is one of the sacred places for the Buddhists as well as for the
Hindus.Where the quest of Prince Siddharth was fulfilled after
years of seeking the truth and the saga of Buddha began. Here
the Bodhi Tree, Gautama attained supreme knowledge to become Budhha,
the `Enlighted One'. The Buddha attained enlightenment in Bodhgaya,
under the Bodhi tree which still stands in the temple premises.The
Prince had been wandering in search of supreme peace for long
six years hither and thither. But it was at Bodhgaya only where
his holy mission was achieved. The magnificent Mahabodhi temple
in Bodhgaya is an architectural amalgamation of many centuries
cultures and many heritages that came to pay their homage here.
The temple definitely has architecture of the Gupta and later
ages, inscriptions describing visits of pilgrims from Sri Lanka,
Myanmar and China between 7th and 10th century AD. Bodhgaya has
naturally developed into the most sacred spot for Buddhists from
all over the world, especially the affluent south East Asia.
in sylvan solitude this sacred place is situated on the bank of
river Niranjana (Modern Falgu). It is 13 km. from Gaya town. Gaya
is an important Centre of 'Hindu Pilgrimage' where people go to
offer oblations for the salvation of their dead forefathers.
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
had been practicing austerities for six years in the area of the
Niranjana River near Bodhgaya. Finally understanding that this
could not lead to realisation, he abandoned his austerities and
in the nearby village of Senani (now also known as Sujata) the
Brahmin girl Sujata offered him milk-rice. Strengthened by this,
he took some kusha grass for a mat and sat under the pipal tree
facing east. He resolved not to rise until he attained enlightenment.
he sat in deep meditation, Mara, Lord of Illusion, symbolising
the delusions of one's own mind, tried tirelessly to distract
him from his purpose. Gautama then touched the earth, calling
it to bear witness to the countless lifetimes of virtue that led
him to this place of enlightenment. The earth shook confirming
the truth of his words. Mara unleashed his army of demons to distract
and tempt Gautama from his purpose, but Gautama triumphed over
the inner obstacles and the power of his compassion transformed
the demons' weapons into flowers. His mind was utterly subdued.
For seven days after the enlightenment, Buddha continued to meditate
under the tree without moving from his seat. Another week passed
in walking meditation, and for a third the Buddha contemplated
under the Bodhi Tree. The earliest records on the tree are in
the 'Kalingabodhi Jataka', which gives a vivid description of
the tree and the surrounding area prior to the enlightenment,
and the 'Asokavadana', which relates the story of King Ashoka's
(3rd century B.C) conversion to Buddhism. His subsequent worship
under the sacred tree apparently angered his queen to the point
where she ordered the tree to be felled. Ashoka then piled up
earth around the stump and poured milk on its roots. The tree
miraculously revived and grew to a height of 37-metres. He then
surrounded the tree with a stone wall some three-meters high for
its protection. Ashoka's daughter Sangamitta, a Buddhist nun,
took a shoot of the tree to Sri Lanka where the King, Devanampiyatissa,
planted it at the Mahavihara monastery in Anuradhapura. The fourth
direct descendant of the original Bodhi Tree still flourishes
today and is the oldest continually documented tree in the world.
In 600AD, the tree was again destroyed; this time by the zealous
King Sesanka. The event was recorded by Hiuen T'sang, along with
the planting of a new Bodhi Tree sapling (taken from the original)
by King Purnavarma in 620AD. At this time, during the annual celebration
of Vaisakha, thousands of people from all over India would gather
to anoint the roots of the holy tree with perfumed water and scented
milk, and to offer flowers and music. Hiuen T'sang wrote, "The
tree stands inside a fort-like structure surrounded on the south,
west and north by a brick wall. It has pointed leaves of a bright
green colour. Having opened a door, one could see a large trench
in the shape of a basin. Devotees worship with curd, milk and
perfumes such as sandalwood, camphor and so on."
later the English archeologist Cunningham records, "In 1862
I found this tree very much decayed; one large stem to the westward
with three branches was still green, but the other branches were
barkless and rotten. I next saw the tree in 1871 and again in
1875, when it had become completely decayed, and shortly afterwards
in 1876 the only remaining portion of the tree fell over the west
wall during a storm, and the old pipal tree was gone. Many seeds,
however, had been collected and the young scion of the parent
tree were already in existence to take its place."
present Bodhi Tree is most probably the fifth descendant of the
original tree to be planted at this site. It still performs a
very important role to Buddhists of all traditions. Being viewed
as the actual Buddha by some, it is a reminder and an inspiration,
a symbol of peace, of Buddha's enlightenment and of the ultimate
potential that lies within us all.
