Bodhgaya or Bodh Gaya is a city in Gaya district in the Indian state of Bihar. It is famous for being the place of Buddha's attainment of Enlightenment.
Historically, it was known as the Bodhimanda (ground round the Bodhi-tree), and there was a large monastic settlement there. The main monastery of Bodhgaya used to be called the Bodhimanda-vihara (Pali). Now it is called the Mahabodhi Temple.
For Buddhists, Bodh Gaya is the most important of the main four pilgrimage sites related to the life of Gautama Buddha, the other three being Kushinagar, Lumbini, and Sarnath. In 2002, Mahabodhi Temple, located in Bodh Gaya, became a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Gautama Siddhartha spend three days under the bodhi tree after which he received Enlightenment during the full moon, this day is celebrated as the Buddha Poornima. After receiving Enlightenment under the bodhi tree, Gautama Siddhartha went to Sarnath near Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh which is another important pilgrimage travel site for Buddhists where he gave his first lecture.
Temple - It
is believed that King Asoka The Great built this temple at the exact place
where Gautama Buddha mediated and received Enlightenment. The original
Mahabodhi Temple was destroyed by the Muslims but was restored in 1880. The
pyramid shaped Mahabodhi Temple features a 50 meter high tower. The temple is
pilgrimage place for Buddhists and Hindus as well.
Great Buddha Statue - Also called Vajrasana, this 80 feet high statue of Lord Gautama Buddha is major attraction in Bodh Gaya. The Great Buddha Statue is in the meditation posture. The Great Buddha Statue was made of sandstone and red granite. The statue was consecrated by the Dalai Lama in 1989.
Dungeswari Caves - The mysterious Dungeswari Caves are located 12km from the Bodh Gaya. There are several statues, painting and stone carvings of Lord Gautama Buddha at the Dungeswari Caves. These statues and paintings tells the story of Gautama Buddha during this life of austerity.
Bodhi Tree - Under the Bodhi Tree, Gautama Buddha received the Enlightenment and went on to found the Buddhism. Although the original tree died several years ago. The sapling from the original Bodhi Tree that was taken from the Sri Lanka. The daughter of Emperor Asoka The Great took the branch of original Bodhi Tree and planted it in Anuradhapura in Sri Lanka. Under the Bodhi Tree is the red sandstone slab on which Gautama Buddha sat on.
Bodhi Sarovar - The Bodhi Sarovar is a pond where Gautama Buddha used to take bath before going for meditation. This pond has a significant importance for the Buddhists.
Chankaramana - According to the legend, after receiving eternal knowledge, Gautama Buddha was in dilemma to whether share it with the world or not. While thinking on the issue Lord Buddha started walking and wherever he put his feet lotuses sprang up. The Chankaramana is located near the Bodhi temple.
Archaeological Museum - The Archaeological Museum in Bodh Gaya exhibits sculptures related to Buddhist religion. There are two galleries in the museum. The first gallery exhibits sculptures like Yakshi figure, crowned Buddha, standing image of Majusri etc. The second gallery exhibits sculpture related to Buddhist and Brahmanical faith like Sapta matrika, Dasavatara of Lord Vishnu.
Bodhgaya Multimedia Museum - The museum showcase historical and geographical context of Lord Buddha;s life through Multimedia films and 3D animations. The Bodhgaya Multimedia Museum is located near the Mahabodhi temple.