World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Bodhgaya

Article Id: WHEBN0000226057
Reproduction Date:

Title: Bodhgaya  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: History of Afghanistan, Swami Vivekananda, Ricky Martin, Kagyu, Atiśa, Timeline of Buddhism, Sarnath, List of religious sites, Indo-Greeks, Shambhala
Collection:
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Publication
Date:
 

Bodhgaya

Bodh Gaya
बोधगया
Bōdh Gayā
Town

Mahabodhi Temple
Bodh Gaya
Bodh Gaya

Coordinates: 24°41′42″N 84°59′29″E / 24.695102°N 84.991275°E / 24.695102; 84.991275Coordinates: 24°41′42″N 84°59′29″E / 24.695102°N 84.991275°E / 24.695102; 84.991275

Country India
State Bihar
District Gaya
Area
 • Total 249 km2 (96 sq mi)
Population (2011)
 • Total 38,434
 • Density 150/km2 (400/sq mi)
Languages
 • Official Magadhi, Hindi
Time zone IST (UTC+5:30)

Bodh Gaya is a religious site and place of pilgrimage associated with the Mahabodhi Temple Complex in Gaya district in the Indian state of Bihar. It is famous as the place where Gautama Buddha is said to have obtained Enlightenment (Bodhimandala).

For Buddhists, Bodh Gaya is the most important of the main four pilgrimage sites related to the life of Gautama Buddha, the other three being Kushinagar, Lumbini, and Sarnath. In 2002, Mahabodhi Temple, located in Bodh Gaya, became a UNESCO World Heritage Site.[1]

History

Pilgrimage to
Buddha's
Holy Sites
The Four Main Sites
Lumbini · Bodh Gaya
Sarnath · Kushinagar
Four Additional Sites
Sravasti · Rajgir
Sankissa · Vaishali
Other Sites
Pataliputra · Gaya · Kosambi
Kapilavastu · Devadaha
Kesariya · Pava
Nalanda · Varanasi
Later Sites
Sanchi · Mathura
Ellora · Ajanta · Vikramshila
Ratnagiri · Udayagiri · Lalitgiri
Bharhut · Barabar Caves

Buddha Gaya is the most hallowed place on earth to Buddhists the world over. Situated by the bank of river Neranjana the place was then known as Uruwela. King Ashoka was the first to build a temple here.[2]

Buddha was born 563 BC [3][4] on the following auspicious Baisakhi purnima. As Siddhartha, he renounced his family at the age of 29 his gaining enlightenment in 534 BC [5][6] and travelled and meditated in search of truth. After meditating for six years at Urubela (Buddhagaya) in Gaya, he attained Buddhatva or enlightenment. According to Buddhist traditions, circa 500 BC Prince Gautama Siddhartha, wandering as an ascetic, reached the sylvan banks of the Phalgu, near the city of Gaya. There he sat in meditation under a bodhi tree (Ficus religiosa). After three days and three nights of meditation, Siddhartha claimed to have attained enlightenment and insight, and the answers that he had sought. He then spent seven weeks at seven different spots in the vicinity meditating and considering his experience. After seven weeks, he travelled to Sarnath, where he began teaching Buddhism.

Disciples of Gautama Siddhartha began to visit the place during the full moon in the month of Vaisakh (April–May), as per the Hindu calendar. Over time, the place became known as Bodh Gaya, the day of enlightenment as Buddha Purnima, and the tree as the Bodhi Tree.

The history of Bodh Gaya is documented by many inscriptions and pilgrimage accounts. Foremost among these are the accounts of the Chinese pilgrims Faxian in the 5th century and Xuanzang in the 7th century. The area was at the heart of a Buddhist civilization for centuries, until it was conquered by Turkic armies in the 13th century. The place-name, Bodh Gaya, did not come into use until the 18th century CE. Historically, it was known as Uruvela, Sambodhi, Vajrasana or Mahabodhi.[7] The main monastery of Bodh Gaya used to be called the Bodhimanda-vihāra (Pali). Now it is called the Mahabodhi Temple.

Five bombs were detonated in Mahabodhi temple premises on July 7, 2013. 4 bombs were also detonated in town while three were defused.

Mahabodhi Temple

Main article: Mahabodhi Temple

The complex, located about 110 kilometres from Patna, at 24°41′43″N 84°59′38″E / 24.69528°N 84.99389°E / 24.69528; 84.99389,[8] contains the Mahabodhi Temple with the diamond throne (called the Vajrasana) and the holy Bodhi tree. This tree was originally a sapling of the Sri Maha Bodhi tree in Sri Lanka, itself grown from a sapling of the original Bodhi tree.

It is believed that 250 years after the Enlightenment of the Buddha, Emperor Asoka visited Bodh Gaya. He is considered to be the founder of the original Mahabodhi temple. It consisted of an elongated spire crowned by a miniature stupa and a chhatravali on a platform. A double flight of steps led up to the platform and the upper sanctum. The mouldings on the spire contained Buddha images in niches. Some historians believe that the temple was constructed or renovated in the 1st century during the Kushan period. With the decline of Buddhism in India, the temple was abandoned and forgotten, buried under layers of soil and sand.

The temple was later restored by Sir Alexander Cunningham in the late 19th century. In 1883, Cunningham along with J. D. Beglar and Dr Rajendralal Miitra painstakingly excavated the site. Extensive renovation work was carried out to restore Bodh Gaya to its former glory. It has a height of 55 metres which is able to view from a distance of 11 km.

Other Buddhist temples

Kittisirimegha of Sri Lanka, a contemporary of Samudragupta, erected with the permission of Samudragupta, a Sanghārāma near the Mahābodhi-vihāra, chiefly for the use of the Singhalese monks who went to worship the Bodhi tree. The circumstances in connection with the Sanghārāma are given by Xuanzang (Beal, op. cit., 133ff) who gives a description of it as seen by himself. It was probably here that Buddhaghosa met the Elder Revata who persuaded him to come to Ceylon.

Several Buddhist temples and monasteries have been built by the people of Bhutan, China, Japan, Myanmar, Nepal, Sikkim, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Thailand, Tibet and Vietnam in a wide area around the Mahabodhi Temple. These buildings reflect the architectural style, exterior and interior decoration of their respective countries. The statue of Buddha in the Chinese temple is 200 years old and was brought from China. Japan's Nippon temple is shaped like a pagoda. The Myanmar (Burmese) temple is also pagoda shaped and is reminiscent of Bagan. The Thai temple has a typical sloping, curved roof covered with golden tiles. Inside, the temple holds a massive bronze statue of Buddha. Next to the Thai temple is 25 meter statue of Buddha [9] located within a garden which has existed there for over 100 years.

Mahabodhi Temple Serial Blasts

On 7 July 2013 at around 5.15 a.m. a low intensity bomb blast took place in the 1500 year old Mahabodhi Temple complex. This was followed by a series of nine low intensity blasts and at least two monks are reported to be injured, one Tibetan and the other a Burmese. The serial blasts did not cause any damage to the temple or the tree under which Buddha attained enlightenment. Two other bombs, one under the 80-foot statue of Buddha and the other near Karmapa Temple were defused by the police.[10][11] Investigation of the blast was given to NIA (National Investigating Agency). Three unexploded bombs were also found in the Temple complex.

Demographics

As of 2001 India census,[12] Bodh Gaya had a population of 30,883. Males constitute 54% of the population and females 46%. Bodh Gaya has an average literacy rate of 51%, lower than the national average of 59.5%; with male literacy of 63% and female literacy of 38%. 18% of the population is under 6 years of age.

Transportation

  • Bodhgaya is about 12 km from Gaya City.The NH83 Highway connects Gaya and Bodhgaya.
  • The State Tourism Department provides travel facility from Patna to Bodh Gaya.
  • Regular train and bus service are available from Kolkata which is an overnight journey.
  • Regular AC Buses have been introduced by BSTDC between Patna - Bodhgaya via Rajgir.[13]
  • Besides, a special Caravan Service called Wonder on Wheel between Patna and Bodhgaya has been introduced by Bihar Tourism Deptt.[14]

Gaya International Airport

Located at a distance of 7 kilometres from Bodh gaya and about 10 km. from Gaya Railway Station, this air port is also known as Bodh Gaya International Airpor in India.

Images

Notes

External links

  • Bodh Gaya - Video and Photo Gallery of Bodh Gaya, and description of how the Buddha spent His seven weeks in Bodh Gaya.
  • Detailed history of Bodhgaya by Ven. S. Dhammika.
  • Photos of Mahabodhi Temple & Bodhgaya
  • Faxian (399-414 AC)
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and USA.gov, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for USA.gov and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
 
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
 
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.
 


Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.