Interesting Facts about Mahabodhi Temple Bodhgaya
Mahabodhi temple is a heritage site, which is a restored ancient temple of Bodh Gaya, built at the very spot where Lord Buddha attained enlightenment under a Bodhi tree. Bodhi tree is the common sacred fig tree or the peepul tree. Bodh Gaya is located in Gaya district, which is around 100 km away from Patna of Bihar. What more do you know about Mahabhodi temple? Here is a compilation of interesting facts about the temple, which would intrigue you to visit the site.
Holds the descendant of the actual Bodhi Tree
Do you know that the temple holds the Bodhi tree, under which Buddha got enlightenment. Well, it is half-true. After building the temple, Emperor Ashoka sent his heirs to Sri Lanka and various parts of India to spread Buddhism. He also sent a sapling of the original tree to Sri Lanka. When Muslim invaders destroyed the temple along with the original tree, a sapling from the Sri Lankan tree was brought back to Mahabodhi to grow. However, the strength of the tree is weakening. The tree is gradually slanting and getting support from the walls of the temple. This might cause serious damage to the temple and people are planning to substitute the tree with its own clone, when the tree fails. Make sure to visit while the tree is out there. (source).
One of the oldest Buddhist Temple
The original temple was said to be built in 3rd century BC by Emperor Ashoka. The current structure was built in 5th and 6th century AD. It is one of the most ancient Buddhist temple and it is entirely built by brick. It is one of the very few ancient structures built entirely with bricks It is considered as one of the most holiest pilgrimage spot for Buddhists in the world.
Buddhism and Hinduism
You can find many elements, which would prove the roots between Hinduism and Buddhism. This temple is one such element. You can find many paintings and sculptures of Hindu Gods like Lakshmi, Sun God riding horse chariot, the eagle God, Garuda and others in the railing. It is said that the railing of the temple is what remains of the temple, which was built in BC.
The scary legend of Bodhi Tree
There is a legend that, if the Bodhi Tree was not present in the region, the ground of the Bodhi tree will not allow any plant, not evens a grass to grow. No, living being would be able to travel through that region. After the original tree was destroyed, a similar scenario was said to be experienced. It is also said that the location of the tree is the navel of the Earth.
Temple holds the foot print of Lord Buddha
There is a lotus pond in the temple, closer to the Bodhi tree. The passage running around the pond has many stone lotus carved. It is said that Buddha spend seven weeks of his life meditating in this region. He performed walking meditation, by walking 18 steps froth and back. The stone lotuses hold faded foot prints of Lord Buddha. Do you want to check out the footprint of the lord? Embark our 13 nights – Delhi Varanasi Nepal tour, today. Alternatively, if you wish to create your own itinerary, visit Plan my Trip
Last point of destruction
A slab is constructed on the spot where Lord Buddha meditated. It is said that if the world gets destroyed, the slab region would be the last place to get destroyed. And, when the world re-forms, the slab would be the right region to form.
Highest form of ritual
The highest form of ritual in this temple is to walk around the Bodhi tree and offer prostrations for one lakh times, in a stretch. You can find several monks performing this ritual, every day.
The story of the Statue
The original statue of the temple was said to be a one-breasted statue of Buddha. According to legends, a wanderer promised to create the best statue in the world under three conditions. He asked for scented clay and a lamp to be place in the temple. He requested the door to be closed for six months. He also requested not to disturb him during the six months. However, people became impatient and broke the door, just four days shy of six months. They found a perfect statue, incomplete (one breast). The wanderer was nowhere to be found. Later, a monk has a vision of Lord Maitreya building the statue by himself.
Not a temple to start with
Although mentioned as Mahabodhi temple, Emperor Ashoka did not intend to build a temple for Buddha. The structure’s primary intent was to protect the Bodhi tree and to serve as a monument. During restoration, several temples were built inside the shrines and the monument became a temple structure.
Orange flower and lotus
If you desired to offer flowers to the temple, the most recommended ones are garlands made of orange colored flowers or lotus with leaf.
A Decorated Buddha
It is not common to find Buddha statues being decorated. In this temple, at the exact position where Buddha sat to meditate, you can find a black statue of Buddha, which is covered with gold. This statue is dressed up in bright orange robe, always.
Replicated around the world
Since it is the Mecca of Buddhism, it is not a surprise to know that this temple is the most replicated structure of the religion, until date. Replicas of Mahabodhi temple can be found in
- Mahabodhi temple of Burma
- Shwegugyi temple
- Wat Chet Yot of Thailand
- Zhenjue temple of China
Even saplings of the Bodhi tree are sent to numerous other Buddhist temples around the world. (source).
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