Bodh Gaya, India

Elizabeth B.


Bodh Gaya is located in the southern part of the state Bihar in India. Bihar is located in the north-eastern part of India. To the west of Bodh Gaya there is a river called the Phalgy River which flows into the Ganges River.


Bodh Gaya is home to over 30,000 people, but many people from around the world (mostly Asian countries) come to Bodh Gaya to be inspired. When walking around the complex you can see many monks wearing colorful robes that are mediating under the Bodhi tree. Also monks can be seen walking around the Mahabodhi temple, making offerings to many statues, stupas and studying dharma text. In Bodh Gaya there are two major sacred places, the Bodhi Tree and the Mahabodhi Temple. There are also other temples and monasteries that have a variety of Buddhist traditions (Japanese, Tibetan, Bhutanese and others) that have been built in the area.
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Back in the 6 century a young prince was born. His name was Siddhartha Gautama. Over the years he became aware of the worlds terrible actions. At the age of 16 he married a women named Yasodhara. They had a son named Rahula. After their son was born Siddhartha left his palace and became a wondering monk. Almost 2,500 years ago he sat under what is known today as the Bodhi tree and meditated. After 49 days of meditation he had attained nirvana (wisdom). When he attained nirvana he became the Buddha and inspired billions across India about his beliefs. Today many people go to what's left of the Bodhi tree and meditated where the Buddha once did.

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Sacredness of Bodh Gaya

Bodh Gaya is sacred to many Buddhist monks because it's like the birthplace of Buddhism. The Buddha became the Buddha in Bodh Gaya that is why many people or monks go to pay their respects to the Buddha and meditate under the Bodhi tree. Also Bodh Gaya is one of the four major pilgrimage sites. A pilgrimage is like a sacred journey.

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Mahabodhi Temple

The Mahabodhi Temple was an attribute to the India Empire Asoka. The Empire visited Bodh Gaya in 250 BC long after the Buddha died. The temple today stands around 180 feet. The temple is one of the first temples built in brick that stands today. Inside the Mahabodhi temple is an image of the Buddha, sitting crossed leg and touching the earth with his right hand. The temple has great importance because it is one of the four holy sites related to the Buddha.

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Bodhi Tree

The Bodhi tree is not actually a tree it’s some type of fig called ficus religiosa or sacred fig. After the Buddha died the fig became a symbol of his presence. It also became an object of worship for many. After the Buddha died a King named Asoka had a daughter. The daughter of the King took a piece of the Bodhi Tree to Sri Lanka where it still grows today in the islands capital. The original tree was demolished by Puspyamitra and the off spring was demolished by king Sasanka in the first half of the 7th century AD. The tree in Bodh Gaya today was planted in 1881 by a British archaeologist.

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