BODHGAYA PACKAGE

Place of Enlightenment

A place where Lord Buddha left his foot steps nearly 2500 years ago while travelling in the quest of enlightenment, situated by the river Phalgu, Bodhgaya is one of the most important and sacred Buddhist pilgrimage center in the world. It was here under a banyan tree, the Bodhi Tree, Gautama attained supreme knowledge to become Buddha,the Enlightened One. The serenity of the atmosphere remains in the subconscious soul of any visitor who takes the village as a pilgrimage that the Lord himself had chosen for meditation.

There is a magnificent Mahabodhi temple and the Tree from the original sapling still stands in the temple premises. The temple is an architectural amalgamation of many centuries, cultures and heritages. While its architecture has a distinct stamp of the Gupta era, it has later ages inscriptions describing visits of pilgrims from Sri Lanka, Myanmar and China between 7th and 10th century AD. It is perhaps still the same temple Hieuen Tsang visited in 7th century.

List of Foreign Monasteries situated at Bodhgaya, Bihar

Three hundred years before Alexandria was founded, about the time that Thales, the most ancient philosopher of Europe was teaching in Greece, that water is the origin of all things, the soul of the world; and Zoroaster, in Media or Persia, was systematizing the fire-worship of the Magi; and Confucius in China, was calling on the teeming multitudes around him to offer the guardian spirits and the manes of their ancestors; and Nebuchadnezzar was setting up his golden image in the plains of Dura; and Daniel was laboring in Babylon to establish the worship of the true God in Judea; a reverend sage who had left a throne for philosophy, was traveling from Bodhgaya to Benares, and from Benares to Kanouj, exhorting the people against theft, falsehood, adultery, killing, and intemperance.

In the year 563 B. C. on the Full Moon Day of V aisakha in the kingdom of Kapilavastu a young prince was born to King Suddhodana and Queen Mahamaya in the royal Lumbini grove under a Sal Tree. On the fifth day of his birth he was named ‘Siddhartha' and on the seventh day his mother expired. Prajapati Gautami, the younger sister of Mahamaya, who also was his step-mother, took care of the young child like any other mother would do. During the formative years of Prince Siddhartha, he received his early education and was trained in warfare and administration but he was often found immersed in deep - thoughts regarding the suffering and miseries of humanity. He was opposed to exploitation of man by man, inequality, poverty, violence, class and caste system. When he attained the age of sixteen he was married to a very beautiful and charming Princess Yashodhara, daughter of the Koliya King Dandapani of Devadaha.

When Siddhartha was 29 Years old Yashodhara gave birth to a beautiful son named Rahula and this he termed as another impediment to keep him attached to worldly life. He left his palace leaving behind his parents, his beautiful wife and the new born Rahula in search of a way that would free mankind or humanity from the cycle of suffering. Since then Prince Siddhartha who became a parivrajaka wandered forth to several teachers in search of the Truth that would end the cycle of birth and death. He went to dense forests and dark caves, and met many teachers, practised penance and self- mortification and studied their doctrines and disciplines but all these were not sufficient to satisfy him for what he earnestly sought for and he practiced these severe austerities for six long years without taking food nor drink and as a result of which he turned into a mere skeleton.

Realizing that the practice of severe austerities would lead him to death he left his friends and came to the east bank of the river Niranjana where he was offered Kheer (rice-pudding = rice cooked with milk and sugar) by Sujata, daughter of the chief of the village Senani. Accepting the dâna (offer) of Sujata he crossed river Niranjana and came to Uruvela on the same day and in the evening he prepared a seat of kusa grass and sat beneath the peepal tree facing eastwards. The Bodhisattva Siddhartha who was determined to reach the truth started his fight against Mara, the Evil One sitting for meditation with a strong determination (adhitthâna) that unless and until he cannot find out the truth he would not get up from the seat, come what may.

The sacred Bodhi Tree
The sacred Bodhi tree - the shades under which the Siddhartha Gautama meditated and attained Enlightenment on the full Moon day of Vaisakh Purnima (May month). This peepal tree’s botanical name is ficus religiosa. It was under this tree that the Buddha spent the first week in meditation after attaining Enlightenment. The present tree is probably the fifth succession of the original tree which was earlier destroyed several times by man-made misery and natural calamities.

Vajrasana
Vajrasana or the Diamond Throne is the seat of the Buddha’s Enlightenment. Built in the 3rd century B.C. by Emperor Asoka, it is made of red sand stone. Venerable Ashwaghosa in his Buddhacarita reveals that this is the Navel of the Earth. Fa-Hien mentions that all the past Buddhas attained Enlightenment here and the future Buddhas too will attain the enlightenment on this spot.