The Mahabodhi Temple stands east to the Bodhi Tree. Its architectural
effect is superb. its basement is 48 square feet and it rises
in the form of a slender Pyramid, till it reaches its neck, which
is cylindrical in shape. The total height of the temple is 170
feet and on the top of the temple are Chatras which symbolise
sovereignty of religion. Four towers on its four corners rise
gracefully giving the holy sturcture a poise and balance. This
sacred edifice is like a grand banner unfurled by time to proclaim
to the world the pious efforts of the Buddha to solve the knots
of human miseries to ascend above worldly problems and to attain
transcedental peace through wisdom, good conduct and disciplined
life. Inside the temple in the main sanctum, on an altar, is a
colossal image of Buddha in a sitting posture touching the earth
by his right hand. In this posture the Buddha accomplished the
supreme enlightenment. The statue is of black stone but it has
been guilded by the devotees. The entire courtyard of the temple
is studded with a large number of varieties of stupas--votive,
decorative, memorative. These stupas are of all sizes built during
the past 2500 years ago. Most of them are extremely elegant in
Vajrasana, the seat of stability. The Buddha supposed to have
say in meditation gazing east, under the Bodhi tree, where the
Vajrasana, the stone platform is kept.
The ancient railings which surround the temple are of first cintury
BC and are very interesting monuments of the country.
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.
It is belived that the Buddha spent one week here looking towards
the treat Mahabodhi Tree out of gratitude, without twinkling his
The Buddha spent one week here, where it is believed that five
colours came out of his body.
The sacred tank where it is believed that Buddha had spent one
Climate (deg c): Summer- Max.47, Min.28. Winter- Max.28,
Rainfall: 186 cms ( Mid. June to Mid. September ).
Best Season: October to March.
How to reach:
Air: The Patna airport is 112 Kms.
Rail: The nearest Railway station is Gaya 16 Kms
Bodhgaya is connected by road to Gaya. 16 Kms to the Delhi-Calcutta
Highway junction (on Grand Trunk Road). Dobhi 22 Kms and Patna
105 Kms (via Jehanabad) or 181 Kms (Via Rajgir).
Gaya:13 km. from Bodhgaya, Gaya is a very sacred pilgrim centre
for Hindus. . Gaya is one of the most important pilgrimage places
for the Hindus. It is believed that a Hindu will reach heaven
if his last rites are offered under the celebrated Akshayabat
or immortal banyan tree, standing in the yard of Vishnupad temple.
Believed to be built on the footsteps of Vishnu, the grand temple
was renovated by Ahalyabai, queen of Indore. The temple of Vishnupad
on the bank of river Falgu attracts a very large number of pilgrims.
The Barabar and Nagarjuni Hills are situated about 41 km. from
Bodhgaya (25 kms north of Gaya) and contain, in all, seven rock-cut
caves of which four are in the Barabar hills. Barabar Caves is
an important achaeological site. The caves carved out from solid
rocks bear details of the life of Buddha.
of the caves, dedicated by Ashoka to Ajivika monks, are in the
form of a plain rectangular outer hall. At one end of which is
an inner chamber with carved wall and over hanging caves.
Karan Chaupa cave
The entire interior of the cave, excluding the platform, bears
a high polish. The entrance is in 'Egyptian form'.
The Sudama cave
The cave entrance is in 'Egyptian form' and consists of two chambers.
Lomas Rishi cave
The entrance is in 'Egyptian form and only walls of the outer
rooms are polished.
Visva Zopri cave
Consists of an outer apartment, bearing the high polish on its
walls and flat roof. On the right hand wall, is an inscription
Places of Interest
Tibetan Monastery, Thai Monastery, Myanmar Monastery, Chinese
Monastery, Bhutanese Monastery, Japanese Monastery and Sri Lankan
Kesaria | Lauria
NandanGarh | Nalanda | Patna
| Pawapuri | Rajgir
| Vaishali |