Under the Bodhi tree at Bodhgaya, Prince Gautama attained
enlightenment and became the Buddha. This is the holiest
of Shrines for Buddhists. The Mahabodhi temple, is where
Emperor Ashoka, a convert, erected a shrine near the
Bodhi tree. This is a 54 m high pyramidal spire with
a square cross-section and four smaller spires. There
is a gilded image of the Buddha, signifying enlightenment.
There is an ornately carved stone railing, believed
to have been erected by Ashoka. There is the Vajrasila,
a red sandstone slab, under the tree, where Gautama
meditated. There are now many temples from various countries
in Bodh Gaya - the Japanese, with Gold images of the
Buddha, the Tibetan complex, the Bhutan Temple, Thai,
and the Chinese, which has an enormous, revolving prayer
Access: It is 184 kms from Patna & is connected
This contains the ruins of the world's oldest university.
This was also a place where the Buddha and Mahavira
stayed and preached. The remains of 11 monasteries and
several Chaityas, built over a period of time, in red
brick stone have been excavated, as well as a large
stairway, a library, lecture halls, dormitories, cells,
ovens and wells. Buildings were multi-storied and multi-tiered,
built on massive terraces of solid brick, decorated
with Buddhist and Hindu divinities and warriors, dancers,
musicians, animals and birds.
Access: it is well connected by road to Patna.
A sacred place for both the Buddhists and Jains. There
is Gridhakuta, where the Buddha, converted a Magadhan
King. Also worth visiting is Saptaparni Cave, where
the first Buddhist council was held. The Pippala Stone
House or Machan is a huge structure, with cells around
it. At Maniyar Math is an old Jain Shrine. Then there
is Venuvara, the bamboo grove, where the Buddha meditated.
The Jivakamanana Monastery is of interest, since it
was one of the Buddha's favourite retreat.
MAHA BODHI TEMPLE
The architecture of this temple is unparalleled in
North India. It is believed that in the 3rd century
B.C emperor Ashoka built this temple. The canopy structure
of this temple is very different and attractive from
temples usually found in North India. To maintain the
balance of the main tower there are four smaller towers.
The king of Lanka, Meghvarn had constructed a monastery
towards the North of the Bodhi tree. This construction
was done during the period of Samudragupta. In the 12th
century the fierce attack of the Muslim invaders had
destroyed the temple completely.
In 1876 the ruler of Burma in agreement with the British
government of India had rebuilt the temple on the remains
of the older structure. The Mahabodhi temple has a huge
Idol of Buddha in the 'bhumisparsa mudra'. The temple
is surrounded by a small pillars and delicate lattice
work. These are a major attraction for the tourist who
visit the place