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Tourist Places To Visit In Gaya
Gaya in Bihar has been quoted in the Rig Veda as being the place where Kikata Kingdom was located. According to history Gaya finds mention since the time when in the 6th century BC Buddha attained his enlightenment at Bodh Gaya, a place which is only 16km from the town. Gaya is known to have flourished during the period of the Maurya Empire that established its rule from Pataliputra, the capital which became Patna. During the period between 321 and 187 BC, Gaya saw the rise and fall of several dynasties. Gaya during this period and after had occupied a place of great importance in the history of the area that is now known as Bihar.
During his reign Ashoka visited Gaya and at Bodh Gaya he built the first temple to commemorate the enlightenment of Buddha. Today Gaya enjoys its importance from Bodh Gaya a place that is visited by thousands every day. There are several tourist places to visit in Gaya. Some of these will be discussed now.
The Mahabodhi Temple in Bodh Gaya is an approved UNESCO Heritage Site. However, this temple although of ancient vintage, it has been rebuilt and restored perhaps several times. But, the location of the temple is exactly where Buddha had attained his enlightenment. Here you will find the descendant of the same Bodhi Tree under which Buddha had attained enlightenment. This is the reason why the temple is worshipped so reverently by Buddhists from all over the world over the last more than 2000 years.
Great Buddha Statue
The Great Buddha Statue in Bodh Gaya which is 64’ in height is in Buddha’s dhyan mudra, seated on a lotus. It is another important visit that is made by Buddhists and Hindus from all over the world. The statue involved the labour of 12,000 masons who worked for 7 years and is made of sandstone blocks and red granite. It was consecrated by the 14th Dalai Lama on 18th of November 1989. Rishikesh Dasgupta was the artist of the statue.
The Bodhi Tree at the Mahabodhi Temple in Bodh Gaya is sacred to all Buddhists and Hindus. This is an ancestor of the same peepal tree under which Buddha sat and meditated more than 2000 years ago. This tree has grown from a branch of the Bodhi Tree in Sri Lanka while there is yet another one in Sravasti which is known as the Anandabodhi Tree.
Royal Bhutan Monastery
The Royal Bhutan Monastery is surely among the most beautiful monasteries that one can see in Bodh Gaya. This is a monastery which uses clay carvings to depict the life of Buddha. The monastery which was constructed by the King of Bhutan as a tribute to Buddha, attracts hundreds of visitors who come from all over the world. The monastery also has a rest house which is used by monks from Bhutan. One must also see the 7’ tall statue of Buddha that is inside the temple within the monastery.
The Chinese Temple, constructed by Buddhist monks has a 200 year old statue of Buddha that was brought from China. Inside the temple you will find beautiful Chinese artwork that is displayed. There are also three statues of Buddha in gold finish inside the temple besides various scriptures on spirituality that have been composed by Chinese Buddhist scholars who stay in the temple.
The Thai Monastery in Bodh Gaya was built in 1956 by the King of Thailand upon a request that was made by Jawaharlal Nehru, the then PM of India. This is a unique monastery as it is the only Thai temple in India. It displays the elegant form of architecture of Thailand with its sloping roof which curves in a certain way. There is also a large statue of Buddha in bronze.
Among all the Buddhist Temples in Bodh Gaya the Vietnamese Temple is the most recent addition. It was built by the Government of Vietnam for the sole purpose of reviving Buddhism in India. Though the temple reflects the architectural style of Vietnam there is a modern touch to it as well. There is a well maintained and extensive garden around the temple which adds to the sanctity of the place.
Indosan Nippon Japanese Temple
The Indosan Nippon Japanese Temple is located about 15km from the city centre of Bodh Gaya. The temple is carved with Buddha’s preaching and its architecture is predominantly Japanese. Built entirely from wood in 1972, this temple is among the most popular of all the temples in Bodh Gaya. The temple also houses Japanese paintings which elaborate upon the life of Buddha.