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The city of Bodhgaya, located in the state of Bihar, is known to most us as being related to Gautam Buddha. However the actual association and the facts about the place have always eluded us. Bodhgaya is the place where the wandering prince Siddhartha sat in meditation below a Bodhi Tree. His three days of initial meditation and subsequent seven weeks of enlightenment have been closely associated with various places in Bodh Gaya.

The city complete with the pilgrimage sites is beautifully situated on the shores of the broad but shallow Lilanjan River (also known as Neranjara). After crossing Bodh Gaya, the river joins Mohana River and forms Phalgu River which is considered sacred. Amongst the hustle of the city also stand proudly, the shrines dedicated to the Buddha by various countries like China, Japan, Bangladesh, Vietnam etc. The river surrounding hills and caves and the history of the city itself make it a must visit place for any nature and peace lover.

Mahabodhi Temple
Mahabodhi Temple is one of the highlights of the religious township of Bodh Gaya. The shrine is constructed around the original Bodhi Tree in the 7th century AD. The ancient temple was destroyed during the Muslim invasion in 11th century. The current structure restored in 1880 has been renovated several times in yesteryears. At present, the shrine is maintained by Archaeological Survey of India. This shrine was built by the Burmese King identical to the stupa constructed by Emperor Ashoka. Statue of Lord Buddha in a cross-legged seating position that attracts tourists and devotees from all over the world. The structure has an elevation of 50 m, which features beautiful ancient carvings in the west and south. Highlighting characteristic of the temple are the railings, some of which are reproductions. The temple houses an ancient Shivalingam, which is believed to be installed in 860 AD. The Mahabodhi Temple is religiously important for Hindus as Lord Buddha is considered as ninth incarnation of Lord Vishnu.

Bodhi Tree
Bodhi Tree, one of the chief revered locations, is believed to be the place where Lord Buddha attained enlightenment. The tree is believed to be the sapling of original Bodhi tree, which was taken away by King Ashoka's daughter to Sri Lanka. There is a red sandstone slab under the tree, known as Vajrasana or the diamond throne. Located behind Mahabodhi Temple, the revered 115 years old tree stands 80 ft high.

Great Buddha Statue
Great Buddha Statue, standing at an elevation of 80 ft, is one of the religious and spiritual monuments associated with Lord Buddha Bodh Gaya. One among the tallest Buddha statues in the country, the structure was instated in 1989 by the XIV Dalai Lama. This structure displays meditating (dhyana mudra) Lord Buddha, resting on a giant lotus in open air. Constructed using sandstone blocks and red granite, the figurine exhibits beautiful artwork.

Animesh Lochan Chaitya
Animesh Lochan Chaitya is one of the places associated with enlightenment of Lord Buddha. During the second week of enlightenment within the cycle of meditation, Lord Buddha spent seven days at this place looking at the Bodhi tree. It is believed that during this time, he did not blink his eye even once. Animesh Lochan, meaning open eyes, is a major place of religious significance. It is also believed that Lord Buddha spent few days here walking between the Bodhi tree and the Animesh Lochan Chaitya. At present, this route is known as Ratnachankrama or the Jewel Walk

Ajapala Nigrodha tree
Ajapala Nigrodha Tree is one of objects purified during the meditation and enlightenment of Lord Buddha. It is believed to be planted by a shepherd boy for the protection of the Lord, who spent his fifth week of meditation under this tree. The tree lies in the Mahabodhi Temple complex along with the eastern gate. As per the legend, Lord Buddha replied queries of learned Brahmins regarding religion and general conduct during his enlightenment.

Rajayatna tree
Rajayatna Tree is one of the sightseeing attractions in the midst of Bodhi Temple complex. Like other revered sites in the complex, the sacred tree is associated with Lord Buddha. The tree is demarcated with a stone plaque. As per beliefs, Buddha spent his seventh week, which was the penultimate week of meditation at this site. Th tree is located south-east of the temple complex. Besides, Burmese merchants took a refuge under the tree and coined, 'I surrender to Buddha'.

Muchalinda Lake
Muchalinda Lake, one of the chief sightseeing locations in Bodh Gaya, is also associated with mythological tales. The water body is positioned on the right of the main temple and features a sculpture of hood protecting Lord Buddha, who is meditating on a snake coil. As per Hindu Mythology, Lord Buddha was an incarnation of Lord Vishnu. In the sixth week of his meditation nearby this lake, a strong storm broke out. During that time, Lord Buddha was protected by Shesh Naga or the Snake King Muchalinda from the disrupting waves. The beautiful lake is dotted by trees and lush green surroundings.

Cankamana shrine is one of the revered shrines positioned along the Bodhi Temple. The shrine features various articles that were purified by the presence of Lord Buddha. There are pathways along with the location that were utilised by Lord Buddha during the third week of enlightenment. Lords Buddha's feet have been carved into black stone lotuses towards the northern fringe of the temple, which is a chief attraction of the shrine. Besides, there are several images of Buddha along with his disciples in the shrine.

Indosan Nippon Japanese Temple
Indosan Nippon Japanese Temple reflecting Japanese architecture is carved with Buddhist preachings. Located at a distance of 15 km from the city centre, the temple is beautifully carved out of wood. The temple has a gallery of Japanese paintings that reveal notable events from the life of Gautam Buddha. This shrine was constructed in 1972 is among the most frequented shrines of the region. As an initiative to preserve and spread Buddhism and Buddha’s preachings, the Japanese have funded this shrine.

Royal Bhutan Monastery
Royal Bhutan Monastery is one of the several monasteries in the Buddhist town of Bodh Gaya. The monastery featuring depictions of life of Lord Buddha attract millions of Buddhism followers from across the world. This monastery was constructed by the King of Bhutan as a tribute to Lord Buddha. The well-maintained pilgrim centre attracts tourists for its clay carvings depicting various aspects of Buddhism.

Chinese Temple
Chinese Temple, one of the revered places in the region, was constructed by Buddhist monks. Positioned in proximity to the Bodhi Temple complex, the temple is beautifully decorated with Chinese designs. Revealing Chinese artwork, there is a statue of Lord Buddha instated within the sacred sanctum. The 200 years old statue is brought from China and was renovated in 1997. Moreover, the temple features three beautiful golden sculptures of Lord Buddha.

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