Bodhgaya is the spiritual home of Buddhists attracting tens of thousands of believers from all over the world. Bodhgaya situated near the river Niranjana, is one of the holiest Buddhist pilgrimage centres as it is the place where Buddha attained enlightenment.
Bodhgaya is the place where Lord Buddha attained enlightment. The tree under which Buddha attained enlightment is called the Bodhi tree, while the temple marking the spot is called Mahabodh temple. A descendant of that original tree still flourishes there today. The temples stands as a model for the temples in Burma, Nepal, And Srilanka.This is very important and one of the holiest cities for Buddhists.
The population of this town is 22, 000 and is situated at an altitude of 113 m. Most countries with vast Buddhist population have a temple or monastery here. The 25 m Great Buddha Statue in the Japanese Kamakura style was unveiled by his holiness Dalai Lama in 1989.
History of Bodhgaya :
A large number of shrines and memorials were erected at the site to commemorate the incidents before after enlightenment but only few now can be recognised. Of the earliest shrines, traditionally attributed to Asoka, only vajrasana or the sandstone throne with the characteristic Mauryan polish and decorative designs has survived and is seen beneath the holy Bodhi tree.
A portion of the sandstone carved railing belongs to the the Sunga period. The remaining portion of the railing pertains to the Gupta period. The main brick-built shrine known as the Mahabodhi temple appears to have been originally erected in circa 2nd century A.D. It is encumbered with heavy renovations, the four corner-towers being an arbitrary addition of circa 14th century. Its central tower, standing on a high plinth, is about 55m high and is a straight-edged pyramid of seven storeys, relieved by pilasters and chaitya-niches, substantially agreeing with its description left by the Chinese pilgrim Hiuen Tsang. The remaining shrines and stupas mostly belong to the Pala period (9th to 12th century).
Places to Visit :
Bodhi Tree is towards the West of the Maha Bodhi temple, is the tree where Gautam Buddha did his meditation and attained enlightenment. Bodhi Sarovar is the pond where BUddha used to take a bath. This pond is situated towards the west of Bodhi temple. Chankamana is a platform with foot impressions of Buddha and is towards the north of the Bodhi Temple.
Apart from these ponds and platforms, there are many temples built by the people of various nations like the Tibet temple, the Japanese, the Thai, the Lankan and the Bhutan temple. These temples are also a major attraction for the tourists and devotees, who visit Bodh Gaya.
- Nearest Airport : Patna is the nearest airport (140 km) with regular flights to Delhi, Ranchi, Lucknow, Calcutta, Chennai, Mumbai.
- Nearest Railway Station : Gaya ( 12 km ) is the nearest railway station.
- By Road: 12 km from Gaya, 140 km from Patna