Prince Siddhartha renounced the world he practised austerities
for six years. One of the places he stayed during this period
was a mountain that later came to be called Pragbodhi (Prior
to Enlightenment) and which is now known as Dhungeswara.
Tradition says he sheltered in the small cave half way up
this mountain. Today there is a small temple near the cave
run by some friendly Tibetan monks. If you climb from the
cave to the top of the mountain you will see the remains
of several ancient stupas and be rewarded by a great view.
You will also be able to see the spire of the Mahabodhi
temple in the distance. Pragbodhi
is a wonderful place to spend the day or even a few days.
The monks will be happy to provide you with a basic accommodation
but water is scarce so use as little as you can; you might
even consider bringing your own drinking water with you.
usual way to get to Pragbodhi is to take the bus that plies
the old Gaya road following the river, get off at the village
of Kiriyama and walk from there.
Kiriyama is where the second line of power pylons cross
the river. The more enthusiastic pilgrim might like to go
all the way by foot. To do this head directly east from
Bodh Gaya towards the mountains, crossing the Neranjara
and Mohana Rivers on the way. When you get to the mountains
simply follow them northward until you get to the cave.
It is a pleasant walk of about 6 kilometres through very
attractive countryside. If you set out at dawn you can arrive
at about noon, spend the day at Pragbodhi meditating, sleep
overnight and walk back the next morning. You might also
like to take with you a copy of the Mahasihanada Sutta
and or the Ariyapariyesana Sutta in which the Buddha
vividly about his six year quest for truth. Both suttas
are in Bhikkhu Bodhi's The Middle Length Discourses.