Location and Getting There
Root Institute is located in Bodhgaya, Bihar State, India
The following basic information is to assist our guests in making a general assessment of their travel options. This is NOT a full list of all travel options or details. Please note that we are not able to provide any further travel information than what is written below. Please check your travel guidebook for further details, keeping in mind that all travel information in India is subject to change at very short notice. The information below was last updated in July 2006.
Getting There By Air
Bangkok or Colombo or Rangoon to Gaya
Currently there is very limited service to Gaya Airport via a few airlines including Indian Airlines and Thai Airways. Gaya Airport is only 8km from Bodhgaya. To reach Root Institute you may be able to take a taxi. If there are no taxis at the airport, ask at the airline desk for assistance and the Air India airport bus should be able to bring you to its offices, which are located nearby. From their office it is an easy walk to Root Institute (if you are traveling light) or you can take a cycle rickshaw for 2-3 Rs.
Delhi or Mumbai or Ranchi to Patna
Daily. From Patna airport it is approximately 3 - 4 hours by taxi to Root Institute.
Kathmandu to Varanasi, Delhi or Calcutta
By train, Bodhgaya is approximately 4 - 5 hours from Varanasi, approximately 12 - 15 hours from Delhi and approximately 5 - 6 hours from Calcutta.
Getting There by Train
The nearest railway station is Gaya, which is 13km from Bodhgaya. Gaya is on the main train line with Delhi, Calcutta and Varanasi, so there are several trains each day to/from these cities.
Direct trains TO Gaya are also available from many other cities including: Mumbai, Patna, Lucknow, Pathankot (for travel to/from Dharamsala), Dehradun, Haridwar (for travel to/from Rishikesh), Puri/Bhubaneswar, Ranchi, Sarnath, Rajgir, Nalanda and Armritsar.
Many other indirect trains are also possible. Please see the latest edition of "Trains at a Glance" for more details (available on line at www.indianrailways.gov.in or at any railway station for approximately 50Rs).
Please be aware: it is not safe to travel on the road between Gaya and Bodhgaya at night. If you arrive after sunset, we suggest you spend the night in Gaya.
To reach Root Institute from the Gaya train station you can take a taxi (approx. 200 - 250Rs), auto rickshaw (approximately 80 - 100Rs), or shared rickshaw (approx. 5 - 7Rs). You may need to bargain strongly. Note: some locals still know Root Institute by the name of the first Director: "Saxena".
Some train tips:
Please be cautious on Indian trains: lock up your baggage and do not accept any food, drink or cigarettes from strangers. Don't let this spoil your trip, however. Relax, look at the scenery and be happy.
Second Sleeper Class (no air-con, 3-tiers of benches, no sheets/pillows/blankets provided) is for budget travelers who don't mind being crowded in their seats during the day (when extra passengers share your sleeping bench) and who are happy to see the "real India". For 3 - 4x the price of Second Sleeper, you can travel 2 Tier or 3 Tier AC Class (air con, 2 tiers or 3 tiers of padded benches, clean sheet/pillow/blanket provided, carriage doors are locked at night so people don't wander through the carriages) where you will have much more seating space during the day and be with higher class Indians who are generally more quiet and reserved. Theft can happen even in 1st class, so be sure to lock up your bags.
To most easily book a train ticket, use the services of a travel agent (who generally charge 70 - 150Rs extra per ticket for making the booking) or visit the Tourist Reservations Offices located inside major railway stations (including Delhi, Calcutta and Mumbai). In these offices you can pay in two ways (and you need your passport for both): with $US or Pounds Sterling or with Indian Rupees but you have to show a legal encashment certificate (i.e. official receipt of having cashed foreign money in India). Train tickets should be booked as early as possible (but can not be booked more than 90 days in advance). If you are having trouble getting a seat, be sure to ask for a "tourist quota" seat at the Tourist Reservation Office.
Getting There by Road
Please be aware that it is NOT safe to travel on the roads of Bihar State at night. Please do not take any unnecessary risks.
Buses and taxis are available to/from Bodhgaya to just about everywhere, including:
- Patna (3 - 3.5 hours by taxi, 4+ hours by bus)
- Varanasi (5 - 7 hours)
- Raxaul (the closest border crossing into Nepal): 9 hours by taxi; 12+ hours by bus and you must change in Patna with connection times that are not convenient so you may have to spend the night in Patna. Note: the trip from Raxaul includes several hours on VERY bad roads.
- Rajgir/Nalanda (2 hours in taxi, 3+ hours by bus)
- Ranchi (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 8.30am-11.30am, then 1.30pm - 4.30pm. 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 contact us by email or by telephoning (during office hours) prior to your arrival so that we can make alternative arrangements for you. Gate guards will not permit entrance to guests arriving after-hours unless a prior arrangement has been made.