For Buddhism, Bodhgaya is the most important place in the life of Shakyamuni Buddha.
Bodh Gaya (Bodhgaya) is a small town, southeast of the state of Bihar, India. Today, it is one of Asia’s top tourist attractions, attracting millions of pilgrims for its Bodhi Tree (the title in Buddhism, honoring an ancient Bodhi tree), where Buddha Shakyamuni became enlightened.
Over a history of more than 2,600 years, the Bodhi tree was once felled, then replanted several times. Today, its descendants still thrive and do not move compared to the position of the original Bodhi tree.
The name Bodh Gaya was officially used in the 18th century. Before that, this place was named Uruvela, Mahabodhi, Vajrasana, Sambodhi.
Just before the full moon of the Vesak month (April-May of the lunar calendar), around 528 BC, a young ascetic came to the outskirts of the small village of Uruvela, on the banks of the Neranjara River. This person is Prince Siddhartha of Shakyamuni (Shakya). The beautiful scenery of the countryside here has made the young monk decide to stay and meditate under a linden tree.
Soon after, this person awakened to the truth, seeing the “Truth” in all its glory and splendor. No longer the Prince Siddhartha or the ascetic Gotama, he became a Buddha. Buddha was near Uruvela for the next 7 weeks to experience enlightened happiness.
In addition to the Bodhi Tree, the attractions in Bodhgaya also have the Diamond throne, located under a Bodhi tree. This is where the Prince sat in meditation.
Another attraction is the statue of Mahabodhi, located in Mahabodhi temple (also known as Dai Giac Pagoda). This statue is said to resemble the image of the Buddha.
Legend has it that when the temple was built, people decided to place a statue but it took a long time to find any sculpture good enough. One day, a strange man appeared and said that he would take on the figurative work.
He asked for a pile of fragrant clay and a lamp placed in the temple sanctuary. The door will be locked for 6 months. But the people here are too curious so they opened the door before 4 days. People were overwhelmed when they saw the statue, it was perfect to every detail except for a small part on the unfinished chest.
Later, a monk slept in the cathedral, dreaming that Maitriya (Maitreya Buddha) appeared and said that he was the one who created the statue. Today, Mahabodhi is the most revered statue in the Buddhist world.
Dai Enlightenment Pagoda was built in the place where Buddha attained enlightenment, right next to the Bodhi tree, which dates back to about 250 BC. Works destroyed by war. In the 2nd century BC, a new temple was rebuilt on the same site. Dai Enlightenment Pagoda is a stone structure, 4 large towers in the center and 4 towers on 4 sides. In 2002, UNESCO recognized the temple as a world heritage.