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Maha Bodhi Temples, Bodhgaya

Maha Bodhi Temples Overview

Situated about 13 kms from Gaya, it is one of the important places of worship for the Buddhists and is also a significant archaeological site. It is 15 metres square and rises to a height of 52 metres. There is a big statue of Lord Buddha inside with his hands touching the earth. The focal point of Bodhgaya is the Mahabodhi Temple. A high pyramidal spire crowns the Mahabodhi temple, inside which, is a large gilded image of the Buddha. The temple is believed to be standing on the site of a shrine, erected by Ashoka in the 3rd century B.C. Legend has it that the Bodhi tree growing here is the direct descendant of the original tree under which the Buddha sat, mediated and attained enlightenment. A sapling from the original tree was taken to Sri Lanka by Sanghamitra (Emperor Ashoka's daughter), when Ashoka took Buddhism to the island. A cutting of this tree was brought back to Bodhgaya, when the original tree here died. A red sand stone under the tree is said to be the Vajrasan, or diamond throne, on which the Buddha sat. The architecture of this temple is unparalleled in North India. It is believed that in the 3rd century B.C Emperor Ashoka built this temple. Chankamana- Towards North of the Bodhi Temple is a platform with foot impressions of Buddha. Apart from the ponds and platforms, there are many temples built by various nations like the Tibet temple, the Japanese, the Thai, the Lankan and the Bhutan temple. These temples are a major attraction for the tourists and devotees who visit Bodh Gaya. The 170 feet high Mahabodhi Temple stands east to the Bodhi Tree with Chatras on its top. It has been learnt that UNESCO has declared Maha Bodhi Temple at Bodh Gaya (Bihar) as a world heritage site. Animeshlocha Stupa is believed to be the place where Buddha spent one week looking towards the great Mahabodhi Tree out of gratitude, without blinking his eyes.

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