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Bodhgaya :: City Information

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About Bodhgaya

Bodhgaya is known from its inscriptions, graffiti and to a lesser extent literary accounts of the many pilgrims who visited throughout the centuries. During the long reign of the Pala Kings of Bengal, the Mahabodhi Temple received lavish patronage, and most of the images and Stupas that can still be seen in and around the temple date from this period. Several inscriptions mention Pala Kings as having made gifts and endowments as did Kings from other parts of India.

The beginning of the thirteenth century saw much of India in chaos due to the invasion by the Turkish Empire. Invading Muslim armies destroyed temples and defaced statues. There is no record of exactly how and when Bodhgaya was destroyed, but there are records that in the onslaught the Turks put to death innumerable monks and destroyed images and shrines.

During the Turkish rule, the Mahabodhi temple fell into ruins due to deliberate destruction and neglect, and the visits of pilgrims became less and less frequent. All accounts of the temple prior to the British restoration in 1880 indicate that it was an uncared for and neglected ruin, with the ground floor and second floor chambers collapsed. An accumulation of rubbish around the temple meant that the level of the ground had reached above the niches on the outer wall.

In 1802, the Burmese sent a mission to Bodhgaya, and the British also became interested. Francis Hamilton's 1811 visit didn't yield a published report until 1836, however Alexander Cunningham was led to recommend excavations after his visit in 1861.



Places to Visit at Bodhgaya

Mahabodhi Temple

Description: Mahabodhi Temple

The main tourist attraction in Bodhgaya is the Mahabodhi temple, now declared a World Heritage Site by the UNESCO. Original Bodhi tree under which Buddha gained enlightenment had died, but the present tree is a descendant of the original tree, which was obtained from Anuradhapura in Sri Lanka, where it was taken by Sanghamitra, King Ashoka's daughter in 3rd century BC. The red sandstone slab under this tree is said to be the throne on which Buddha sat. The Mahabodhi temple stands on the 3rd-century-BC shrine, erected by Ashoka. It is intricately carved and houses a large gilded image of Buddha. The present temple has been restored to its past glory.



The Museum


The Archaeological survey of India maintains and manages this museum. there is a large collection of stone sculptures and other artifacts. Some of these date back to the stone age and Gupta period. The bronze statues in the museum are very attractive. The museum also has a small collection of Buddha Statues and pillars found in the area. 



Bodhi Sarovar


Before going in for meditation Buddha took bath in this pond. This pond is situated towards the west of Bodhi temple. The pond is very attractive place and is worth visiting.



Surya Kund


On the West of the Vishnu temple is a pond called the Surya temple. In the Hindu months of 'chaitya' (March-April) and 'Kartikya' (September-October) is held the festival of Sun God, 'Chhat' on this pond. A fair is organised on these occasions at the Kund.



How To Get To Bodhgaya

By Air:


Newly operated Gaya International Airport has now direct flights to Bangkok and Kolkata. It is expected that in the few days, there would be direct flights to New Delhi, Colombo, Singapore, and some other places in the South East Asia.



By Road:


Nearest transport hub is Gaya (13 km), a major point on historical Grand Trunk Road (connecting to New Delhi and Kolkata). touristplacesinindia is fully equipped to handle all your transport needs to Bodhgay and Buddhist Circuit with A/C, non A/C chauffeur driven comfortable cars.



By Rail:


Gaya is a major railhead, with trains to almost all the major cities of India. Annual Buddha Parikrama train is a new concept in pilgrimage tourism where the pilgrims from around the world visit all major places associated with Lord Buddha using a train with luxurious accommodation.