Bodhgaya is a UNESCO World Heritage one of the most important and sacred Buddhist pilgrimage center in the world.
It was here under a Banyan tree, the Bodhi Tree, Gautama attained supreme knowledge to become Buddha, the Enlightened One. Buddhism as a religion was born & evolved here through his preaching and the example of his lifestyle of great simplicity, renunciation and empathy for everything living.
In Bodhgaya, There is a magnificent Mahabodhi temple and the Tree from the original sapling still stands in the temple premises. 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 7th and 10th century AD. Mahabodhi Temple is still the same temple Hieuen Tsang visited in 7th century.
Bodhgaya is the most important Buddhist pilgrimage place in the world. Located in the state of Bihar, it's here that Lord Buddha became enlightened during intense meditation under a Bodhi tree. The exact spot is now marked by the sprawling Mahabodhi Temple complex. It's a very serene and peaceful place. Monks from all over the world can be found sitting at the foot of an enormous carved Buddha statue, reading holy scriptures in deep contemplation. The town is also home to dozens of Buddhist monasteries, maintained by various Buddhist countries.
Bodhi Tree in Bodh gaya
Bodh Gaya - A UNESCO World Heritage Site, It is a Top destination for Buddhist Pilgrimage (One of the Four Buddhist Pilgrimage sites related to the life of Gautam Buddha, the other three being Kushinagar, Lumbini, and Sarnath), and famous for Mahabodhi Temple Complex in Gaya district in the Indian state of Bihar. It is famous as it is the place where Gautama Buddha is said to have obtained Enlightenment (Bodhimandala).For Buddhists, Bodh Gaya is the most important.
Buddha was born 563 BC in Nepal on auspicious day of Baisakhi purnima. As Siddhartha, he renounced his family at the age of 29 his gaining enlightenment in 534 BC, and travelled and meditated in search of truth. In circa 500 BC Prince Gautama Siddhartha, wandering as an ascetic, reached the sylvan banks of the Phalgu, near the city of Gaya.( Present Bodhgaya) There he sat in meditation under a bodhi (fig) tree. After three days and three nights of meditation, Siddhartha claimed to have attained enlightenment.
In Bodhgaya, the Buddha encountered the five men, his first deciples and told them "Austerities only confuse the mind. In the exhaustion and mental stupor to which they lead, one can no longer understand the ordinary things of life, still less the truth that lies beyond the senses. I have given up extremes of either luxury or asceticism. I have discovered the Middle Way". This is the path which in neither easy (a rich prince) nor hard (living in austere conditions practicing self-denial). Hearing this, the five ascetics became the Buddha's first disciples.
These disciples of Gautama Siddhartha began to visit the place during the full moon in the month of Vaisakh (April–May), as per the Hindu calendar. Over time, the place became known as Bodh Gaya, the day of enlightenment as Buddha Purnima, and the tree as the Bodhi Tree.
The main monastery of Bodh Gaya used to be called the Bodhimanda-vihara (Pali). Now it is called the Mahabodhi Temple.The temple complex of the Mahabodhi Temple has the diamond throne (called the Vajrasana) and the holy Bodhi tree. This tree was originally a sapling of the Sri Maha Bodhi tree in Sri Lanka, itself grown from a sapling of the original Bodhi tree.
After 250 years of Enlightenment of the Buddha, Emperor Asoka visited Bodh Gaya. He was the founder of the Mahabodhi temple. Temple consisted of an elongated 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 mouldings on the spire contained Buddha images in niches. Some historians believe that the temple was constructed or renovated in the 1st century during the Kushan period.
Kittisirimegha of Sri Lanka, a contemporary of Samudragupta, erected with the permission of Samudragupta, a Sangharama near the Mahabodhi-vihara, chiefly for the use of the Singhalese monks who went to worship the Bodhi tree.
Several Buddhist temples and monasteries have been built by the govemments of Bhutan, China, Japan, Myanmar, Nepal, Sikkim, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Thailand, Tibet and Vietnam in a wide area around the Mahabodhi Temple. These buildings reflect the architectural style, exterior and interior decoration of their respective countries.
Bodh Gaya International Airport is situated 7km from Bodh gaya and approximately 10km from Gaya Railway Station.