Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Gaya/Bodh Gaya, Bihar

Bodh Gaya is the place where Gautam Buddha attained enlightenment under the sacred Asvatta tree (later termed Bodhi Tree). Buddhists all across the world consider the place the most sacred and this has become a pilgrim destination for them. Buddhists from all over the world have built temples here in Bodh Gaya. Bodh Gaya is located about 13 km from Gaya, 90 kilometers away from Patna, and 450 km west of Kolkata

Bodh Gaya houses a splendid and magnificent Mahabodhi temple and the temple has Bodhi Tree. Both the temple and the Bodhi Tree are sacred for Buddhists across the globe. The temple is an architectural amalgamation of many centuries, cultures, and heritages. While its architecture has a distinct stamp of the Gupta era, it has later ages inscriptions describing visits of pilgrims from Sri Lanka, Myanmar, and China between seventh and 10th century AD. It is perhaps still the same temple Hieuen Tsang visited in 7th century. 

In the year 1953, Bodh Gaya revisited its glory. A new stupa with the help of Japanese governments’ donation was built in Gaya. Buddhists from Sri Lanka, Thailand, Myanmar, Bhutan, Korea, and Japan often visit to Bodh Gaya. Now one can see many Buddhist monasteries in and around the complex.

Places to See:

Bodh Gaya, being the place where Gautam Buddha had learnt the eternal truth, is a popular tourist destination among Buddhists across the globe. There are a number of Buddhist monuments, temples and monasteries to see in Bodh Gaya. In addition to that, Bodh gaya also holds great importance for the believers of the Hindu faith. Here are some of the important tourist attractions of Bodh Gaya. 

Great Buddha Statue

The eighty feet statue of Lord Buddha is a major attraction in Bodhgaya. The statue is in Dhyan Mudra, i.e. meditation posture on an inverted lotus. The statue is made of red granite and sandstone blocks. According to historical evidence, 12000 masons made the statue in time of seven years. Daijokyo Sect of Japan helped build this statue. The Dalai Lama consecrated the statue on November 18 1989. 

The tree under which Gautama Buddha had meditated and learnt the eternal knowledge is known as the Bodhi Tree. Later on Buddhist king Ashoka built a shrine at the spot, which subsequently developed into a temple. The contemporary world knows the temple as Mahabodhi temple. The temple is a remarkable manifestation of the architectural dexterity of our artisans and one cannot but help admiring the architectural skills the temple displays. This pyramid shaped temple has four towers adorning its four corners. 

Dungeswari Caves

Dungeswari caves located twelve kilometers away from Bodh Gaya are mysterious. One of these caves houses a statute of Buddha representing him when he was leading a life of austerity. These caves with statues, stone carvings, paintings, and graphics of Lord Buddha and his life, tell us the story of the life of Buddha. 

Bodhi Tree

Gautam Sidhartha had learnt the eternal knowledge of life and death under this tree. Though the actual tree is not alive, the sapling of the original tree brought from Sri Lanka is still here. In and around the 3rd century B.C Sanghamitta, the daughter of Emperor Asoka brought a branch of this Bodhi tree and planted it in Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka where it still grows today. The existing tree is more than 122 years old and quadrangular stone railings of two types representing two different style and material surround it. 

Bodhi Sarovar

The pond where Gautam took bath before going in for meditation has great religious importance for Buddhists. Situated towards the west of Bodhi temple, it gives the feeling of nostalgia where you feel as if you are seeing the young prince going and coming for bath. While in Bodh Gaya the pond is worth visiting. 


As it is believed when Gautam learned the eternal knowledge, he was in dilemma whether to disclose it to the world or not, and in this dilemma he started walking. It is believed that wherever Buddha put his feet lotuses sprang up. The spot is located in the north of the Bodhi Temple. 

Vishnupad Temple

A place along the Falgu River, marked by a footprint of Vishnu incised into a block of basalt, that marks the act of Lord Vishnu subduing Gayasur by placing his foot on Gayasur's chest. Brahmins have been the traditional priests at Vishnupad Mandir in Gaya as Gayawal Pandas and in the adjoining districts like Hazaribagh. The present day temple was rebuilt by Devi Ahilya Bai Holkar, the ruler of Indore, in the 18th century. Buddhist tradition regards the footstep in the Vishnupad Temple as a footstep of Buddha (who is regarded as an Avatar of Vishnu by Hindus).

Mangla Gauri shrine

The Mangla Gauri shrine is marked by two rounded stones that symbolize the breasts of the mythological Sati, the first wife of Lord Shiva.


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