Bodhgaya or Bodh Gaya is a city in Gaya district in the Indian state of Bihar. It is famous for being the place of Buddha's attainment of Enlightenment.
Historically, it was known as the Bodhimanda (ground round the Bodhi-tree), and there was a large monastic settlement there. The main monastery of Bodhgaya used to be called the Bodhimanda-vihara (Pali). Now it is called the Mahabodhi Temple.
For Buddhists, Bodh Gaya is the most important of the main four pilgrimage sites related to the life of Gautama Buddha, the other three being Kushinagar, Lumbini, and Sarnath. In 2002, Mahabodhi Temple, located in Bodh Gaya, became a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Gautama Siddhartha spend three days under the bodhi tree after which he received Enlightenment during the full moon, this day is celebrated as the Buddha Poornima. After receiving Enlightenment under the bodhi tree, Gautama Siddhartha went to Sarnath near Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh which is another important pilgrimage travel site for Buddhists where he gave his first lecture.
Temple - It
is believed that King Asoka The Great built this temple at the exact place
where Gautama Buddha mediated and received Enlightenment. The original
Mahabodhi Temple was destroyed by the Muslims but was restored in 1880. The
pyramid shaped Mahabodhi Temple features a 50 meter high tower. The temple is
pilgrimage place for Buddhists and Hindus as well.
Buddha Statue - Also called
Vajrasana, this 80 feet high statue of Lord Gautama Buddha is major attraction
in Bodh Gaya. The Great Buddha Statue is in the meditation posture. The Great
Buddha Statue was made of sandstone and red granite. The statue was consecrated
by the Dalai Lama in 1989.
Caves - The mysterious
Dungeswari Caves are located 12km from the Bodh Gaya. There are several
statues, painting and stone carvings of Lord Gautama Buddha at the Dungeswari
Caves. These statues and paintings tells the story of Gautama Buddha during
this life of austerity.
Tree - Under the Bodhi
Tree, Gautama Buddha received the Enlightenment and went on to found the
Buddhism. Although the original tree died several years ago. The sapling from
the original Bodhi Tree that was taken from the Sri Lanka. The daughter of
Emperor Asoka The Great took the branch of original Bodhi Tree and planted it
in Anuradhapura in Sri Lanka. Under the Bodhi Tree is the red sandstone slab on
which Gautama Buddha sat on.
Sarovar - The Bodhi Sarovar
is a pond where Gautama Buddha used to take bath before going for meditation.
This pond has a significant importance for the Buddhists.
- According to the legend,
after receiving eternal knowledge, Gautama Buddha was in dilemma to whether
share it with the world or not. While thinking on the issue Lord Buddha started
walking and wherever he put his feet lotuses sprang up. The Chankaramana is
located near the Bodhi temple.
Museum - The Archaeological
Museum in Bodh Gaya exhibits sculptures related to Buddhist religion. There are
two galleries in the museum. The first gallery exhibits sculptures like Yakshi
figure, crowned Buddha, standing image of Majusri etc. The second gallery
exhibits sculpture related to Buddhist and Brahmanical faith like Sapta
matrika, Dasavatara of Lord Vishnu.
Multimedia Museum - The
museum showcase historical and geographical context of Lord Buddha;s life
through Multimedia films and 3D animations. The Bodhgaya Multimedia Museum is
located near the Mahabodhi temple.