Bodh Gaya | Mahabodhi | Origin of Buddhism

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Main Budha inside Mahabodhi Temple

All About Bodh Gaya (Mahabodhi)

The center of Buddhism, Mahabodhi (Bodh Gaya) is a famous city located in the Gaya district of Bihar state, which has great historical and religious significance. Here Mahatma Buddha attained enlightenment under the Bodhi tree.

Bodhgaya is a small town in Gaya district located about 125 km southeast of Patna, the capital of Bihar.  Lord Gautam Buddha, who was doing penance under the Bodhi tree in Bodh Gaya, had attained enlightenment.  Since then this place is extremely important for the followers of Buddhism.  The city was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in the year 2002.

History of Bodh Gaya (Mahabodhi)

Lord Buddha Statue Mahabodhi temple Gaya hd image
Lord Buddha Mahabodhi Temple

Lord Gautam Buddha, who was doing penance under the Bodhi tree in Bodh Gaya, had attained enlightenment.  Since then this place is extremely important for the followers of Buddhism.  In the year 2002, the city was given world heritage by UNESCO.

Around 528 BC  In the month of Vaishakh (April-May), Prince Gautama of Kapilavastu left home in search of truth.  Gautama started meditating under this peepal tree (Mahabodhi tree) in search of knowledge.  A few days after the practice, the cloud of his ignorance receded and he attained enlightenment.  Now he was not Prince Siddhartha or ascetic Gautama but Buddha.  Buddha who was supposed to impart knowledge to the whole world.  After attaining enlightenment, he stayed at different places near it for the next seven weeks and meditated contemplating it.  After this Buddha went to Sarnath near Varanasi where he announced his enlightenment.  Buddha returned Bodh Gaya few months later. Here five of his friends along with his followers came to meet him and prayed for him to be initiated.  After initiating these people, the Buddha went to Rajgir.  After this, there is no evidence of Buddha returning here.  After this the place came to be known by the name Mahabodhi.  The term Bodhgaya dates back to the 18th century.

It is believed that the Buddha statue installed in the Mahabodhi Temple is related to the Buddha himself.  It is said that when this temple was being constructed, it was also decided to install a statue of Buddha in it.  But for a long time no craftsman could be discovered who could make an attractive sculpture of Buddha.  Suddenly one day a person came and expressed his desire to make an idol.  But for this he also kept some conditions.  It was his condition that he be given a stone pillar and a lamp.  He also had another condition, for this he should be given six months time and no one should open the door of the temple before time.  All the conditions were accepted but the bewildered villagers opened the temple door four days before the scheduled time.  Inside the temple was a very beautiful idol whose every part was attractive except the chest.  The chest portion of the idol was not yet fully cut.  After some time a Buddhist monk lived inside the temple.  Once Buddha came in his dream and said that he was the one who built the idol.  This statue of Buddha is the most revered statue in the Buddhist world.  The replica of this idol has also been installed in the temples of Nalanda and Vikramashila.

Death of Gautam Buddha

How did Gautam Buddha die? It does not have precise information or description. There are many stories about his death.

Gautam Buddha died in 483 AD in East Kushinagar. At that time he was 80 years old. Here Emperor Ashoka built a stupa, it is a pilgrimage site for Buddhists.

According to the legends, Lord Buddha died due to the poisoned food served by a person, Lord Buddha accepted the grace of eating a person's food, the food served by that person to the Buddha was poisoned, but Lord Buddha did not want to disrespect that person's love, so he consumed that food, due to which his health continued to deteriorate and he died.

Mahabodhi Temple |  Bodhgaya's main center of navigation

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Mahabodhi Temple 

Mahabodhi Vihar or Mahabodhi Temple is a famous Buddhist vihara located in Bodh Gaya. It has been declared a World Heritage by UNESCO. This vihara stands at the same place where Gautama Buddha attained enlightenment in the 6th century BCE.

This Vihar is also known as Main Vihar or Mahabodhi Vihar. The structure of this vihara is similar to the stupa established by Emperor Ashoka. A very large idol of Gautama Buddha is installed in this vihara. The statue is the state of padmasana. It is interesting to follow here that this idol is established in the same place where Gautama Buddha attained enlightenment (enlightenment). A stone carved railing is built around the Vihara. This railing is the oldest relic found in Bodh Gaya. In the south-east direction of this Vihara complex is a park rich in natural scenery where Buddhist bhikkhus meditate. Common people can enter this park only with the permission of the Vihar administration.

Diamond Throne Mahabodhi Temple hd image

Diamond Throne

In this vihara complex, seven places have also been identified where Buddha spent seven weeks after attaining enlightenment. The Bodhi tree mentioned in the Jataka tales is also here. It is a huge peepal tree which is located behind the main vihara. The Buddha attained enlightenment under this tree. The Bodhi tree at present is the fifth generation of that Bodhi tree. The sound of bells in the Vihara group in the morning provides a strange peace of mind.

In Bihar, it is known as the city of temples.  The fate of the people of this village changed on the day a prince turned down his coronation in search of the truth.  This land of Buddha's knowledge is famous today as the largest pilgrimage center for Buddhists.  Today people of all religions of the world come to visit here.  The light sound of Buddhaam-Sharanam-Gachhami amidst the chirping of birds provides unique peace.  The most famous temple here is the Mahabodhi Temple.  People of various religions and communities visit this temple in search of spiritual peace.  King Ashoka came to Bodh Gaya 250 years after the Buddha's enlightenment.  It is believed that he built the Mahabodhi Temple.  Some historians believe that the temple was built or repaired in the first century.

Bodhi Tree | Mahabodhi Tree

Mahabodhi Tree Bodh Gaya hd image download

Bodhi Tree hd image download
Bodhi tree |  Mahabodhi Tree

There is the Bodhi tree, which is a main symbol of Buddhism and has a religiously important place in Buddhism.

Seven places in the Mahabodhi Vihar complex have also been identified where Buddha spent seven weeks after attaining enlightenment.  This is the Bodhi tree mentioned in the Jataka tales.  It is a huge peepal tree which is located behind the main vihara.  The Buddha attained enlightenment under this tree.  The Bodhi tree at present is the fifth generation of that Bodhi tree.  The sound of bells in the Vihara group in the morning provides a strange peace of mind.

To the left of the Mahabodhi temple is the Bodhi tree, which is one of the main symbols of Buddhism.  It marks the place where the original Bodhi tree once used to be, under which Lord Buddha attained enlightenment.  For more than a month, Siddhartha (as Buddha was earlier called) meditated under a sacred fig tree in Bodh Gaya.  Every year on 8 December, the festival of Buddha's enlightenment under the Bodhi tree - Bodhi Day - is celebrated by Buddhist followers from all over the world.  The present Bodhi tree is probably the fifth tree of the original tree.  Beautifully carved prayer stupas, surrounded by chaityas (Buddhist prayer halls) and several statues of Lord Buddha.  Here Buddhist monks can be seen reading peacefully or sitting in meditation.  It is said that Emperor Ashoka's daughter, Sanghamitta (or Sanghamitra), took a branch of the original Bodhi tree from Bodh Gaya and planted it in the town of Anuradhapura in Sri Lanka.  That Bodhi tree is still alive and is believed to be the oldest tree in the world.  The present Bodhi tree in Bodh Gaya is believed to have grown from a plant brought from one in Sri Lanka.

Other important places in Mahabodhi

Behind the main vihara is a 7 feet high statue of Buddha in red sandstone.  This idol is in Vijarasana posture.  There are various colors around this idol, which gives a special attraction to this idol.  Emperor Ashoka is said to have installed the throne made of diamonds at this place in the third century BCE and called it the navel center of the earth.  In front of this sculpture, there are huge footprints of Buddha on brown sandstone.  These footprints of the Buddha are considered to be the symbol of Dharmachakra Enlightenment.

The Buddha spent the second week in a standing position in front of this Bodhi tree after the enlightenment.  An idol remains at this stage of the Buddha here.  This idol is called Animesh Lochan.  Animesh Lochan Chaitya is situated in the northeast of the main vihara.

The northern part of the main vihara is known as Chankamana.  It was here that Buddha spent the third week after the enlightenment.  Now there is a lotus flower made of black stone which is considered to be the symbol of Buddha.

In the north west part of Mahabodhi Vihar there is a roofless ruin known as Ratnaghara.  It was here that Buddha spent the fourth week after the enlightenment.  According to the legends, Buddha was deeply absorbed here that a ray of light emanated from his body.  These colors of light have been used by different countries in their address here.

Muchalinda Lake hd image download

Muchalinda Lake

The Buddha spent the fifth week after the enlightenment under the Ajapala-Nigrodha tree, located a little away from the northern door of the main vihara.  The Buddha spent the sixth week near the Muchalinda Lake Bodh Gaya on the right hand side of Mahabodhi Vihar.  This lake is surrounded by trees from all sides.  An idol of Buddha is installed in the middle of this lake.  In this sculpture, a huge snake is protecting the Buddha.  There is a legend about this idol.  According to this legend, the Buddha was so engrossed in prayer that he did not notice the storm coming.  When the Buddha got trapped in the torrential rain, the king of snakes, Moochalinda came out of his residence and protected the Buddha.

To the south-east of this Vihara complex is the Rajayatana tree.  The Buddha spent his seventh week under this tree after attaining enlightenment.  It was here that the Buddha met two Burmese (resident of Burma) merchants.  These merchants prayed to the Buddha for shelter.  In the form of these prayers, I recited Buddhaam Sharanam Gachhami (I go to the Buddha as refuge).  Since then, this prayer has become famous.

Other major attractions of Bodh Gaya

Two days is enough time to visit Bodh-Gaya.  If you stay there for one night then the time of one day is also sufficient.  The best time to visit Bodh Gaya is Buddha Jayanti (April-May), which is celebrated as the birthday of Prince Siddhartha.  At this time it is very difficult to get a room in hotels here.  During this time, the Mahabodhi Temple is decorated with the help of thousands of candles.  Watching this scene is a unique experience in itself.  Memories of this scene always remain in your mind.  Magadh University has its campus in Bodh Gaya itself.  There is a military cantonment near it and there is an international airport about seven kilometers from where regular weekly greats for Thailand, Sri Lanka, Burma etc.

Buddha Statue (Ratnaghara) |  Giant Buddha Bodh Gaya

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Giant Buddha

The Great Buddha Statue is an awe-inspiring sight, standing at a height of about 25 meters (80 ft).  It is also called 40 foot statue.  It is considered to be one of the largest statues of India and depicts Lord Buddha sitting on a lotus in meditation posture.  It was unveiled and anointed on November 18, 1989, and the ceremony was attended by the 14th Dalai Lama and blessed the venue.  The statue is a symbol of Bodh Gaya and pilgrims from all over the world come to see it.  It is said that this statue took seven years to build and about 120,000 masons were involved in its construction.  In 1982, the foundation stone of the statue was laid near the Mahabodhi temple.  This idol made of red granite and sandstone blocks is such that it does not detract from sight.

Tibetan Monastery Bodh Gaya

Tibetan Buddhist Temple Bodh Gaya hd image
Tibetan Monestry Bodh Gaya

The Tibetan monastery is one of the biggest attractions of Bodh Gaya tourism.  It is the oldest and largest monastery in Bodh Gaya and contains a large number of ancient Buddhist scriptures and documents.  There is a statue of Maitreya Buddha decorating the temple.  Another attraction of the Tibetan monastery at Bodh Gaya is the 10 meter high metal drum painted in gold and red.  This object is known as the wheel of Dharmachakra or law.  Within the monastery is a large library containing books on various aspects of Buddhism. Flights are available.

Indosan Nippon Japanese Temple Bodh Gaya

Built in the year 1972 with the help of international Buddhist communities, the Indosan Nippon Japanese Temple is carved out of wood and looks like a Japanese shrine.  It is an excellent example of both Japanese architecture and Buddhist culture.  Located about 15 km from the city center, it is one of the most popular temples in Bodh Gaya.  The temple was constructed to preserve and promote Buddhism and the beliefs of Lord Buddha, and on its walls are inscriptions of the Buddha's teachings.  The gallery of the temple has Japanese paintings depicting important events in the life of the Buddha.


Wat Thai Monestry Bodh Gaya

It is one of the major temples of Bodh Gaya.  This temple is very attractive.  The Thai temple Bodhgaya is known for its curved roof covered with exquisite gold tiles, a bronze statue of Buddha in the Thai monastery and another 25 meters high statue in the garden recently.

Royal Bhutanese Monastery Bodhgaya 

Royal Bhutanese Monestry Bodh Gaya hd image download

Royal Bhutanese Monestry Bodh Gaya

The Royal Bhutan Monastery is so named because it was built by the King of Bhutan as a dedication to Lord Buddha.  The interior walls of the monastery are seen with clay carvings that depict various aspects of Buddhist culture.

Chinese Temple, Bodh Gaya

The Chinese temple was built by Buddhist monks.  It displays beautiful Chinese artwork with a statue of Lord Buddha inside the sanctum sanctorum.

