Travelling in India can require some patience and an appreciation for the transient nature of things! We encourage all students and travellers to begin their travels with an open mind. This is the beauty of India: letting go of our expectations and becoming part of life's flow.
The following information is to provide you with a very basic framework for travel. We do advise everyone to do their own research.
For timing your visit, make sure you check our page on Seasons – When to visit.
Also, travel guide websites such as:
are good sources of more in-depth information.
The information below was last updated in May 2016.
Getting here by air
Currently there are flights to and from Gaya Airport during between September and June. Domestic flights are from Delhi, Varanasi and Kolkata, and international from Bangkok, Colombo and Yangon.
Gaya Airport is 8 km or 20 minutes from Bodhgaya.
There will not usually be taxis waiting, so we recommend you book a taxi in advance through your travel agent.
To reach Root Institute, the usual charges, as of May 2016, would be ₹600 (small taxi) and ₹800 (large). If you are travelling light, you can walk 10 minutes to the Gaya–Bodhgaya road and hop on an auto-rickshaw (alone is ∼₹200 and shared with others, like a minibus, is ₹40).
Delhi / Mumbai / Ranchi to Patna airport
There are daily flights to/from Patna airport, generally cheaper than flights to/from Gaya. It is approximately 4 hours by taxi to Root Institute (∼₹2,200).
Getting here by train
The nearest railway station is Gaya, which is 13 km or 30 minutes from Bodhgaya. Gaya is on the main train line with Delhi, Kolkata and Varanasi. There are several trains each day and the duration of different train services vary, even from the same departure point.
Varanasi / Delhi / Kolkata to Gaya station
By train, Gaya is ∼4–5 hours from Varanasi, ∼12–15 hours from Delhi, and ∼5–6 hours from Kolkata.
Direct trains to Gaya are also available from many other cities including: Mumbai, Chenai, Patna, Lucknow, Dehradun, Haridwar (for travel to/from Rishikesh), Puri/Bhubaneswar, Ranchi, Amritsar and Pathankot (for travel to/from Dharamsala, but not recommended).
Many other indirect trains are also possible. Please check the online edition of Trains at a Glance for more details, or a paper copy can be purchased from any railway station for ∼₹50).
Please be aware that, to book an Indian train online, you will need to input an Indian mobile number for confirmation.
To reach Root Institute from the Gaya train station you can take a taxi (∼₹600/small or ₹800/big), auto-rickshaw (∼₹200), or shared rickshaw. You may need to bargain strongly. Most drivers know Root Institute as either 'Root Institute' or 'Saxena' (the name of our first director).
Some train tips:
Please be cautious on Indian trains: lock up your baggage and do not accept any food, drink or cigarettes from strangers. Though these precautions are prudent, please not let this spoil your trip. Relax and enjoy the scenery and company.
There are several different types of train class you can book. To find the most up-to-date information, check out The Man in Seat Sixty-one website.
Getting here by road
Buses and taxis are available to/from Bodhgaya to just about everywhere, including:
- Patna – ₹2,500 small taxi or ₹3,200 big taxi, travelling 3–3.5 hours by taxi, 4+ hours by bus
- Varanasi – 4,800 small taxi or 7,000 big taxi, travelling 5–7 hours
- Raxaul (the closest border crossing into Nepal) – 9 hours by taxi; 12+ hours by bus and you must change in Patna. Usually the Patna–Raxaul leaves Patna at around sunset. Note: the trip from Raxaul includes several hours on VERY bad roads.
- Rajgir/Nalanda – ₹2,500 small taxi or ₹3,200 big taxi, travelling 2 hours in taxi, 3+ hours by bus
- Ranchi – travelling 7 hours by bus
Checking in at Root Institute
Our office is fully staffed by volunteers, so we do not operate a 24-hour check-in service.
Our office hours are 9am–12noon, then 1.15pm–5pm.
Please try to arrive at Root Institute at a suitable time to check in during office hours.
If it is not possible for you to arrive during office hours, please let us know in advance by email or by calling (during office hours) so that we can make alternative arrangements for you, in which case our gate guards will have the names of expected guests arriving after-hours, and will guide you to your room/s.