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     Bodh Gaya Pilgrimage Site in India

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Bodh Gaya Pilgrimage Site

Bodh Gaya is the place where Gautama Buddha attained supreme Enlightenment. Bodh Gaya is among the most popular North India attractions which is visited by people of all caste and religion. Though BodhGaya is a sacred Buddhist Pilgrimage but people from all religion come here to receive blessings. This 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. It is a religious place in Gaya district in the State of Bihar.

The Bodhi Tree is the sacred tree under which Lord Buddha meditated and attained nirvana. Pilgrims take back home the leaves of this Bodhi tree as blessings of the lord. It is said that a sapling of the original Bodhi tree was taken from here to Srilank and the Bhodi tree is still present there.

Mahabodhi Temple is a beautiful temple built in the 3rd century at the very spot where Lord Buddha attained enlightenment. Asoka was an ardent devotee of Buddha and it is he who built this temple in lord's honor. There is a huge and beautiful idol of the Lord inside this shrine.

Mahabodhi Temple

The complex, located about 96 kilometres from Patna, contains the Mahabodhi Temple with 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.

It is believed that 250 years after the Enlightenment of the Buddha, Emperor Asoka visited Bodh Gaya. He is considered to be the founder of the original Mahabodhi temple. It 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. With the decline of Buddhism in India, the temple was abandoned and forgotten, buried under layers of soil and sand.

Around the Bodhi tree and the Mahbodhi temple there are quadrangular stone railings around 0.2m high with four bars including the top piece. These are of two types and can be distinguished from each other in style and material used. The older set is dated to about 150 BC and made of sandstone while the latter set is probably of the Gupta period (300-600 AD) and constructed from course granite. The older set has a number of designs representing scenes from the purchase of Jetavana by Ananthapindika at Sravasti, Lakshmi being bathed by elephants, Surya riding a chariot drawn by four horses, etc. On the latter set there are figures of stupas, Garudas, etc. In most of these railings lotus motifs are commonly used.

bodhgaya Mahabodhi_Temple_Bodhgaya

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