Bodh Gaya The Place Gauthama enlightenment:
The Mahabodhi Temple in Bodh Gaya was a very famous temple not only for Buddhists but also to the Hindus. At that place, only Gautama Buddha got enlightenment and remain as one of the four holy places to the Buddhists. Bodh Gaya is located in Gaya District, which is about 96 Km away from the state capital Patna, in Bihar, India. This holy place is most sacred to the Buddhists. In the western side of the complex housing the holy Maha Bodhi tree, which one also very sacred place to the Buddhists. Gauthama Buddha meditated by sitting under the same tree. This is in 50 meters high, and its branches are spreads all over the complex of the temple. The holiness and the dense history of the temple made UNESCO declared on 27 June 2002, the place as one of the World Heritage Sites.
Siddhartha’s quest for enlightenment:
According to the Buddhist scriptures, during 530 BCE, 29 years young prince struggled a lot by looking the sufferings in the world. He wants to search a way that would free the humans from the cycle of sufferings. So one night Siddartha Gautama left his palace leaving everyone in the palace, even his wife and newborn son Rahula also.
Since then prince Siddhartha met several teachers to know the causes of the sufferings and what is the end of the cycle of birth and death. But there was now answer which satisfied him. He roamed everywhere, went to dense forests and dark caves, and met many teachers, listen to their preachings, practiced their suggestions, analyzed their doctrines and followed the discipline. But there was no use, he did like this for six long years without taking proper food, as a result, he turned into a mere skeleton. Finally at the age of 35 one day he reached the bank of Falgu River near Gaya. The area was spread with the forest. It seems him very calm, his desire for Salvation made him meditate under the Peepul(fig) tree. After three days he got enlightenment and became Buddha, which means all knowing one. So the sacred tree was named as the Bodhi tree. From there Buddha started teachings and practiced Dharma pada.
Ashoka built Mahabodhi Temple:
The great Maurya Emperor Ashoka was following the Buddha teachings Dhamma Pada. He deeply became a religious person. Around 260 BCE, Emperor Ashoka built the Mahabodhi temple to honor Gautama Buddha in the sacred place where he attained enlightenment. Later years, emperor Ashoka constructed Vajrasana or the Diamond throne, representing the seat of enlightenment, made of polished sandstone. He also built a stupa in reverence of Gauthama Buddha. The total structure of the temple was completed in seventh century AD. Later the Pala Kings of Bengal made a black stone statue of Buddha painted with gold color. Here Lord Buddha seated in earth witness posture, touching the earth with the tip of His right hand, is the central attraction of the complex.
This is really a famous and attractive place, one can come here to enjoy by looking the temple, feel happy by knowing the history of the place and sure we can get peace in mind by worshipping the God.
Visiting time to Bodh Gaya:
Visiting this place is better from September to January. January month is crowded with many devotees and visitors. Summer is very hot in this location. The auspicious occasion of Buddha Jayanti celebrates during the month of May.
How to reach Bodh Gaya:
The nearest airport is Gaya, which is 12 km away from Bodhgaya, the flights are quite infrequent from Kolkata. There are flights from Patna also. Only 140 km away from Gaya. Patna airport has connectivity from all major cities of India.
The nearest railway station is Gaya, which is very well connected with other cities of India. The rail journey from Patna to Bodhgaya takes around 2.5 hours.
Road connectivities are well structured from all major cities to Gaya.
Entry into the Temple:
Temple is open all week. The timings are in the morning 6 am to 12 noon and 2 pm to 6.30 pm. Entry into the Mahabodhi temple complex is free. Some charges are collect for Camera and video cameras.