Animesha Lochana Chaitya
Situated on the north east of the Mahabodhi Temple, this is the place where the Buddha spent the second week in meditation in standing posture gazing at the Bodhi Tree with motionless eyes for one whole week.

Cankamana
This is the place where the Buddha spent the third week in meditation practicing the walking meditation, otherwise, called the Cankamana or the cloister walk. The raised platforms with lotus flowers mark the spot where the Buddha kept his feet while walking.

Ratanaghara
The Ratanaghara or the Jewel House is the place where the Buddha spent the fourth week in meditation. Situated in the north-west of the Temple, the Buddha meditated here reflecting on the Patthana or the Law of Dependent Origination. A ray of six colours was said to have emanated from his body during that period and the Buddhists have designed their flag based on these colours.

Ajapala Nigrodha Tree
The pillar marks the spot where the tree once stood marking the place where the Buddha spent the fifth week in meditation after his attainment of Enlightenment and delivered a discourse on the equality of mankind.

Muchalinda Sarovar
The place where the Buddha spent the sixth week in meditation after his Enlightenment. While the Buddha was in meditation, a severe thunder storm broke out and seeing the Buddha getting drenched, the snake king of the Lake called Muchalinda came out of his abode and protected the Buddha with his hood from the violent wind and rains.

Rajayatna Tree
Situated in the south of the Temple, this is the tree under which the Buddha spent a week in meditation. It is said that two merchants from Burma (presently Myanmar) named Tapassu and Bhallika while passing this way offered rice cake and honey to the Buddha and took refuge in the Buddha and His teachings ‘Buddham Saranam Gachami, Dhammam Saranam Gachami’ but they could not take refuge in the Sangham because the Sangha was not constituted then, thus they became the first lay devotees in the Buddhist world.

Meditation Park
The park situated at the south-east of the temple is newly developed as a Meditation park. It has facilities for meditation huts, congregation and discussion courts and two huge prayer bells and two water fountains besides a lotus pond.

Air - The nearest airport is at Gaya 7 Kms. Various National and international carriers brings passenger to this destination.

Rail - Gaya (16 km) is the nearest railhead.

Road - Well connected by roads to Gaya (17 kms), Nalanda (96 kms), Rajgir (80 kms), Patna (105 km), Varanasi (243 km), Calcutta (493 kms)

THE GREAT BUDDHA STATUE (80 feet Statue)

The construction of the eighty (80) feet high Buddha statue was completed and its unveiling ceremony was performed by His Holiness the Dalai Lama on the 18th November, 1989.

The great Buddha statue was designed in Japan and its one fourth size model was prepared by an Indian artist of Calcutta. This statue’s interior construction is of concrete pillars and several cells inside where more than 20 thousand small bronze Buddhas have been enshrined. This Great statue, however symbolises the greatness of the Buddha Dhamma as followed by his disciples. At present this statue is the highest Buddha Statue in India.

CHINESE TEMPLE

An example of exquisite art and architecture, the Wat Thai, Bodhgaya stands two furlong west of the Mahabodhi Mahavihara.

In course of cultural contact between India and Thailand, the then Prime Minister of India Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru invited the Royal Government of Thailand to build a monastery to commemorate the 2500 years of Buddhism. Accordingly, His Majesty the King of Thailand, on behalf of the people of Thailand, built the Wat-Thai (Thai Monastery) Bodhgaya in 1957.

SUJATA-KUTI (Sujata Gadh)

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BURMESE VIHARA (MYANMAR BUDDHIST TEMPLE)

The present Burmese Vihara is located 1 kilometres north of the Mahabodhi Temple on the banks of the river Niranjana on the Bodhgaya-Gaya road and was founded by Ven. Nandamala in the year 1936.

The monastery consists of two worship halls, each containing the statue of Lord Buddha. Besides, there is also a newly constructed meditation Hall and a spacious guest house for the use of pilgrims.

TIBETAN MONASTERY

This monastery represents the Mahåyåna sect of Buddhism and is one of the biggest monasteries at Bodhgaya, where Tibetan monks reside. It was founded by Lama Kanpo- Ngawang Samten in 1934. The monastery exists at about 100 metres away west of the Mahabodhi Mahavihara. Its architectural style is very unique as it has been influenced with Tantrayåna Buddhist Art & Paintings. A “Dharmachakra-Wheel”, very big in size is located on the ground floor measuring about two hundred quintals. It is believed that if rotated one may get remission from their committed sins.