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Bodhgaya Sightseeing

India Buddhism BookingSightseeing :

Bodhgaya has many significant things associated with the life of Buddha. One of the central point and prime attraction of the place is the Mahabodhi temple which is built at the place the Buddha gained enlightenment. This temple stands adjacent to the descendent of the original Bodhi tree under which Buddha mediated to gain knowledge.

The Bodhi TreeThe Bodhi Tree : is considered to be among the oldest and the most venerated tree in the world. The present tree is considered only as the descendant of the original tree. Bhikkhuni Sangamitta, daughter of Ashoka, took a shoot of the original Bodhi tree to Sri Lanka in the 3rd century B.C. where the Lankan king Devanampiya Tissa planted it at the Mahavihara monastery in Anuradhapura where it still flourishes today. A cutting from it was carried back to Bodhgaya when the original tree died. The Bodhi tree, closely linked to the Buddha's accomplishment is much sought after among the pilgrims visiting the place. Pilgrims consider the Bodhi Tree's seeds and leaves as blessings for their monasteries and homes.

India Buddhism BookingVajrasan : or diamond throne is a red sandstone slab under the tree on which Buddha sat while mediating.

The Mahabodhi TempleThe Mahabodhi Temple : It is believed that 250 years after the enlightenment of Buddha, Maurya king emperor Ashoka visited Bodh Gaya and built a small shrine at the spot where Buddha had attained enlightenment. Thus emperor Ashoka is considered as the original founder of the Mahabodhi temple.

The Mahabodhi Temple constructed in the 7th century A.D. has had repairs and renovations from time to time. It has a long history that has seen periods of invasions and destruction. Muslim invaders destroyed the temple in the 12th century but the Burmese kings restored the temple in the 14th century. However, the temple complex was severely flooded and remained buried under silt till 1811. The temple finally received its last and massive restoration and conservation work after it was excavated in 1861 on the recommendation of Alexander Cunningham, Director General of the Archaeological Survey of India.

In 1891 a Srilankan Buddhist, Anagarika Dharmapala, founded the Mahabodhi Society of India to reclaim the Mahabodhi temple for the Buddhists which till then had experienced considerable Hindu control over it. Finally on 23rd May 1953, the temple was handed over to Dr S. Radhakrishnan, the then Vice President of India.

India Buddhism BookingThe Mahabodhi Temple Architecture : Situated about 13 kms from Gaya, it is one of the important places of worship for the Buddhists. The temple is 15m in length as well as in breadth and its height is 52m. It consists of a high pyramidal 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 moldings on the spire contained Buddha images in niches. On its four corners are four towers rising gracefully, giving the whole structure a balanced look.

In the main sanctum there is a huge gilded image of the Buddha in the "touching the ground pose", ‘Bhumisparsha mudra’. The image faces the east and it is believed that Buddha attained supreme enlightenment in this posture. This image is said to be 1700 years old. A chamber at the top has a figure of Buddha’s mother, Mayadavi.

The courtyard of the Mahabodhi temple consists of large number of elegant looking Stupas of different sizes. Towards North of the Bodhi Temple is Chankamana -a platform with foot impressions of Buddha. Also significant is Animeshlocha Stupa, which is believed to be the place where Buddha spent one week looking towards the great Mahabodhi Tree out of gratitude, without blinking his eyes. The temple has ancient railings as old as the first century BC. Near the Mahabodhi temple there are many temples built by various nations like the Tibet temple, the Japanese, the Thai, the Lankan and the Bhutan temple.

Around the Bodhi tree and the Mahabodhi temple there are quadrangular stone railings around 0.2m high with four bars including the top piece. They are depict two different styles and were made in two different eras. The older set is dated to about 150 BC and made of sandstone while the latter probably belongs to the Gupta period (300-600 AD) and constructed from course granite. The older set has a number of designs representing scenes from the purchase of Jetavana by Ananthapindika at Sravasti, Lakshmi being bathed by elephants, Surya riding a chariot drawn by four horses, etc. On the latter there are figures of stupas, Garudas, etc. The meditation- park is a new addition in the temple complex inaugurated by His Holiness Dalai Lama. The atmosphere inside the temple compound is of peace and serenity. People from all walks of life and religion come here to worship and admire the temple.

UNESCO has declared Maha Bodhi Temple at Bodh Gaya (Bihar) as a world heritage site. Entry is free for all. The timings are from 6 am to 12 noon and from 2 to 6.30 pm. A small sum of Rupees five is charged for taking cameras inside.

India Buddhism BookingMonastries : The temples or monastries built by other Buddhist countries like Thailand, China, Sri Lanka, Japan, Korea, Nepal, Taiwan, Bhutan etc are made in their typical representative architectural style and are a great attraction to the tourists. The Tibetan and monasteries were built way back in 1934 and contain a large prayer wheel. The Japanese temple has a large image of Buddha brought from Japan. The Tai Bodhi Kham Monastery was built by Buddhist tribes from Arunanchal Pradesh and Assam.

The Archeological Museum : can also be visited for its collection of Buddha figures and pillars found in the area. It remains open from 10 am to 5pm,Saturday to Thursday. There is also a Hindu Shankararacharya Math, which owns a temple in Bodhgaya that has a sculpture gallery. Across the Falgu River there are two temples called the Dungeshwari and Suraya temple, which can be visited.

Excurtions : Excurtionss can be made from Bodhgaya to neighboring places like Gaya, an important spiritual destination for Hindus. The main pilgrimage center in Gaya is the Vishnu Temple. An interesting legend related to it is that this temple was built on Lord Vishnu's footsteps. It is a common belief among Hindus is that if the final rights are performed in Gaya, the departed soul goes to heaven.

  • NalandaNalanda - was a center of ancient learning. It is located around 50 kms from Bodhgaya and is famous for monasteries. It was from Nalanda that Buddhism spread to other South-East Asian and Far-east countries.
  • Rajgir - located 34 km of Bodhgay, Rajgir was the place where first Buddhist Council was held. At the time of Buddha Rajjgir was the capital of powerful Magadha Empire.Buddha had spent az major part of his life in Rajgir. The place is famous for its rock cut temples, forts and Buddhist ruins, Hindu and Jain temples and Muslim tombs.India Buddhism Booking