The founder of Buddhism, Gautama Buddha, attained enlightenment under the sacred Bodhi tree at Bodhgaya. Bodhgaya is one of the four most sacred pilgrimage places for the Buddhists. The other three sacred places of Buddhists are Lumbini (Buddha's place of birth), Sarnath (the site of his first sermon) and Kushinagar (place where he left his body). Buddhists from all over the world visit the holy site of Bodh Gaya. They have also built many Buddhist temples at Bodhgaya. Bodh Gaya is located about 13 km from Gaya, 450 km from Kolkata and 90 km from of Patna, the capital of Bihar state.
Pilgrimage Attractions At Bodhgaya
The Mahabodhi Temple is located where Lord Buddha's got enlightenment. The present Mahabodhi temple was restored around 1880 AD. Besides the main Mahabodhi temple there are several other temples at the place. In the inner sanctuary of the temple there is a huge statue of Lord Buddha. In the center of the temple there is a Shiva-lingam that was installed around 860 AD.
It was under the Bodhi tree that Buddha attained enlightenment. A sapling of the original bodhi tree was carried by Ashoka's daughter (Sanghamitta) to Sri Lanka. That tree is situated at Anuradhapura in Sri Lanka. A cutting from the Bodhi tree of Anuradhapura was planted at Bodhgaya when the original tree died.
Vajrasana (the seat of stability) is believed to be the same seat that Buddha sat, while performing meditation. The stone platform, under the Bodhi tree symbolizes the Vajrasana.
Other places of importance at Bodhgaya are Chankaramana (sacred spot of the Buddha's meditative perambulations), Arimeshlochana (place where Buddha spent one week here looking towards the great Mahabodhi Tree out of gratitude) and Ratnagar (Buddha spent one week here and it is believed that five colors came out of his body).