The Buddhist Disneyland- Bodhgaya

30 Sep

I’m serious, in a totally reverent way, the place is like Disneyland. The place is absolutely gorrrrgeous (as Mattias would say.) As you enter the city there is even a billboard that says “Welcome to the Land of Buddha.” Each Buddhist country in the world has constructed their own monastery and temple here. It is incredibly odd to look out over the Indian countryside and see traditional architecture from China, Japan, Tibet, and Thailand intermingled with the concrete bunkers that the Indian people live in.

The energy of the town is very sweet, and people are truly happy to be here. Most of them are Buddhist monks from all over Asia making their pilgrimage to this holy site, the place where the Buddha gained his enlightenment. The compassion of Buddhism is so palpable here and the town is really quite peaceful. Even the hawkers and taxi drivers don’t seem to bother me as much here.

The most beautiful place in Bodhgaya is the Mahabodhi Temple- constructed on the grounds where Gautama Buddha meditated for seven weeks before gaining enlightenment. The temple grounds are wonderful and Astrid and I spent two days here exploring the gardens and the shrines and just soaking up the ambience of the place.

Back at the hotel, we met two fellow travellers from the UK named Charlie and Linda who had been travelling throughout Northern India for about eight weeks before arriving in Bodhgaya. We struck up a conversation on the terrace and ended up going to a restaurant to watch the finals of the T20 Cricket Tournament in South Africa- India vs. Pakistan. Charlie used to play cricket in school and taught me and Astrid the intracacies of the game. While it wasn’t an all day match, it was great to learn the game and watch India beat Pakistan for the championship. The whole restaurant was going crazy as well as the entire town.

Well, we are hot and exhausted and are taking the train to Siliguri in West Bengal, a jumping off point for Darjeeling to spend some time in the hills and cool down a bit.

See you there.

Enjoy this picture of the Mahabodhi Temple…

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