Mahabodhi Temple History
Mahabodhi temple is one of the famous Buddhist temples in India. It is a sacred place not only for Buddhists but also for Hindus. At that place, Gautama Buddha got enlightenment and remained one of the four holy places to the Buddhists. It 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 Buddhists. The western side of the complex houses the holy Maha Bodhi tree, a sacred place for Buddhists. The holy tree is 50 meters high, and its branches spread throughout the temple complex. The temple’s holiness and dense history made UNESCO declare on 27 June 2002, the place one of the World Heritage Sites.
Siddhartha’s quest for enlightenment:
According to the Buddhist scriptures, during 530 BCE, the prince Siddhartha, 29 years young, struggled a lot by looking at the sufferings in the world. He wants to search for a way that would free humans from the cycle of suffering. So one night, Siddartha Gautama left his palace, leaving everyone, including his wife and newborn son Rahula.
Since then, pri, friendly Siddhartha met several teachers to know the causes of the suffering and the end of the cycle of birth and death. Many give their owners to his questions. However, the answers didn’t satisfy him anymore. He roamed everywhere, went to dense forests and dark caves, met many teachers, listened to their preachings, practised their suggestions, analyzed their doctrines and followed the discipline. But there was no use; he liked this for six long years without taking proper food. As a result, he turned into a mere skeleton. Finally, at age 35, one day, he reached the bank of Falgu River near Gaya, where the place spread with the forest.
He looks calm; his desire for Salvation made him meditate under the Peepul(fig) tree. After three days, he got enlightenment and became a knowing Buddha. So the sacred tree was named the Mahabodhi tree in Bodhgaya. From there, Buddha started teachings and practised Dharma pada.
Ashoka built Mahabodhi Temple in Bodhgaya:
The great Maurya Emperor Ashoka was following the Buddha teachings of Dhamma Pada. He deeply became a religious person after the Kalinga war. Around 260 BCE, Emperor Ashoka built the Mahabodhi temple to honour Gautama Buddha in the sacred place where he attained enlightenment. In later years, emperor Ashoka constructed Vajrasana or the Diamond throne, representing the seat of culture made of polished sandstone. He also built a stupa in reverence of Gauthama Buddha. The entire structure of the temple was completed in the seventh century AD. Later the Pala Kings of Bengal made a black stone statue of Buddha painted with gold colour. 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.
Mahabodhi Temple is a famous and attractive place. One can come here to enjoy looking at the temple, feel happy by knowing the site’s history and be sure we can get peace of mind by worshipping God.
Mahabodhi Temple Visiting time:
Visiting this place is better from September to January. In January, the devotees and visitors crowded the Mahabodhi temple in significant scare. Summer is sweltering in this location. The auspicious occasion of Buddha Jayanti celebrates in May.
How to reach Mahabodhi Temple:
The nearest airport is Gaya, 12 km from Bodhgaya; the flights are 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 in India. The rail journey from Patna to Bodhgaya takes around 2.5 hours.
On the road:
Road connectivities are well structured from all major cities to Gaya.
Entry into the Mahabodhi Temple:
Temple is open all week. The timings are 6 am to 12 noon and 2 pm to 6.30 pm. Entry into the Mahabodhi temple complex is free. Some charges are collected for Cameras and video cameras.