Bodh Gaya Things to Do

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  • Things to Do
    by Willettsworld
  • Things to Do
    by Willettsworld

Most Recent Things to Do in Bodh Gaya

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    Railings

    by Willettsworld Written Jul 25, 2007
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    The Mahabodhi Temple is surrounded on all four sides by stone railings, about two metres high. Parts of the intricately carved railings to the south and west of the temple are ancient and date to about 150 BC and are made from sandstone. Others are constructed from granite and are believed to date from the 3rd-6th centuries. Some of the railings are original and parts are reproductions. The older railings have scenes such as Lakshmi, the Hindu goddess of wealth, being bathed by elephants; and Surya, the Hindu sun god, riding a chariot drawn by four horses. The newer railings have figures of stupas and eagles. Parts of the original railings can be found in the nearby museum.

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    After enlightenment

    by Willettsworld Written Jul 25, 2007

    After attaining enlightenment, Buddha spent seven weeks in the area of the Bodhi tree. The first week he spent sitting under the tree. The second week he spent looking at the tree from the Animeshlochana Stupa, a spot now marked by a small white temple to your right as you enter the gate of the Mahabodhi temple. Animeshlochana means “the place of unwinking gazing.” There are signs dotted around the complex which detail what Buddha did when and where he did it.

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    Bodhi tree

    by Willettsworld Written Jul 25, 2007

    The Bodhi Tree here, behind the temple, is said to be a descendent of the tree under which Buddha attained enlightenment. Emperor Ashoka’s daughter (Sanghamitta) carried a sapling of the original Bodhi (pipal) tree under which the Buddha sat to Sri Lanka. That tree is at Anuradhapura in Sri Lanka. A cutting from that tree was planted in Bodhgaya when the original tree died. Under the tree is a red sandstone slab said to be the Vajrasana, diamond throne, upon which Buddha sat and attained nirvana. The tree is located behind the temple and is about 24m (80 ft) high and 125 years old.

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    Lotus pond

    by Willettsworld Written Jul 25, 2007
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    By the northern wall of the compound is the Lotus Pond, called Mucalinda Lake (abode of the snake king). Buddha is said to have spent the sixth week in meditation here. There is a life-sized Buddha covered by a cobra. A cobra is said to have saved Buddha from drowning while he was in deep meditation. This pond is full of beautiful lotus flowers. In front of the pond are the remains of an Ashoka pillar, which is now about 6m (20 ft) high.

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    Mahabodhi Temple

    by Willettsworld Updated Jul 25, 2007
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    The Mahabodhi Temple (meaning "Great Awakening Temple") is the location where the location where Siddhartha Gautama, the Buddha, attained enlightenment under a Bodhi tree some 2,500 years ago. In approximately 250 BC, about 250 years after the Buddha attained Enlightenment, Buddhist Emperor Asoka visited Bodh Gaya with the intention of establishing a monastery and shrine. As part of the temple he built, the diamond throne (called the Vajrasana), attempting to mark the exact spot of the Buddha's enlightenment, was established. Asoka is considered the founder of the Mahabodhi Temple. The current temple structure dates back to the 6th century AD but was razed in the 11th century by invading Muslim armies. The temple was restored several times over the centuries, the last of which occured in 1882 under the direction of Sir Alexander Cunningham.

    The temple is constructed of brick and is one of the oldest brick structures to have survived in eastern India. It's considered to be a fine example of Indian brickwork and was highly influential in the development of later architectural traditions. According to UNESCO, of which it now holds World Heritage status, the present temple is "one of the earliest and most imposing structures built entirely in brick from the late Gupta period”. The main spire is 54m (177ft) high and inside features a large gilded image of Buddha. The temple is also holy to Hindu's as Buddha is believed to be the ninth incarnation of Vishnu. More photo's can be found in one of my travelogues.

    Open: 5am-9pm. Admission is free. Stills camera charge is Rs20.

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    Bhutanese Monastery

    by Willettsworld Written Jul 25, 2007
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    This is probably the closest I'll ever get to Bhutan. The temples interior features three Buddha statues and is beautifully decorated with paintings. The buildings outside represent Bhutanese architecture that I remember seeing from Michael Palin's Himalayan TV series when he visited the country. However, I don't think they have palm trees there!

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    Indosan Nipponji (Japanese) Temple

    by Willettsworld Written Jul 25, 2007
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    This was my favourite temple out of all the ones in Bodh Gaya apart from the Mahabodhi Temple of course! Its roof is shaped like a pagoda and inside are two huge paintings of crowds that are looking towards the main central buddha statue on the altar.

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    Great Buddha Statue

    by Willettsworld Written Jul 25, 2007
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    At the end of Temple Road lies this 25 metre high Buddha statue that was unveiled by his Holiness the Dalai Lama on the 18th November 1989. The statue itself is made out of blocks of pink sandstone and stands on a lotus flower on top of a pedestal that are made out of yellow sandstone and red granite. The statue is flanked by ten chief disciples of Buddha which were erected in 1996.

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    Daijokyo Buddhist Temple

    by Willettsworld Written Jul 25, 2007
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    The next temple along on Temple St towards the Big Buddha statue is this, the Japanese Daijokyo Buddhist Temple. It was inaugurated by H.E. Shri Giani Zail Singh, a former President of India on the 13th February 1983. Outside the temple in the garden lie dozens of lanterns.

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    Karma Temple

    by Willettsworld Updated Jul 25, 2007
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    This Tibetan temple on Temple St near the Big Buddha statue in beautifully decorated inside and out. The exterior features wonderful wall paintings as does the inside which chart Buddha's life including his enlightenment at Bodh Gaya. Well worth a visit and more photos can be found in one of my travelogues.

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    Thai Monastery

    by Willettsworld Written Jul 25, 2007
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    The Thai Temple is the best of the temples architecturally as it has a typical sloping, curved roof covered with golden tiles. Inside, the temple holds a massive and spectacular bronze statue of Buddha. It really took me back to my visit to Bangkok a few years ago. The temple was built in 1957, to mark 2500 years of Buddha, by the Jing of Thailand. More photos can be found in one of my travelogues.

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    Archaeological Museum

    by Willettsworld Written Jul 24, 2007

    This small museum opened in 1956 and exhibits stone sculptures of Buddhist and Hindu faiths as well as figures of Buddha. The main exhibit are four of the original sculpted stone railings that used to surround the Mahabodhi Temple that date from the 2nd century BC.

    Open: 10am - 5pm. Closed on Fridays. Admission: Rs2 for all.

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    Chinese Shechen Monastery

    by Willettsworld Written Jul 24, 2007
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    Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche (1910-1991) planned to construct a monastery of the Nyingma School in Bodhgaya so that its rich tradition would also be present here. Accordingly, in 1996, a monastery complex was built under the direction of Shechen Rabjam Rinpoche and with the participation of dedicated volunteers and donors. The statue of Buddha in the Chinese Temple is 200 years old and was brought from China. More photos can be found in one of my travelogues.

    Open: 6am-12pm and 2pm-6pm.

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    Namgyal (Tibetan) Monastery

    by Willettsworld Written Jul 24, 2007

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    If you never get the chance to go to Tibet then this monastery and temple allows you to sample what the country has to offer with its beautiful colourful wall paintings and large prayer wheels (Dharma Chakra or Wheel of law). It is believed that an aspirant will be freed of sin if he or she spins the wheel three times in succession from left to right. The wheel is a 10m (33 ft) high metal drum painted gold and red. The abbot Ven. Ngawang Samten built Gandhen Phelgyeling Bodhgaya Monastery on the 3rd of February, 1938. He built this monastery with the intention of giving his most sincere service to the progress of the Buddha Dharma. He sought help from the government of Tibet and worked hard for many years gathering offerings and material supplies from India and the Kham province in eastern Tibet. He built the monastery, providing it with all the sacred images and holy texts. The primary image of Lord Maitreya stands 13 feet tall. Along with this there are three complete sets of Buddha’s discourses and one set of treatises composed by Indian scholars. More photos can be found in one of my travelogues.

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    Buddha Gaya Dharmashala

    by Willettsworld Written Jul 24, 2007
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    In amongst all the Buddhist goings-on lies this Hindu Dharmashala (pilgrim's rest house) which was built in 1944. It was built through the charity of Shreeman Raja Seth Baldev Dass Birla of Pilani, Jaipur.

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