Not only pilgrims from India but pilgrims from across the world arrive at Bodhgaya annually. It is one of the holiest sites for Buddhists across the world. The main relic in the temple is that of a distant descendant of a Bo tree under which Lord Buddha is believed to have attained enlightenment. Bodhgaya hotels are well equipped to accommodate large numbers of pilgrims. They have over the years specialised in offering services such as special tours to the holy site. Hotels such as Oaks Bodhgaya organise special packages to the UNESCO world heritage site.
Not only do visitors come here on pilgrimage but most come here to stay and learn about Buddhism and it’s teachings as well as for meditation. The highlight of the temple is the Bo tree which is within the temple premises surrounded by gardens. Some of the elements of the temple are believed to belong to the 3rd century BC. The temple is one of the very few monumental structures made of brick to have survived in the Eastern part of India. There are various plaster copies of stone posts scattered around the temple which is believed to have belonged to the Shunga period. The originals are also stored in a museum within the temple complex.
The Mahabodhi site is especially close to the Theravada branch of Buddhism the one that is mainly followed in South Asia and South East Asia. In this region, the style of temples is often replicated to that of the one at the Mahabodhi complex.
Most of the Buddha images found here are either sitting or standing images. Some of the commonly identified positions which are known as Mudras are – Padmasana Mudra, Dhammacakra Mudra, Bhumisaparsa Mudra and Dhyana Mudra. Some of the important sites not to be missed during a visit are the sacred Bodhi tree, Vajrasana, Animesh Lochana Chaitya and Cankamana among others.
Roland Lefevre is a travel writer who specializes in creating features on leisure as well as business travel destinations across the globe.