Bodh-gayā

From Hindupedia, the Hindu Encyclopedia

By Swami Harshananda

Sometimes transliterated as: Bodh-gaya, Bodh-gayA, Bodh-gayaa


Bodh-gayā literally means ‘Gayā where Buddha attained bodhi or enlightenment’.

Bodh-gayā or Buddha-gayā is one of the most holy places of pilgrimage for the Buddhists and is where the prince Siddhārtha Gautama attained ‘bodhi’ or spiritual enlightenment and became the Buddha.

It is ten kilometers (6.5 miles) from Gayā[1]. The chief attractions are the Bodhi tree also known as the Bodhivrkṣa (a peepul tree) and a Buddha temple.

An edict of Aśoka is found in a cave nearby. The Buddhist Vihāra mentioned within it does not exist now and remnants can be found near the Bodhi tree. Hiuen Tsang (7th cent. A. D.) had visited this place and has left a nice description of the same.

Budha temple

The temple is 15 meters (50 ft.) square and 48 meters (160 ft.) tall and contains a beautiful image of Buddha along with Māyādevī (Buddha’s mother).

Though tradition ascribes the building of this temple to Aśoka (272-232 B. C.), the present one is likely to have been built after the 7th century A.D. and altered several times. It is also possible that the existing structure was rebuilt in the 19th century.

References

  1. Gayā is a well-known place of pilgrimage
  • The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore