By Swami Harshananda
Sometimes transliterated as: Bodh-gaya, Bodh-gayA, Bodh-gayaa
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.
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.
- Gayā is a well-known place of pilgrimage
- The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore