: Bodhgaya, Bihar
Deity Worshipped : Lord Buddha
Built By : Mainly by Emperor Ashoka
Festivals Celebrated: Buddha Jayanti is celebrated in a very big way in Bodhgaya temples. The festival, celebrated on a full moon day in April/May, attracts devotees from all parts of the world. Another important festival is Nyingma Monlam Chenmo, held in January-February for about three weeks. In this festival, prayers are held for world peace. The Dalai Lama has also attended the festival on a few occasions.
Some 250 years after Buddha attained enlightenment, Emperor Ashoka visited Bodhgaya and is said to have constructed the Mahabodhi temple. Ashoka is also believed to have constructed a monastery and erected a diamond throne shrine at the seat of enlightenment. In fact, several shrines were constructed with enshrined images for use as places of worship.
The shape of the Mahabodhi temple resembles that of a pyramid. The imposing structure rises to a height of 52 metres. The basement of the temple is square with a length and breadth of 15 metres. In the four corners of the temple are towers rising to some height.
There is a very large image of Lord Buddha inside the temple. The image is in bhumisparsha mudra. The image is located exactly at the place where Lord Buddha meditated and is said to be 1700 years old.
The Bodhi tree has been surrounded by quadrangular stone railings around 0.2 metres high. There are four bars including the top piece. Each bar is distinct in style and the material used. There is also a red sandstone slab under the tree which is the same throne on which Buddha sat for meditation.
Reaching Bodhi Temples
Air : Patna airport located at a distance of 105 kms from Bodhgaya is the nearest landing facility.
Rail : Gaya is the nearest railway station at a distance of 16 kms. Gaya is a major railway station and there are trains to Gaya from many destinations of India.
Road : Buses are available to Bodhgaya from Gaya, Patna and a few other places of Bihar.