Bodhgaya is a very special place for Buddhists as it is Bodhgaya which transformed Prince Siddhartha into Gautam Buddha as he attained enlightenment here with eternal knowledge under the Banyan tree which is today known as Bodhi Tree all over the world. Bodhgaya is situated in State of Bihar in India and it changed the entire world as Buddhism spread to so many countries in Asia transforming their lives. Bodh Gaya also has other various monasteries and temples dedicated to Buddhism. As it is placed near the river Neranjana, Bodh Gaya was earlier known as Uruwela. Bodhgaya is today a World Heritage Site and a must visit for all Buddhists as it fills all pilgrims with spiritualism and meditation. Bodh Gaya is the most important pilgrimage for all sects of Buddhists throughout the world.
History of Bodhgaya
The history of Bodhgaya is connected with Buddhism since ancient times. The place came into prominence in 6th century BC, when Siddharth Gautama after going through rigorous penances for many years, attained Enlightenment or Nirvana under a Bodhi (Bo) tree here and became Buddha to spread his message of love and peace. Later, Great Ashoka, the Mauryan King, built a shrine in 3rd century BC to highlight the exact place where Gautama Buddha had attained Enlightenment, which eventually took the shape of the Mahabodhi temple that still stands. Many inscriptions and pilgrimage accounts tell the history of Bodhgaya including the pioneering works of the Chinese pilgrims like Faxian in and Xuanzang in the 5th century and 7th century respectively.
Places To Visit
The Bodhi Tree :
The Bodhi Tree is considered to be among the oldest and the most venerated tree in the world. The tree as on today is not the original one but only a descendant of the original tree. Pilgrims from all over the world consider the Bodhi Tree’s seeds and leaves as blessings for their monasteries and homes.
Vajrasan or diamond throne is a red sandstone slab under the tree on which Buddha sat while mediating.
The Mahabodhi Temple:
One of the main attraction of the place is the Mahabodhi temple which is built exactly on the spot where Buddha gained enlightenment. It is one of the earliest Buddhist temples from the late Gupta period built entirely in brick, still standing in India.
Situated approximately 13 km 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 chhatravali on a platform and a high pyramidal spire crowned by a miniature stupa. The mouldings on the spire contained Buddha images in niches. A chamber at the top has a figure of Buddha’s mother, Mayadavi. There is a huge gilded image of the Buddha in the “touching the ground pose”, ‘Bhumisparsha mudra’ in the main sanctum. The courtyard of the Mahabodhi temple has a number of elegant Stupas of various sizes. Towards North of the Temple is Chankamana -a platform with foot impressions of Buddha. Animeshlocha Stupa is also very important because it is believed that Buddha spent one week here, looking towards the great Mahabodhi Tree without blinking his eyes to pay his gratitude. 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.
The Archaeological Museum Bodhgaya:
The Archaeological Museum can be visited for its collection of Buddha figures and pillars found in the area. It remains open from 10am to 5pm, Saturday to Thursday.
How to Reach Bodh Gaya
By Air: Gaya airport (GAYA) is the nearest airport from Bodhgaya which is 13 km away and it has flights from Delhi,
Varanasi and even an international connection from Rangoon (Yangon). Another airport is Patna Airport (PAT) which is 135 km away and it is has flights from Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Lucknow.
By Rail: Gaya railway station (GAYA) is the nearest station which is 17 km away and it is well connected to metro cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Varanasi, Agra and Lucknow. Another option is Patna railway Station (PNBE) which is 110 km away and this station has also great connectivity to metro cities a like Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Bangalore, Ranchi, Varanasi and Hyderabad.
By Road : Distances