Bodh Gaya


Bodh GayaBodh Gaya is most important of four Buddhist pilgrimage sites, related to the life of Gautama Buddha, the other three being Kushinagar, Lumbini, and Sarnath. It is placed at a very high place in Buddhism since Lard Buddha got enlightenment at this very destination. Bodhgaya is famous for being the place of Gautama Buddha’s attainment of enlightenment. A small temple beneath the Bodhi tree, Bodh Gaya, built in 7th century, after the original built by Mauryan Emperor Ashoka in 3rd century BC, ca. 1810. Bodh Gaya India is one of best tour places in India that is the most significant place of Buddhist Pilgrimage.  Buddhist India is one of the most important and holiest India Tour that falls in the Buddhist Circuit. Buddha Tour India is a special attraction for Buddhist Tourists. Bodh Gaya has Mahabodhi Temple and several sacred monasteries. It is a religious place famous for being the place of Gautama Buddha’s attainment of enlightenment.  It is an important Buddhist pilgrimage and center for the study of Buddhism.

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According to Buddhist traditions, Prince Siddhartha, wandering as an ascetic, reached the sylvan banks of Falgu River, near the city of Gaya. There he sat in meditation under a bodhi tree. After three days and three nights of meditation, Siddharta attained enlightenment. He then spent seven weeks at seven different spots in the vicinity meditating and considering his experience. After seven weeks, he traveled to Sarnath, where he began teaching Buddhism. In 2002, Mahabodhi Temple, located in Bodh Gaya, became a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The history of Bodh Gaya is documented by many inscriptions and pilgrimage accounts. The complex, located about 96 kilometres from Patna, contains the Mahabodhi Temple with the diamond throne (called the Vajrasana) and the holy Bodhi tree.

It is believed that 250 years after the Enlightenment of the Buddha, Emperor Asoka visited Bodh Gaya. He is considered to be the founder of the original Mahabodhi temple. Sir Alexander Cunningham as part of his work later restored the temple for the British Archaeological Society in the late 19th century.

Other Buddhist temples

At present several Buddhist temples and monasteries have been built by the people of Bhutan, China, Japan, Myanmar, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Tibet and Vietnam in a wide area around the temple. These buildings reflect the architectural style, exterior and interior decoration of their respective countries. The statue of Buddha in the Chinese Temple is 200 years old and was brought from China. Japan’s Nippon Temple is shaped like a pagoda. The Myanmar temple is also pagoda shaped. The Thai Temple has a typical sloping, curved roof covered with golden tiles. Inside, the temple holds a massive and spectacular bronze statue of Buddha. Next to the Thai temple there is a recent 25-meter statue of Buddha located within a garden, which has existed there for over 100 years.

There are four important cities, which are related to the life of Gautama Buddha with other three are Kushinagar, Lumbini, and Sarnath. Bodh Gaya is the place where the prince Siddhartha sat in meditation under the Bodhi Tree. It is the place where Gautam Buddha attained enlightenment and became Lord Buddha. Mahabodhi Temple of Bodh Gaya became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2002.

Brief History

According to Buddhist traditions, circa 500 BC Prince Siddhartha, wandering as an ascetic, reached the sylvan banks of Falgu River, near the city of Gaya. There he sat in meditation under the Bodhi tree. After three days and three nights of meditation, Siddharta attained enlightenment. He spent seven weeks at seven different spots in the vicinity meditating. After seven weeks, he traveled to Sarnath, where he gave his first sermon about Buddhism.

Mahabodhi Temple: The complex, located about 96 kilometers from Patna contains the Mahabodhi Temple with the diamond throne and the holy Bodhi tree. This tree was originally a sapling of the Sri Maha Bodhi tree in Sri Lanka, itself grown from a sapling of the original Bodhi tree. It is believed that 250 years after the enlightenment of the Buddha, Emperor Asoka visited Bodh Gaya. He is considered to be the founder of the original Mahabodhi temple. It consists an elongated spire crowned by a miniature stupa and a chhatravali on a platform. A double flight of steps led up to the platform and the upper sanctum. The mouldings on the spire contained Buddha images in niches. Some historians believe that the temple was constructed or renovated in the 1st century during the Kushan period. With the decline of Buddhism in India, the temple was abandoned and forgotten, buried under layers of soil and sand. The temple was later restored by Sir Alexander Cunningham as part of his work for the British Archaeological Society in the late 19th century. In 1883, Cunningham along with J. D. Beglar and Dr Rajendralal Miitra painstakingly excavated the site. Extensive renovation work was carried out to restore Bodh Gaya to its former glory.

It is the main attraction of Bodhgaya town and is located near the spot where Lord Buddha attained enlightenment. It stands east to the Bodhi Tree.  The Mahabodhi Temple is situated in the temple complex. The matchless design of this temple is attractive with gilded image of Lord Buddha.

Other Monasteries

There are several Buddhist temples and monasteries exist in Bodhgaya, which are constructed by the people of Bhutan, China, Japan, Myanmar, Nepal, Sikkim, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Thailand, Tibet and Vietnam. These buildings reflect the architectural style, exterior and interior decoration of their respective countries. The statue of Buddha in the Chinese Temple is 200 years old and was brought from China. Japan’s Nippon Temple is shaped like a pagoda. The Myanmar Temple is also pagoda shaped and is reminiscent of Bagan. The Thai Temple has a typical sloping, curved roof covered with golden tiles. A massive and spectacular bronze statue of Buddha exists in the temple. Next to the Thai temple there is a recent 25-meter statue of Buddha located within a garden, which has existed there for over 100 years. Tibetans build two temples.

The archeological museum of Bodhgaya is special, a must see attraction of Bodhgaya. There are various meditation courses offered around the town by many institutes. The courses are conducted in winters from October-February. Apart from Bodhgaya, there are some interesting excursions available such as Gaya, Nalanda and Rajgir.

The Bodhi Tree

At the western side of the Mahabodhi Stupa in Bodhgaya stands the large and historic Bodhi Tree under which Shakyamuni Buddha, then known as Gautama, attained enlightenment some 2540 years ago. The present Bodhi Tree is the fifth descendant of the original tree planted at this site. It still has a lot of significance for Buddhists, being revered as the actual Buddha by some enthusiasts. It is an inspiration and imprint of peace for the followers of Buddhism.

Vajrasana: Vajrasana, the stone platform is the seat of stability.

Ancient Railings: The ancient railings of 1st century BC that surround the temple are very interesting monuments.

Chankaramana : This marks the sacred spot of the Buddha’s meditative perambulation during the third week after pious enlightenment. It is believed that wherever the Buddha put his feet lotus sprang up.

Animeshlochana: It is believed that the Buddha spent one week here looking towards the Mahabodhi Tree out of gratitude, without twinkling his eyes.

Ratnagar: The Buddha spent one week here, where it is believed that five colors came out of his body.

Lotus Tank: The sacred tank where it is believed that Buddha had spent one week.

How To Reach Bodh Gaya

Air: The Patna airport is located at a distance of 112 Kms.

Rail: The nearest Railway station is Gaya Railway Station situated at a distance of 16 Kms.

Road: Bodhgaya is connected by road and Patna is 105 Kms via Jehanabad and 181 Kms via Rajgir.

Best Time to Visit

The weather of Bodhgaya is pleasant throughout the year and can be visited anytime. However, the best season to visit is winter from October to March when the climate is cool and comfortable.

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