Mahabodhi Temple, Gaya
Buddhism has a unique significance among all religions, and Mahabodhi Temple is considered the holiest site because this is the place where Buddha attained the enlightenment.
The temple is located in Bodh Gaya, a central state of Bihar of northwest India. Situated at the banks of Niranjana River, Bodhgaya temple marks the enlightenment of Siddhartha Gautama as well as the place of Bodhi tree under which, Buddha used to meditate.
Mahabodhi Tree as UNESCO World Heritage Site
It is one of the oldest brick temples in India. The original structure was built by Mauryan emperor named Ashoka, but it was later replaced, rebuilt, and restored.
A descendant of the same Bodhi Tree resides adjacent to the Mahabodhi Temple. In 2002, this temple was included in UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites in India and had been protected and maintained since then.
Legend about the Bodhi Tree
The fig tree named Bodhi tree is present at the temple, and it has a unique significance for the people of Bodh Gaya. It is said that if this tree was not present at the location; no trees, plants, or even grass would grow at Bodhgaya.
History of Mahabodhi Temple
The Mahabodhi Temple has an impressive architecture today but was not like this since the start. It was once restored by Britishers, after being built by Emperor Ashoka.
The Muslims rulers had also destroyed the major part of the temple. This one is not the original fig tree where Buddha used to meditate, as King Ashoka’s wife destroyed the original tree after noticing his obsession with Buddha.
Best Time to Visit
The best time to visit the temple is from 5 a.m. to 9 p.m. A meditation park is also situated there which remain open from sunrise to sunset. A 30 minute chanting session also takes place daily at 5 a.m. and 6 p.m.
Code of Conduct
Visitors prefer the temple because of the peaceful and serene environment, which is perfect for meditation. That is the reason why cell phones, electronic devices and other baggage is not allowed inside the temple.
Entry fee and charges
There is no entry fee to visit the temple, but visitors who wish to click pictures need to pay 100 INR as camera charges. They need to pay 300 rupees to take video cameras inside the premise. There is a small entry fee for the meditation park.
Things to visit near Mahabodhi Temple
1. Bodhi Tree
2. Thai Monastery
3. Chinese Temple
4. Archaeological Society of India, Museum
5. Great Buddha Statue
6. Dungeshwari Hills
7. Apr City Centre
How to Reach the Mahabodhi Temple?
By Air – The nearest airport, Gaya, is only 17 km from the temple.
By Rail – The nearest railway station, Gaya that connects the temple to other parts of India is 16 km away.
By Road – Gaya is a part of the Patna city and is only 112 km from the capital Patna.
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