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Bodhgaya Prayer Gathering: Popular Questions

Please check the following information carefully. You may find that most of your questions about the event in Bodhgaya are answered below. If you still have additional questions please don’t hesitate to contact us at

Popular Question Topics


How can I register to attend the event?

You can register here.


Orgyen Tobgyal Rinpoche is no longer able to come to Bodhgaya to give teachings before the Prayer Gathering. We are happy to confirm that Jetsün Khandro Rinpoche has accepted to teach on 27 & 28 February, and she will join the practice at the Prayer Gathering on 1 March.

Teachings with Jetsün Khandro Rinpoche:

  • Khandro Rinpoche will teach 27 & 28 February 9:30 - 11:30 and 15:00 - 17:00.

  • The teachings will take place in main temple hall at Shechen Monastery.
    Ask for the Rigpa group or follow the crowd. See the map.

Prayer Gathering

  • The first practice session will start at 09:00 on 1 March. Please arrive 30 minutes to an hour earlier so that you can get through security, find the Rigpa group and take your place.

  • Throughout the Prayer Gathering, 1-16 March, the sessions will be from 09:00 to 11.30 and 14.00 to 16.30. There will be other optional sessions offered before and after this time. You can find the draft daily schedule here.

  • The Gathering will take place on the south side of the Bodhgaya stupa which is the side of the Vajra Seat under the bodhi tree. See the map.


What practices will we be doing?

During the Gathering we will be practising:

• The Eight Noble Auspicious Ones

• Riwo Sangchö & Tendrel Nyesel

• Buddha Sadhana by Mipham Rinpoche

• Buddha of Medicine, Guru Rinpoche of Medicine & Amitāyus

• Guide to Narak Kong Shak by Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo

• Narak Kong Shak, Marme Mönlam, Heart of Vajrasattva

• Zangchö Mönlam in English

UPDATED: What practice books should I bring?

Most texts will be in the commemorative Bodhgaya Prayer Gathering Practice Book that will be distributed during the Gathering, and in the Rigpa Daily Sadhana Book.

Other prayers and practices have been emailed to those registered to print and bring.

Note: a lot of the practices will be done in English so bring a practice book in English if you have one or download and print an English version here (but you can also do the practices in your own language).


Rather than a set retreat fee, it is suggested that if everyone joining the event offers a small amount, such as around 30€ each for those who will be in Bodhgaya, we will easily cover the logistical costs. All contributions are greatly appreciated and will help create a wonderful event.

In addition, we will make extensive light and flower offerings all around the stupa area during the whole period of the Prayer Gathering.

All offerings and sponsorship can be made here.


  • Practice books and practice items - see above

  • Cash for tsok offerings & other offerings

  • Shawl or blanket for mornings or evenings or while practising. Shawls can be purchased locally also.

  • Face mask for dust/pollution (you may want to bring a good one if you suffer from respiratory problems)

  • Torch and spare batteries (battery charger and rechargeable batteries if needed)

  • Medicines & vitamins if you usually take them

  • Hand wipes & hand sanitiser

  • A good mosquito repellent and a mosquito net can be useful

  • Hairdryer if you need it

  • Small, good quality lock for your luggage if you need to leave valuables in your room like devices or passports.

  • You may have to leave your shoes outside the compound when you enter, so it is recommended you bring inexpensive shoes. It is also good if they are easy to slip on and off e.g. flip flops. Some visitors have been allowed to bring their shoes inside in a bag so they could then wear them to the toilets within the compound.

  • UPDATED: If you require a chair, you may wish to bring a folding camping chair with you. These can be hard to find in India and you will probably get better quality folding camping chairs at home.

    For those on a cushion, you can buy cushions and mats in Bodhgaya for around 5€.

  • UPDATED: Plastic bags (and possibly single-use plastic bottles) are banned within the Mahabodhi temple compound. There are fines Rs 2,000 for anyone who goes against this and they will be sent out from the stupa compound. Please bring alternatives (reusable water bottle, cloth bag for tsok or other purposes).

  • As it will be hot at the end February/March, If you are affected by heat make sure you book a room with air conditioning. Otherwise the majority of rooms have fans.

  • A wide brimmed hat and sunscreen

  • A watch as phones won’t be allowed in the Mahabodhi compound.

What will the weather be like and what kind of clothing should I bring?

  • The weather is quite hot in Bodhgaya this time of year. In February ranging from 12° in the mornings and evenings to 27° during the day. In March we can expect it to be around 17° in the morning and evenings and around 33° during the day.

  • Please dress accordingly but modestly according to local custom. Light cotton clothing is advisable. Light cotton clothing with long sleeves and light long pants or skirts are advisable.


What are the shopping facilities like in Bodhgaya?

You might not find large supermarkets in Bodhgaya, but there are many smaller shops as well as the market and several pharmacies.

You can buy all manner of dharma items and materials like incense, damarus, bells, dorjes and so on.


