In the heart of the ancient Kingdom of Magadha lies Bodh Gaya, one of the most sacred places of the Buddhists and the Hindus. It was here that the quest of Prince Siddharth ended after nine years of penance and of seeking the troops. It is from here that the Saga of Lord Buddha began. The Niranjan River in which Lord Buddha bathed after giving up his penance flows outside the quiet Hamlet village situated against a range of low hills.
The major places of interest for the tourists are as below:
The Bodhi Tree – At the foot of the Bodhi tree, the Sakya Muni, Gautam attained Mahapari Nirvana and became the enlightened Lord Buddha. The tree, which is seen today, is a direct descendant of the original tree under which Lord Buddha sat for years and attained the Truth he was seeking. About two centuries after Lord Buddha became the enlightened one, Emperor Ashoka sent out saplings of this tree to Sri Lanka. Later the saplings were brought from the grown tree and planted at Bodh Gaya. Besides the tree, there is a raised platform marking the spot where Lord Buddha sat in meditation.
Maha Bodhi Temple – This temple is the shrine of the Supreme enlightenment, meaning Lord Buddha. It is unique amongst the north Indian temples in having a spire instead of the usual curvilinear contours.
The four smaller towers at the basement were added later to provide balance to the original structure. Inside the shrine is a guilded image of the Lord.
Chankra Mana – Another raised platform marks the place where lord Buddha walked up and down as he pondered on whether he should reveal his knowledge to the world. This is known as his Jewel Walk.
Ratna Gar - It is a small shrine near the main temple where Lord Buddha is said to have spent a week in concentration while a ray of five different colors emanated from his body.
Tibetan Monastery – Inside this Buddhist Monastery, there is a large Dharam Chakra or the Wheel of Law. A common belief holds that if a person rotates this for complete three revolutions, his sins are forgiven.
Bodh Gaya perfectly reflects the Buddhist culture and upholds Lord Buddha’s days of penance, his teachings and beliefs, even today. His successors have kept him alive here.