Because this is the holiest site in all of Buddhism, every country with a Buddhist population has built some kind of temple or monastery here. They’re quite beautiful and mostly fill me with the desire to just spend months traveling around Asia to see all these other countries too.
The Thai temple was my absolute favorite, hands down. Outside above, inside below. My photos don’t capture the outstanding murals on the inside depicting some Buddhist stories set in Thailand. Just beautiful.
The Japanese temple was my second favorite. Simple but peaceful: long and open on the inside with cranes and kanji splashed across the ceiling tiles. I watched a few Indians light and wave incense, then sat alone in the quiet for a while.
I’m sorry to say I forget which temple this was. 90% sure it’s one of the Tibetan monasteries (of which there are several).
There is also a giant 80-foot Buddha statue in Bodhgaya, because of course.
The road to Bodhgaya from Ranchi is long: an 8-hour bus ride, then a 30-min bus ride, then a 10-min rickshaw ride. But I rarely get bored of looking out the window. Just when I think my giddiness over the colorful trappings of India has faded, the country finds new sights and sounds to throw at me.
Everywhere there were women winding red string around big trees on this day. June 8, it was. A Saturday. I don’t know if this is a routine prayer or if it was a special day. The women left with huge stripes of red painted from their hair parts down their noses, and some were wearing leaves in their hair.
We crossed out of Jharkhand (the state where I’m living) over a small ridge of hills and then the state of Bihar just sprawled out in front of us. My jaw dropped a little. It was like descending into the floodplain that time forgot. Just flat, flat, flat, and villages of straw and mud that look like they haven’t changed much since the Raj.