi Tree that is considered the direct descendant of the real tree.
  • The Dungeshwari Cave: Situated at 12 km from the north-eastern part of Gaya is the Dungeshwari Cave, known as the Mahakala Cave. It is one of the caves where Buddha spent around seven years meditating before going to Gaya. You will witness a lot of Buddhist shrines called Sujata Sthan. The cave depicts the story of the self-mortification of Gautama Buddha.
  • The Royal Bhutan Monastery: Constructed as a tribute to Lord Buddha is one of the glorious monasteries of Gaya, the Royal Bhutan Monastery that is carved and decorated with traditional architecture. It features a temple that structures seven feet high image of the Lord Buddha. The beautiful picture is engraved with Buddhist symbols and scriptures. It has a specific rest area for the Bhutanese monks. The monastery also organises peace prayers and guides individual and group meditation classes.
  • The Root Institute for Wisdom Culture: The Root Institute for Wisdom Culture is a beautiful oasis of tranquillity that is situated close to Gaya. Established in 1984, it was started under Lama Thubten Yeshe and Lama Thubten Zopa Rinpoche's direction. An institute is a unique place for meditation and blessings. The institute is established with a mission to offer its service to all and build a sympathetic, spiritual environment. Being here will help you imbibe the dharma activities that are practised and preached here.
  • The Archaeological Museum: Established in 1956, the Archaeological Museum is based near the Mahabodhi Temple. The museum has an extensive collection of stone sculptures, terracotta items, miniature pots, Lord Buddha images, coping stones, and Hindu and Buddhist relics. Its primary attraction is the enormous idols of Lord Buddha in abhaya mudra position and Lord Vishnu in varaha avatar. You can also see Mughal era coins from the great Mauryan and Gupta period, along with some antique relics.

Places to eat in Gaya

Be Happy Cafe
Be Happy Cafe

Be Happy is an authentic vegetarian cafe that offers vegetarian food options along with coffee and delicious bakery products. Located in the heart of Gaya, the restaurant is just a walk away from the popular Mahabodhi Temple. One of their popular food options include the flavoursome thin crust pizza with homemade sauce and fresh mozzarella cheese.

Nirvana the Veg Cafe
Nirvana the Veg Cafe

If you are looking for multiple cuisines, then head to Nirvana the Veg Café. The café is known to serve delicacies, such as fried noodles, rice, sandwiches, dosai, uttapam, etc. So, you will enjoy your visit here if you are looking for North Indian, as well as South Indian cuisines.

Hari Om International Café
Hari Om International Café

The Hari Om International Café is a restaurant that offers backpacker-friendly menu along with popular vegetarian delicacies. The eatery’s specialty includes litti chokha, a snack which includes dough balls served with eggplant. So, visit the place to get the flavour of the local specialties.


Shopping places in Gaya

  • The Tibetan Refugee Market: The Tibetan Refugee Market is a place to buy Buddhism souvenirs, artefacts, and related accessories. It’s remarkable collection of novels and books will bring you close to Buddhist philosophy and culture. You can spend an ample number of hours looking at the handicraft articles crafted on the Tibetan faith. So, enjoy being here as the visit to this market will never bore you.
  • The Kundan Bazaar: A small market located in the Kundan Bazaar Guest House features a small shop known to sell souvenirs, clothing, gift articles and Lord Buddha statues. If you are a book lover, then the shops here will not disappoint you, as the books are reasonably priced, and bargaining can fetch you an extra discount too. So, take a stroll and pick your gifts from the market here.
  • The Mahabodhi Bookshop: The Mahabodhi Bookshop is a place for book worms. The shop is structured inside the Mahabodhi Temple at the entrance, and hence looking for books in this serene and untainted ambience is an undefined experience. Its book collection is based on the Buddhist faith, Lord Buddha, and the Mahabodhi Temple's history. The store boasts the most extensive range of books based on spiritual literature.

Where to stay in Gaya


The Maha Bodhi Hotel Resort Convention Centre Located near the Mahabodhi Temple, the Maha Bodhi Hotel Resort Convention Centre is a property that offers air-conditioned rooms along with necessary amenities, such as wardrobe, flat-screen satellite TV, minibar and work desk. So, stay here if you have plans to visit the Mahabodhi Temple.


The Bodh Gaya Gautam The Bodh Gaya Gautam is a property that offers accommodation at an affordable price. The nearest attraction to the hotel includes Thai Monastery, Bodh Gaya Bus Station and Great Buddha Statue. Not only this, the hotel offers a front desk facility to serve you for 24-hours.


The Tara Guest House Tara Guest House is a comfortable, yet affordable property. The apartment offers services like free Wi-Fi access, iron and ironing board, and a seating area. You can also go for a stroll to relax at the property’s garden and a terrace area.


The Bodh Gaya Hotel School The Bodh Gaya School is a hotel that offers cozy rooms at decent prices. The property is known to offer a flat TV screen with cable connection, kettle and free Wi-Fi. Apart from that, the hotel offers a private parking facility too.

Reasons to visit Gaya

  • The Wat Thai Buddhagaya: Constructed in 1956, the Wat Thai Buddhagaya is a Thai Monastery that was constructed on Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru's demand. This unique monastery is the only shrine in India that exhibits the grace of Thai architecture. The temple's sloping and curved roof is enclosed with golden tiles. The recently built statue of Lord Buddha is 25 meters in height and has been constructed close to the Wat Thai Temple. A step inside the temple will give you a serene vibe. Must visit to acquire some peace of mind.
  • The Brahmyoni valley: Another tourist and religious site in Gaya is the Brahmyoni valley. The temple can be reached through an arduous climb of approximately 424 steps. Rao Bhau Saheb, the Maratha-chieftain, constructed it. The temple signifies the Hindu Lord Brahma's positive energy, who is known as the creator of the world as per the religious Hindu texts. You can also visit two caves, namely Brahmayoni and Matreoni.

Places to visit near Gaya

  • Patna: Located 150 km from Gaya, Patna is the capital of Bihar. Places to visit in Patna include Buddha Smriti Park, Golghar and Patna Museum.
  • Nalanda: Located 120 km from Gaya, Nalanda is known for its ancient Nalanda university, Jal Mandir, Venu van and Xuan Zang Memorial hall.
  • Rajgir: Located 74 km from Gaya, Rajgir is located in the Nalanda district. Places to visit in Rajgir include, Griddhakuta (Vulture's peak), Pippala cave and Vishwa Shanti Stupa.

Festivals in Gaya

  • Sonepur Fair: Like most ancient fairs in India, Sonepur Fair is also rooted in mythology and folklore. Today, it is a magnificent cattle fair, perhaps the largest in Asia. The fortnight-long fair takes place on the full moon day of Kartik (November).
  • Buddha Jayanthi: Lord Buddha was born, attained enlightenment and passed away, all on the same full moon day of April/May. Thus, Vaisakhi Poornima, one of the most majestic full moon nights in the year, is celebrated as Buddha Jayanthi.
  • Mahavir Jayanti and Deo Deewali: Bihar is a holy land for the Jains. Two major Jain festivals rejoice here - Mahavir Jayanthi at Parasnath Hill in April and Deo Deewali. Both the celebrations commemorate the final liberation of Lord Mahavira.
  • Chhath Puja: Exclusive in Bihar is Chhath Puja, or worship of the Sun God. The most famous celebrations are at the Sun Temple in Baragaon near Nalanda, where sweets and fruits are offered in prayer.

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