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Updated by Joanna James on Jun 23, 2019
Headline for 5 Historical Moments of Bodh Gaya- The City of Enlightenment
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5 Historical Moments of Bodh Gaya- The City of Enlightenment

Bodh Gaya, situated in Bihar, India, is a spiritual home for Buddhists as it is where Lord Buddha attained Enlightenment. It is one of the 4 main pilgrimage sites related to Lord Buddha.

1

Mahabodhi Temple

4 major temples are associated with various stages of the life of Gautama Buddha. It's at Mahabodhi temple, under the bodhi tree, where Buddha sat and meditated and obtained Nirvana or Enlightenment. Therefore, it is this very site that marks the birth of all the beliefs that belong to Buddhists. The holy Bodhi tree that Buddha meditated under, is claimed to have grown from a sapling from the Sri Maha Bodhi tree in Sri Lanka. It is believed that this temple is located right at the centre of the Earth; thus, the only location that is able to bare the amount of spiritual weight and therefore, at the end of time, this will be the last place to be destroyed and the very first place that will be reborn into the new world and time.
The temple was built in the 6th century CE and is known to be King Asoka's greatest achievement. The first construction of the temple was a "diamond throne" which depicts the exact spot Lord Buddha was seated on when he gained Nirvana. Every Buddhists venerate this temple as the exact model of Lord Buddha.
The temple was rebuilt later on under the Gupta Empire, which is well seen from its current architecture. There are many ornate decorations and carvings representing Buddhist and some Hindu symbols, all over the temple.

2

Niranjana

The River Niranjana, which is situated only a few miles away from the Mahabodhi temple and Oaks Bodhgaya, holds a prominent place in Buddhism too. Many kinds of literature have recorded that before Lord Buddha attained Nirvana, he had visited this river and found it charming and serene. A Bodhi tree is present, which marks the spot where Buddha spent about 6 years meditating and practising austerities.
If you visit the Niranjana River, you are able to see the silhouette of the Mahabodhi temple, standing tall, representing the form of Lord Buddha.

3

Nalanda

Situated only a few kilometres away from the
centre of Bodh Gaya, where many a modern Bodhgaya Hotel is present, Nalanda marks the site where the popular Buddhist University was present. It is said that Lord Buddha himself has visited the university many times before. Currently, you are only able to see some of the ruins. Other remains of the university and any antiques related to it are housed in the museum of antiques.

4

Barabar Caves

Dating back to the 322-185 BCE, there is the oldest rock-cut caves in India. These cuts are unique and sharp and in no way close to a laser cut! There are 4 caves named, Karan Chaupar, Lomas Rishi, Visvakarma and Sudama. The Lomas Rishi cave has an arch-like shape entrance which is carved with a row of elephants. The carvings resemble very close to wooden carvings; they are that intricate and adoring. These caves were used by ascetics which was founded by Makkali Gosala, who was a contemporary of Lord Buddha.

5

Shavari

30 mins away from Niranjana is this meditation cave of Shavari. The Mahakala tree found in the entrance is considered a protective deity by Bhutan and plucking of leaves or twigs is strictly prohibited.

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