60 km from Bodh Gaya, Itkhori village in the Chatra district of Jharkhand is the site of some of the finest specimens of the Buddhist remains. Located some 150km from Ranchi, the place is home to the famed 7th century AD Ma Bhadrakali temple on the premises of which is situated a five-feet high votive or wish-fulfilling Buddhist stupa with 1,008 figurines of the Buddha carved on it.
Apart from this, a giant Buddhist stupa is another important architectural find in Itkhori which is a holy site to two other religions- Hinduism and Jainism. What makes Itkhori a unique Buddhist site is the presence of smiling Buddha idols which are not to be found elsewhere in the world. Numerous Buddha statues in different forms have been discovered in Itkhori.
Legend has it that the Buddha had come to Itkhori. When his aunt reached Itkhori searching for the Buddha who had renounced the mundane world and was meditating here, she did not find him and left the place with heavy heart by saying Iti Khoi, which in Pali means “we lost him here”. It was from these two words Iti Khoi that Itkhori derives its name.
How to Reach Itkhori
There are no regular flights from other major cities of India to Itkhori. Nearest airport is Ranchi Airport which is 60 km away.
Chatra can be easily approached from Gaya Railway station (Bihar) and Koderma Railway station. Gaya is well connected to other major cities of the country via regular trains. It takes some two hours from Gaya to reach Itkhori
You can easily get regular buses to Itkhori from several places in Jharkhand and Bihar.
Best time to visit Itkhori
With extreme temperatures in summers and winters, Itkhori generally has a temperate climate throughout the year. In summers, from March to June, the temperature hovers between 40°C and 30°C. The winter season, from October to February, is the best time to visit Itkhori when daytime temperatures are pleasing.
It is pertinent to note that it can get very cold in the months of December and January.