Mahabodhi Temple, Bodhgaya

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The Mahabodhi Temple is a Buddhist temple in Bodhgaya, the location where Siddhartha Gautama, the Buddha, attained enlightenment. Next to the temple, to its western side, is the holy Bodhi tree. The site of the Bodhi tree at Bodhigaya is, according to the Buddhist commentarial scriptures, the same for all Buddhas. And in the case of Gautama Buddha, his Bodhi tree sprang up on the day he was born.

The present bodhi tree is a descendant of the original, for the tree has been destroyed deliberately on at least three occasions. King Asoka, initially hostile to Buddhism, ordered it to be cut down and burned on the spot, but when the tree sprang up anew from the flames his attitude was transformed.

The Bodhi Tree - a descendent from the original tree under which Buddha gained Enlightenment

About 250 years after the Buddha attained Enlightenment, Buddhist King Asoka visited Bodh Gaya with the intention of establishing a monastery and shrine. As part of the temple, he built the diamond throne (called the Vajrasana), attempting to mark the exact spot of the Buddha’s enlightenment. Asoka is considered the founder of the Mahabodhi Temple. The present temple dates from the 5th–6th century. It is one of the earliest Buddhist temples built entirely in brick that is still standing in India, and in June 2002, the Mahabodhi Temple became a UNESCO World Heritage Site, specifically nominated for the international World heritage program.

Ornate carvings adorn the walls of the Mahabodhi Temple

The main attraction for pilgrims at Bodhiaya is the Vajrasana and the other six locations where the Buddha had stayed. Another attraction was the Mahabodhi Image, a statue in the Mahabodhi Temple that was believed to be an exact likeness of the Buddha himself.

The Buddha statue at Mahabodhi Temple, said to be the closest existing likeness of the Buddha himself

Pilgrims abound in Bodhgaya and in recent years thousands have had the fortune to listen to the Dharma there. Many Buddhist masters are again travelling to Bodhgaya to turn the wheel of Dharma. For example, the Kalachakra empowerment given by His Holiness in 1974 was attended by over 100,000 devotees.

For more information about tours to Bodhgaya, please contact discovery@kechara.com or call +603 7803 3546.

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