ABOUT BODH GAYA:
- Bodh Gaya (once Uruvela willage) is the most important and sacred Buddhist pilgrim centre in the world.
- It was here that Gautama (Prince Siddharth) finally attained nirvana under the Bodhi (banyan) tree and became Buddha, the enlightened one.
- Siddhartha Gautam was born in 566 BC in Lumbini (Nepal) as a Sakya prince of Kapilvastu.
- He renounced the royal heritage and faced hardships in search for associated with his life, like enlightenment and the last sermon, happened in Bihar and thus the State is regarded as the ‘cradle’ of Buddhism.
- Today, Bodh Gaya is an international centre for Buddhism and has temples and monasteries built by various countries like, China, Japan, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, Thailand, Taiwan, Korea, Bhutan and Nepal.
MODE OF COMMUNICATION:
- Airport: Gaya Airport, Gaya (GAY), 17 kms away from Bodh Gaya city centre. Lok Nayak Jayaprakash Airport, Patna (PAT), 135 kms away from Bodh Gaya.
- Rail: Gaya Railway Station, Gaya, 14 kms away from Bodh Gaya city centre.
- Road: Well connected by road.
SIGHTSEEING AT A GLANCE
Mahabodhi Temple Bodhi Tree Vajrasana Animesh Lochan Stupa Ratnagarh Chaitya The Ratnachakarma or Jewel Walk Bodhisarovar Japanese Temple Thai Temple & Monastery Muchalinda Lake Shaivite Monastery Deo Gaya
MUSEUM & AUDITORIUM
Archaeological Survey of India Museum
ATTRACTIONS OF BODH GAYA
- Mahabodhi Temple:
- Sacred temple complex set amidst lush lawns marks the site where Buddha attained enlightenment or spiritual illumination.
- Original temple at this site was built by emperor Ashoka in 3rd century B.C.
- It was rebuilt during the 7th century A.D., by the Pala kings of Bengal.
- Shrine was rediscovered in 1833, by eminent archaeologists and is now World Heritage Site of UNESCO.
- Present structure is a blend of architectural styles of different periods and cultures, but the style of the Guptas and later stages is clearly evident.
- Exquisitely carved 54 metres high pyramidal spire of the main temple dominates the landscape.
- Main sanctum enshrines a golden image of Lord Buddha is sitting pasture.
- Entire courtyard of the temple is studded with a large number of beautiful stupas, in different sizes and built during the past 2,500 years.
- Bodhi Tree:
- Lord Buddha is said to have attained nirvana, while meditating under this sacred tree.
- It lies towards the left in the Mahabodhi Temple Complex.
- Tree was destroyed and replanted at least five times.
- Present tree grew from a sapling brought from the Bodhi tree at Anuradhapura in Sri Lanka, which was planted by emperor Ashoka’s son Mahinda, who took a sapling from the original tree to Sri Lanka, on one of his missions to propagate the teachings of Lord Buddha.
- Holy tree is surrounded by small, but beautifully carved votive stupas and chaityas.
- The ‘seat of stability’, a red sandstone platform beneath the Bodhi tree marks the site where Buddha is believed to have set in meditation gazing east.
- Probably dates back to 3rd century B.C. in 1993, the then Sri Lankan president Ranasinghe Premadasa gifted a golden canopy.
- A golden railing around the Vajrasana as a gift from the people of Sri Lankan.
- Animesh Lochan Stupa:
- It is believed that Buddha spent the second week after enlightenment over here.
- Ratnagarh Chaitya:
- Lord Buddha spent one week here to attain Abhidhama Naya (deep meditation), a higher mode of exposition.
- The Ratnachakarma or Jewel Walk:
- The third week after pious enlightenment was spent here by Buddha in meditative perambulations.
- Sacred site is marked by a recently made brick platform with 18 lotus flowers representing the footsteps of Buddha mark the sacred spot.
- Sacred pond lies to the west of Bodhi temple.
- It is said that Buddha bathed here before going into the meditation under the Bodhi tree.
- Japanese Temple:
- Beautiful pagoda shaped shrine with a splendid image of Lord Buddha, is set amidst a well laid out garden.
- Thai Temple & Monastery:
- Brightly coloured shrine has gold lacquered tiles and a sloping roof, ending in curled dragons.
- It has a huge image of Lord Buddha.
- Muchalinda Lake:
- Sixth week was spent here by Lord Buddha.
- Archaeological Survey of India Museum:
- Fine museum exhibits a rich collection of Buddhist and Hindu relics, terracotta seals, scriptures and railings/ pillars dating back from 1st century B.C. to 11th century A.D.
- Magadh University:
- Prestigious international university is well known for its studies in history, culture and philosophy.
- Shaivite Monastery:
- It lies near the Mahabodhi temple and has a cluster of four temples amidst lush surroundings.
ATTRACTIONS AROUND BODH GAYA
- 32 kms away from Bodh Gaya.
- It is famous for the beautiful temple of Sun God and ‘Chhat’ festivities in October to November.
- Important Hindu pilgrim site lies between the Pretshilla and Ramshila Hills, on the bank of river Phalgu, 12 kms away from Bodh city.
- Gaya along with Varanasi and Allahabad are regarded by Hindus as the three most sacred sites for performing the funeral rites.
- Hindus offer oblation here for the salvation of their ancestors.
- Gaya also has a large number of Buddhist temples.
- According to legends, a completely fatigued Lord Buddha rested here under a tree and was offered food by a condemned lady named Sujata.
- To everybody’s surprise Buddha accepted her offerings and after consuming the food, he assumed a divine glow and realised the ‘Supreme Truth’, that neither extreme self-indulgence nor self-mortification is ever required.
- The Sujatha Sthan or Durgeshwari temple built here marks this important event in the life of Buddha.