The world’s most important Buddhist pilgrimage site, Bodhgaya, is wonderfully relaxed, with an array of monasteries, temples and retreats. Its focal point is the Mahabodhi Temple, where Buddha attained enlightenment. The temple dates from the seventh century AD and flourished up to the sixteenth century, when it fell into the hands of Hindu priests, who professed to be baffled by its origins. In the early nineteenth century, British archeologists rediscovered its significance, and Bodhgaya has since been rejuvenated by overseas Buddhists, who have built monasteries, temples and shrines on the site. From November to February, Bodhgaya is home to an animated community of exiled Tibetans, often including the Dalai Lama, as well as a stream of international Tibetophiles.

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