Bodhgaya village is situated near the river Niranjana (Phalgu)12 kms. from Gaya and 112 km from Patna. One of the holiest Buddhist centers, Bodhgaya in Gaya district is surrounded by rocky hills on three sides. This is the place where Gautama Buddha meditated and attained enlightenment about 2600 years ago
Originally a shrine erected by Emperor Ashoka near the Bodhi tree, it was later replaced by the Mahabodhi temple in the 2nd century. The present temple was restored in 1883 by Sir Alexander Cunningham along with J. D. Beglar and Dr. Rajendralal Mitra. The area was declared a World Heritage site by UNESCO since 2002. The temple which lies on a high and broad plinth, has a soaring 54 meters high pyramidal spire with a square cross-section. It has a image of Buddha signifying the pose of enlightenment. The entrance of the temple has torana or an ornamental archway. The south side of the temple has a lotus pond.
The original 'Bodhi tree' or Pipal (Ficus religiosa) where Gautama Buddha meditated and attained enlightenment was said to have been destroyed by Ashoka. The present tree behind the Mahabodhi temple, in the centre of the complex is believed to have grown from a sapling of the original tree.
The 'Vajrasila' (a red stone slab) under the Bodhi tree marks the place where Gautama Buddha sat in meditation. 'Animeshlochana', the sacred spot where Buddha stood to gaze in gratitude at the Bodhi tree for a week after his enlightenment. Located on the north east side of the temple complex, a stupa is erected here to commemorate the event. Pilgrims from Tibet, Thai, Bhutan, Japan, China and Burma have built their own temples here.
A 20 meters tall (80 feet) Buddha statue built in stone can be seen at the end of the road, beyond the Japanese temple. It was built by the Daijokyo Buddhist sect and unveiled in the presence of his holiness Dalai Lama on November 18 1989. More details of Bodhgaya...
Visiting Hours: 7:00 to 12:00, 14:00 to 18:00 (to 17:30 in winter)