is small and quiet town, which is the most important of all
the Buddhist sites in the world. The Maha Bodhi temple of Bodh
Gaya is one of the important places of worship for the
Buddhists. Apart from being a vital Buddhist centre, it is
also a significant archaeological site. Devout Buddhists and
tourists from all over the world visit Bodhgaya, to study
Buddhism and the art of meditation, or to simply absorb the
aura of solemn splendour that surrounds the place.
Marking the holy spot of the enlightenment of the Master,
this site is looked upon with greatest sanctity and became a
flourishing Buddhist establishment with numerous temples,
stupas and monasteries.
According to tradition a large number of shrines and memorials
were erected at the site to commemorate the incidents before
after enlightenment but only few now can be recognised. Of the
earliest shrines, traditionally attributed to Asoka, only
vajrasana or the sandstone throne with the characteristic
Mauryan polish and decorative designs has survived and is seen
beneath the holy Bodhi tree.
To the Sunga period belongs a portion of the sandstone railing
carved with bas-reliefs, typical of the age. The remaining
portion of the railing pertains to the Gupta period. The main
brick-built shrine known as the Mahabodhi temple which appears
to have been originally erected in circa 2nd century A.D., is
encumbered with the heavy renovations, the four corner-towers
being an arbitrary addition of circa 14th century. Its central
tower, standing on a high plinth, is about 55m high and is a
straight-edged pyramid of seven storeys, relieved by pilasters
and chaitya-niches, substantially agreeing with its
description left by the Chinese pilgrim Hiuen Tsang. The
remaining shrines and stupas mostly belong to the Pala period
(9th to 12th century).
PRIME SITES IN BODH GAYA
Towards the West of the Maha Bodhi temple, is the tree where
Gautam Buddha did his meditation and attained enlightenment.
Before going in for meditation, Buddha took bath in this pond.
This pond is situated towards the west of Bodhi temple. The
pond is situated in a very attractive place and is worth
Towards North of the Bodhi Temple, is a platform with foot
impressions of Buddha. Apart from these ponds and platforms,
there are many temples built by the people of various nations
like the Tibet temple, the Japanese, the Thai, the Lankan and
the Bhutan temple. These temples are also a major attraction
for the tourists and devotees, who visit Bodh Gaya.
EXCURSION FROM BODHGAYA
57 Kms from Gaya are some earliest carved out Buddhist caves.
The interior of these caves is chiselled to a wonderful
polish. The carvings in the caves reflect the skill with which
these caves are carved out. These caves were built some where
in the 3rd century and are fine examples of the skill, which
the Indian mason had attained at that time. These caves are
believed to be of Mauryan period and considered to be the
origin of Indian cave architecture.
20 kms from Gaya is located the Sun temple of Deo. In fact,
this place is famous for the 'Chhat' festival, which is held
in the month of October-November.
The place is famous for the caves where Buddha had meditated
for some time. It was in these caves that he concluded that
the ultimate knowledge can not be attained through
mortification of the flesh. These caves are 12 kms from the
main town of Bodh Gaya.
Just 15 kms from Nalanda is located the complex of temples and
monasteries. The place is called Rajgir. It is one of the most
important tourist places in India. Being located in a valley,
Rajgir is a very scenic place.
TRAVEL INFORMATION ON BODHGAYA
HOW TO GET THERE
Air: There is no Airport and hence no direct air connection.
Rail: The Railways Department has provided Gaya, the
neighbouring city, with a number of trains which connect the
city with all the parts of India. The Rajdhani and Kalka Mail
have their stoppages here. Gaya is a junction and one can
change trains for the other train routes.
Road: Bodh Gaya is on the Grand Trunk Road and thus, is well
connected by road, with all the parts of the country.