Bodh Gaya is one of the most sacred Buddhist pilgrimage centres in the world. If you are looking to travel to a spiritually fulfilling destination then Bodh Gaya is the place to be. Let's take a look at the history of this place.
Gautam Buddha was born in 563 BC in what is now known as Nepal. As Siddhartha, he renounced his family when he was 29 in 534 BC and travelled in search of truth.
According to Buddhist texts, Gautam Buddha reached Phalgu river and began meditating under a tree which came to be known as the Bodhi tree. Bodh Gaya is the place where Buddha ended his search for enlightenment. References to this place can be found in the account of Chinese pilgrims such as Faxian and Xuanzang. This place had Buddhist civilization for a number of centuries until it was occupied by the Turkic armies during the 13th century.
This was built by Ashoka in the 3rd century BC and it is one of the earliest Buddhist temples built in brick that still survives today. The temple has an image of a seated Buddha touching the earth with his right hand. It is the same posture in which he attained enlightenment. Also, the courtyard of this temple consists of many smaller Stupas and Buddha statues (some are several hundred years old.) It is said that Buddha spent seven weeks at seven different spots in Bodh Gaya meditating and there are several specific places at the Mahabodhi temple which relate to the traditions surrounding the seven weeks.
During the second week of enlightenment, Buddha remained standing and continued stared at the Bodhi tree. This place has a statue of Buddha in the same pose and is known as Animeshlocha Stupa i.e. the unblinking stupa or shrine.
Other significant places in Bodh Gaya are - 80-feet Buddha statue, Lotus tank, Buddhakund, Rajayatana, Brahm Yoni, Chinse temple and Monastery, Burmese temple, Buddhist Monastery of Bhutan, International Buddhist House and Japanese temple, Thai temple and Monastery, Tibetan Monastery, Archaeological Museum, Sujata village, Dungeshwari hill, Maitraya Project.
How to reach Bodh Gaya
The nearest airport is at Gaya and flights connect Patna to Mumbai, Delhi and other cities.
The nearest railway station is Gaya.
Direct bus services are also available from Gaya, Patna, and Varanasi etc. Patna is at a distance of 97 kms from Bodh Gaya, Varanasi is at 250 and Allahabad is at 375.