bodhgaya

Bodhgaya is the location where the Buddha sat under the bodhi tree and attained enlightenment, with quite a few related sites nearby: the cave where the Buddha performed austerities for seven years prior to his enlightenment, the hill where the Buddha was fed his first meal after performing austerities, and (in what is to this day the most significant VIP sighting in the history of Bodhgaya) the roadside cafe where the Buddha once shared a table with Kurt Russel.

Okay, so I made up the last one. This is a fun place to be, though. The area right around the Mahabodhi Temple is full of people and shops bent on capitalizing on the tourist interest, but Bodhgaya is actually a small town, with a quiet walk through the countryside only a few minutes away from the tourist touts. There are also a lot of Buddhist monasteries, and therefore lots of Buddhist monks and nuns walking around. Most of them come from outside of India, speak good English, and are excited to talk about their faith—a good thing for a group of students looking for interviews from people of different religions.

Although many of the students had discussed leaving Bodhgaya early, most were wishing they could stay a little longer by the time we left.

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