Can I offer help before, during or after the event?

This is a sangha-run event and we need a lot of help to organise and run the event. If you can offer help before, during or after the event, please let us know how you can help/what your skills are.

The types of activities we can participate in to make the event work include setting up the physical space (for lamas and sangha), choponing, shrine set up, security, AV and streaming/recording.

You can offer help when you register or by emailing


Travel & booking flights

If this is your first time in India/Asia it’s a good idea to arrive a few days early to acclimatise to the environment.

Getting to India

Airlines that fly to India include: Lufthansa, Air India, Jet Airways, KLM, Air France, Qatar, Etihad, Finnair, and others.

Getting to Gaya - flights

Air India is the main airline that flies from within India to Gaya.

Most commonly people fly to Delhi and then to Gaya. The flights to Gaya are already booking out around the dates of the Gathering, so other options you can consider are:

  • fly to Patna airport from Delhi, which is 2.5 hours from Bodhgaya by car;

  • fly to Varanasi which is only 3.5 hours away, and there are 12 trains to Gaya each day plus buses;

  • fly to Kolkata, then take a connecting flight to Gaya (but this can be a very long trip as many of the flights from Kolkata to Gaya stop in Delhi);

  • fly to Bangkok, then fly from Bangkok to Gaya with Thai Smile airline.

Be aware that most internal flights within India often have a strict checked baggage allowance limit of 15kgs. You can usually pay for additional kgs when you book your flight. Check your luggage weight limit carefully so there are no problems or extra fees to be paid at the airport.

Getting to Gaya - train

Trains to Gaya from New Delhi are cheap and cosy.

  • **If you take a train, make sure you get the train from NEW Delhi station not “Old Delhi” station

  • More information about trains in India can be found here.

  • Book trains here.

  • If you take a train, book ‘AC2’ tickets.

  • Senior Citizens over 60 can get a reduction on some tickets, including flights.

How can I find others to share travel or accommodation?

If you are looking for people to share travel or accommodation with, you can join this site where you’ll find messages from others looking to share.

  • Register with your phone number or email address

  • To offer to share accommodation write your message and add #sharedaccomodation OR click on #sharedaccomodation to see all messages about sharing accommodation

  • To offer to share travel/transport write your message and add #traveldates OR click on #traveldates to see all messages about sharing travel/transport

  • Then when you find someone to share with you can discuss the details in the ‘Private message’ section


Everyone traveling to India is required to get a visa.

If you are only traveling to India, not surrounding countries you only need a single-entry visa. If you plan to travel to surrounding countries then return to India, you will need a double-entry visa.

The simplest and quickest visa to get is an e-Visa, which is valid for 60 days. **NOTE: NEW LINK

It is a good idea to bring several photocopies of your passport and make a scanned copy of your passport and visa before you leave home. Also bring several passport photos.


In Delhi the pre-paid taxi service can be found just outside the airport. You pay in advance at a booth. The rates are reasonable and on display.

Always make sure you have agreed on a fair price before you get into a taxi. It is best to check the prices at the pre-paid taxi counter and use them as a reference.

Check with your local/national sangha if there are others travelling at the same time as you, so you can travel together, carpool from Gaya Airport to Bodhgaya or even share accommodation. A travel/accommodation sharing app may be added here soon.

Local currency

The local currency is Indian Rupees (INR) which you can easily withdraw at ATMs around India, including Bodhgaya.

ATMs are available outside the airports in Delhi or and other large cities where you arrive. There is a bank fee for international withdrawals each time you use an ATM (approx. 4€). Check with your bank for the precise fee. Therefore, each time you use the ATM, it is best to withdraw larger amounts.

Money changing outlets are also available at the airports, hotels, and in main urban areas, including Bodhgaya. It is always good to compare the exchange rate at several outlets to get the best rate. At some money change outlets, but not banks, you can bargain for a better exchange rate if you change a large amount.

We recommend that you exchange only small amounts at the airport for immediate needs, because the exchange rate is better elsewhere.


Can you recommend good accommodation in Bodhgaya?

You can find some accommodation suggestions here.

If you are affected by heat you may want to book a room with air conditioning. Otherwise, the majority of rooms have fans.

How can I find others to share travel or accommodation?

If you are looking for people to share travel or accommodation with, you can join this site where you’ll find messages from others looking to share.

  • Register with your phone number or email address

  • To offer to share accommodation write your message and add #sharedaccomodation OR click on #sharedaccomodation to see all messages about sharing accommodation

  • To offer to share travel/transport write your message and add #traveldates OR click on #traveldates to see all messages about sharing travel/transport

  • Then when you find someone to share with you can discuss the details in the ‘Private message’ section


Can I bring my children to the event?

Children are very welcome to join the event, but there will be no separate programme for them. Parents are fully responsible for the care of their children during the event.


Mobile phones

The country code for India is 0091 (+91). The city code for Gaya is 631.

