Mahabodhi Temple History
Mahabodhi temple is one of the famous Buddhist temples in India. It is the sacred place for not only for Buddhists but also for the Hindus. At that place, Gautama Buddha got enlightenment and remain as 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 the Buddhists. In the western side of the complex housing the holy Maha Bodhi tree, which one also very sacred place to the Buddhists. The holy tree is 50 meters high, and its branches spread 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, the prince Siddhartha, the 29 years young struggled a lot by looking at 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, even his wife and newborn son Rahula also.
Since then prince Siddhartha met several teachers to know the causes of the sufferings and what was the end of the cycle of birth and death. Many give their own answers to his questions. However, the answers didn’t satisfy him anymore. 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 the result, he turned into a mere skeleton. Finally, at the age of 35 one day, he reached the bank of Falgu River near Gaya, where the place 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 Mahabodhi tree in Bodhgaya. From there Buddha started teachings and practiced Dharma pada.
Ashoka built Mahabodhi Temple in Bodhgaya:
The great Maurya Emperor Ashoka was following the Buddha teachings Dhamma Pada. He deeply became a religious person after the Kalinga war. 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 the 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.
Mahabodhi Temple is really a famous and attractive place. One can come here to enjoy by looking at the temple, feel happy by knowing the history of the place and sure we can get peace in mind by worshipping God.
Mahabodhi Temple Visiting time:
Visiting this place is better from September to January. In the month of January, the devotees and visitors crowded the Mahabodhi temple in large scare. Summer is very hot in this location. The auspicious occasion of Buddha Jayanti celebrates during the month of May.
How to reach Mahabodhi Temple:
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 Mahabodhi 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 collected for Camera and video cameras.