How to reach Bodh Gaya:

How to reach Bodh Gaya by Flight ?

The nearest airport to Bodh Gaya is Gaya which is about 17 km from Bodh Gaya city.  Though there are few flights here, it is well connected by air from Kolkata.  Thai Airways has regular flights to Gaya while Druk Air from Bangkok flies to Gaya once a week.

Apart from this, Patna Airport is well connected to other cities in India including Kolkata, Delhi, Mumbai, Ranchi, Lucknow by Indian Airlines and other domestic carriers.  For your information, let us know that Bodh Gaya is 125 km from Patna.  From outside the airport, you can book a taxi and reach the city of Bodhgaya.

How to reach Bodh Gaya by Train?

The nearest railway station of Bodh Gaya is Nearest Junction which is 13 km from here.  Trains from many states pass through this station.  You can take a taxi from outside Gaya railway station to reach Bodhgaya.  Trains like Sealdah New Delhi Rajdhani Express, Howrah Rajdhani Express, Howrah New Delhi Rajdhani Express and Kolkata Mail arrive at Gaya Station.  Bodhgaya is 110 km from Patna Junction.  There are many trains from Bangalore, Delhi, Hyderabad, Mumbai and Pune to reach Patna.

How to reach Bodh Gaya by Bus?

A main road from Gaya connects Bodhgaya city.  Bihar State Tourism Corporation's buses from Patna to Bodh Gaya run twice daily, besides deluxe buses.  Apart from Patna, bus services are also available from Nalanda, Rajgir, Varanasi and Kathmandu.  Now luxury air-conditioned Volvo buses have also started to go to Bodh Gaya from the surrounding cities.

Where to stay in Bodh Gaya?

There is no shortage of good hotels and guest houses for your stay in Bodh Gaya.  Being an international tourist destination, every kind of hotel is available here.  But booking a room in the peak season is more beneficial.  There are both AC and non AC hotels and guesthouses.  There are many hotels in front of the park from the Mahabodhi Temple where there is a better stay and food facility for the tourists.

Famous International Tourist Destination nearby


Those coming to Bodh Gaya must also visit Rajgir.

Rajgir, 70 km from Bodh Gaya, is also an international tourist destination.  It is also an important site for Bodh Dharma.




Historically, Rajgir has had a very important place in Jainism as the capital of many empires.  The main tourist attractions include the ancient city walls of Ajatshatru period, Bimbisara prison, Jarasandha arena, Krishna's chariot wheel sign, Rajgir hot spring / Brahmakund, Gridhkut mountain ('mountain of vultures'), Son Bhandar caves.  / Swarna Bhandar, Ropeway and Vishwa Shanti Stupa.

The main tourist attractions include the ancient city walls from Ajatshatru's period, the Bimbisar's Jail, Jarasandh's Akhara, The Krishna Charriot wheel mark, Rajgir Hot Spring / Brahmakund, Gridhra-kuta, ('Hill of the Vultures'), Son Bhandar Caves & Vishva  Shanti Stupa & Ropeway.

The Vishwa Shanti Stupa here is quite attractive.  This stupa is built on Gridharkoot Hill.  There is a ropeway to go on it.  Its fee is Rs 80.  is.  You can see it from 8 am to 1 pm.  After this it can be seen from 2 pm to 5 pm.

Venu is Van near Shanti Stupa.  It is said that Buddha once came here.

Prasadhi Saptaparni Cave is located in Rajgir itself where the first Buddhist conference was organized after Buddha's Nirvana.  This cave is 1000 steps up the hot water reservoir south of Rajgir bus stop.  Apart from all this, the arena of Jarasandha in Rajgir, Swarna Bhandar (both sites belong to the Mahabharata period) and Viratan are also places to visit.  Best time to visit: in the frosty season


This place is located at a distance of 13 km from Rajgir.  The world famous Nalanda University was established here in ancient times.  Now only the remains of this university are visible.  But recently, it has been announced by the Government of Bihar to establish an international university here, whose work is in progress.  There is also a museum here.  In this museum, the items found in the excavation from here are kept.




The famous Jain pilgrimage place Pavapuri is located 5 kilometres from Nalanda.  This place is related to Lord Mahavira.  Mahavira is a grand temple here.  It must be visited when Nalanda-Rajgir arrives.


Mobile cameras are not allowed inside the Mahabodhi temple due security reasons.

Other Cameras and Handicam are allowed at a nominal fee. 

Loaction of Mahabodhi Temple

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