Known as Uruvela during Buddha’s time, Bodh Gaya is the most holy and sacred pilgrimage site because this is where Lord Buddha attained enlightenment and discovered the noble eight-fold path under the Boddhi tree (hence also called Sambodhi). To commemorate this, Emperor Ashoka built the Mahabodhi Temple with the Vajrasana or diamond throne under and Bodhi tree.
|IMPORTANCE OF THE PILGRIMAGE SITE OF BODH GAYA
|Upon leaving Uddaka Rāmaputta’s ashram in Rajgriha, Siddharth reached Uruvela (mapped to the modern village Urail near Bodh Gaya). In Uruvela or Urubela (or, Buddhagaya), Siddhartha spent another six years practicing self-mortification which he gave up for middle path when the milkmaid Sujata from the nearby village Bakraur fed him milk and rice thus ending his years of fasting and asceticism. This was turning point in Buddha’s life because He attained enlightenment through the middle way.
It is here in Boddha Gaya, He discovered the noble eight-fold path while meditating under the Boddhi tree (Sacred fig) and achieved the Supreme Awakening or Enlightenment. Therefore, this site (also called Sambodhi) is the most sacred site for Buddhists and Hindus worldwide.
|The Mahabodhi Temple complex with the Vajrasana or diamond throne and the Bodhi tree was originally built by Emperor Ashoka.
|The nearby village of Bakraur across the river Niranjana (now called Phalgu) was the home of milkmaid Sujata. The village has Sujata Stupa dedicated to her.
|Mocharim is another nearby village on the west bank of Niranjana River which derives its name after naga Mucalinda who is believed to have protected Buddha from a great rainstorm when he was meditating. Buddha supposedly spent six weeks after attaining enlightenment near the ancient pond in this village.
|Google map link
BODH GAYA THE SACRED LAND OF BUDDHAHOOD
MAHABODHI TEMPLE COMPLEX AT BODH GAYA (UNESCO)