Hotel at Bodhgaya

SJK Architects

Bodhgaya, where Buddha is deemed to have received enlightenment, is one of the holiest and oldest pilgrimage sites for the Buddhist world. Thousands of pilgrims and tourists from not only east and southeast Asia but also from Europe and other parts of the world visit Bodhgaya annually. The brief required SJK Architec ts to build a 78 key hotel on a 5-acre property, not far from the Mahabodhi temple, to cater to these pilgrims and tourists. The hotel was required to have guests rooms & suites, banqueting facilities, a health centre with a spa, a gym and swimming pool and one restaurant. The design of the hotel needed to resonate with the sensibilities of the Buddhist pilgrim while celebrating the rich historic roots of Buddhism in India.

There are two distinct and unique architectural lyrics at play in the hotel design: memory and emotion. Memory, speaking to the historical roots of the regional Buddhist architecture, is drawn through a base material choice of brick and the creation vaults, corbeled arches and stepped jambs all developed in a contemporary idiom to represent the now.

The other architectural lyric is Emotion – inspired by the Buddhist ethos of simplicity, compassion and serenity. These emotions are reflected through structure and choice of material. The architecture unfolds magically through a series of layers creating gentle transitions from outside to inside through verandahs and framed openings. The banyan tree is viewed from the entrance through several frames and a serene courtyard that forms the emotional and physical heart of the project.

The symbolic qualities of the Buddha are embodied through gestures or mudras – and each quality has a personification in a Dhyani Buddha who incorporates a colour, a symbol, an element and a season. The architecture, along with the design of interior spaces and landscaping of exterior spaces, with lotus water bodies, gentle & soothing colour palettes, refined aesthetics and mindful use of the five wisdoms of the Buddha aspect of the Vajradhatu Mandala come together creating a magical symphony to complement and resonate the simple, serene and tranquil essence of Buddhist philosophy & values.


Furniture: Custom made furniture designed by SJK and executed by Interex. Lighting: Custom made lights by Orient Lights. Finishes: Kajaria, Somany Tiles, Asian Paints, Magnum. Fittings & Fixtures: Kohler, Jaquar


Photography: Niveditaa Gupta.