If you need a local sim card, these can be easily bought in local shops (you’ll need passport photographs & a copy of the information page of your passport including the page with the Indian visa).

If you want to get a mobile SIM card, it is better to get this in Bodhgaya (it is difficult to get them in Delhi). Make sure that your mobile phone is unlocked so that you can use a SIM from another country. If you're not sure if your phone is unlocked, check with your mobile phone provider.

Devices (mobile phones, tablets, Kindles, iPads)

For security reasons, phones, tablets, computers, etc. are prohibited from being brought into the Mahabodhi Temple, the compound area around the Vajra Seat (Dorje Den) and the stupa, where we will be practising. This is very strictly monitored - there will be a screening process and a body search on entry.

Cameras can be brought in but you will need to pay a daily fee of 100 INR.

If needed, bring rechargeable batteries and charger (a charger could be shared with others).

Electrical plugs and sockets

You can use European power plugs in India without an adaptor. If you are traveling from other countries you will need an adaptor.



Often people ask if vaccinations are needed when traveling in India—this is really an individual decision. Please discuss the matter with your doctor or at a registered travel clinic to decide what is best for you.

You can find information about vaccinations for travel to India on the internet but it’s advisable to seek the advice of your doctor or at a registered travel clinic before following any advice found on websites.

First Aid & Medical Care

We recommend that you register with the embassy of your country in India. They will provide assistance in case of an emergency (like falling ill or losing your passport) and will update you on any relevant health and safety issues during your stay. You can do this online.

Tips to stay healthy in Bodhgaya

It is possible to stay healthy and well in India by being careful where/what you eat, what water you drink and general hygiene. The following suggestions may be helpful.

• Food and water

  • Don’t drink tap water that has not been well boiled. It is best to drink bottled water only. If you drink tea or coffee in restaurants or your hotel make sure the water is boiled fully beforehand.

  • Make sure you don’t have ice in drinks.

  • Eat in clean, recommended restaurants. Avoid eating food from street vendors.

  • Avoid raw vegetables, and don’t eat fruit that is not peeled (that is, don’t eat the skins of fruits like apples, etc.), avoid salad or fruit in restaurants, fresh fruit juices and ice cream. Eat cooked and baked food.

  • Salad & fruit need to be soaked in iodine before you eat them.

  • Wash your hands often and use hand sanitiser.

• Medicines

Bring whatever medicines you take usually for colds, coughs, headaches and all types of stomach upset. Consider including medicines for the following, but you can also buy all these items in India:

  • Diarrhoea - Imodium, Smecta & sachets of rehydration salts,

  • Headaches - paracetemol & ibuprophen

  • Colds and flus - lozenges & cough mixture

  • A good broad spectrum antibiotic for chest/skin infections, sinusitis, bladder infection etc (e.g. Ciprofloxacin or Arithromycine and Amoxycillin for bacterial gastroenteritis)

  • Insect repellent

  • Preventative medicines for sinus issues if your sinuses are affected by the high levels of dust & pollution in Bodhgaya

  • Allergy tablets

  • Homeopathic medicines such as Nux Vomica for nausea, Arnica for shock, Arnica cream for sprains and bruising

  • Plasters / band aids - the plasters you can buy in India are generally of poor quality

Medical insurance

It is recommended to have good medical/travel insurance for the entirety of your stay in India (including for children).


Keep wallets and valuables hidden. Don’t carry all your money and/or credit cards in one pocket or bag. It is a good idea to separate them.


We can all participate in this gathering whether we are in Bodhgaya or at home. We can each make this happen by creating & joining events in our centres, practising at home and submitting our accumulations or making financial offerings to the offerings in Bodhgaya.

If I’m not going to Bodhgaya, can I make offerings towards the tsok and other offerings?

Offerings of flowers, lights and food will be made daily to the seat of Buddha’s enlightenment and new robes will be offered to the sacred image of Buddha in the Mahabodhi Temple. If you are not going to Bodhgaya and would like to make a donation towards these offerings or a contribution to the general costs* you can make donations here.

*General costs include, for example, production and printing of the practice books, daily preparations and equipment needed for the practice at the Mahabodhi temple and everything else related to making this event possible. This may also include welcoming visiting lamas during the event. If we receive more donations than needed for the Bodhgaya Prayer Gathering, the surplus will go towards offerings during the upcoming Chimé Pakmé Nyingtik drupchen in Lerab Ling.

Will the Prayer Gathering be streamed?

UPDATE: We are planning to live stream some days of the Prayer Gathering to Rigpa Centres. Rigpa students can check with their centres for details.

Can I help at local level if I am not going to the event in Bodhgaya?

Please get in touch with your national or local team and see what is planned for those who won’t be in Bodhgaya, and please share ideas about what you would like to happen at your local centre. It’s up to us all to create this world-wide gathering.

Dzogchen Beara will hold a parallel event during the Bodhgaya Prayer Gathering where you can join practices in a retreat environment. Find out more here.