Enlightened at Buddha’s Land

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When I planned my trip to Patna, all my friends expressed an odd look. When I informed them that I will be going to Bodh Gaya they changed their expression which was so pleasing. That is the effect of the name ‘Bodh Gaya’. The distance between Patna to Bodh Gaya is only 105 Kms but it took us six hours to reach Bodh Gaya. It was a nerve rattling experience due to bad condition of the road.

Bodh Gaya is the most revered of all Buddhist sacred sites as Buddha’s enlightenment happened here.The main temple complex houses the famous Mahabodhi temple, stupa and a descendant of the original Bodhi (Peepal) Tree under which the Buddha gained enlightenment.

When we entered the temple we immediately got enveloped with serene and propitious feeling. We could not believe that we are actually standing on the spot where Buddha got enlightenment. At the temple we could see plenty of international devotees from Sri Lanka, Nepal, Thailand, Malaysia, China and Japan

Inside the Mahabodhi temple complex you can also enjoy the Lotus Pond or the meditation garden.

Bodh Gaya has temples or monasteries from many other nations with a Buddhist tradition (Bhutan, Bangladesh, China, Japan, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Tibet), all within easy walking distance from the Mahabodhi temple.

Next we visited the famous Vishnupad Temple. It is believed that Rama and Sita had visited this place. This is believed that the temple was built with the footprints of Lord Vishnu in the centre. This footprint marks the act of Lord Vishnu subduing Gayasur, a demon by placing his foot on his chest. Inside the Vishnupad temple, the 40 cm long footprint of Lord Vishnu is imprinted in solid rock and surrounded by a silver plated basin.

Next day  we planned our trip for local sightseeing. When we were taking break fast at our Holiday Home, happened to meet Venkat and Promod. Venkat’s social nature drew him towards us and we also happy to meet a tamilian in Bihar.  After conversing with both of them we came to know that they are also planning for the local sightseeing. What a coincidence ! Promod asked me why don’t you join with us? We were thrilled to join with them for the local trip as well to Rajgir. But for them, we could not have stayed at Gaya.  I think it was certainly Buddha’s call which happened through Venkat and Promod ! Our journey become so vibrant after they joined with us. 

First we started our visit to a Gurdwara known as Harmandir Sahib Gurdwara, the birthplace of Guru Gobind Singh, the tenth Guru of the Sikhs.. Besides being the birthplace of Guru Gobind Singh, Patna was also honored by visits from Guru Nanak as well as Guru Tegh Bahadur. After the visit, we went  straight to the banks of Ganges and excited to see the river with reverence. 

Next we proceeded to Bihar museum. It is a huge museum. It show cases plenty of art facets and historical events of Bihar.  The time line that depicts the period of historic era was not only impressive but also  informative. Patna museum also located adjacent  to Bihar Museum. In which we are able to see the relics of Buddha. 

After the museum visit, we went straight to Golhar a old building where grains stored in olden days. It is believed that the top of the Golghar presents a wonderful panoramic view of the city and the Ganges. But due to renovation work, we were not allowed to go to the top.

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Golghar has never been filled to its maximum capacity and there are no plans to do so. Some have claimed that the reason for this is a flaw whereby the doors are designed to open inwards; thus, if it is filled to its maximum capacity, then the doors will not open.

Next on our way to Rajgir,  we visited the beautiful Pawapuri Jal Mandir .

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The Jal Mandir meaning Water Temple, also known, in Pawapuri, meaning a town without sins,  is a highly revered temple dedicated to Lord Mahavira, the founder of Jain religion, which marks the place of his cremation. Mahavira attained Nirvana (salvation) in Pawapuri. The temple has been built within a tank filled with red coloured lotus flowers.

Rajgir is  a hilly area and famous for its hot water springs, locally known as Brahmakund, a sacred place for Hindus where water from seven different springs merge and is notable for its healing effects.

Another major attraction is the peace pagoda. Vishwa Shanti Stupa  built in 1969, one of the 80 peace pagodas in the world, to spread the message of peace and non-violence.It is the oldest peace pagoda in India.

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The Chairlift rope-way  is another attraction. It was a thrilling ride with scenic beauty. Initially it was scary for a moment, after that I started enjoying the ride. I never experienced such a exciting rope way ride anywhere.

We also visited the ruins of Nalanda. It was a University of historic importance.  Amazed to see the architectural masterpiece.. The most popular Mahavihara of the ancient times, a significant Buddhist seat of academic excellence and a modest pilgrim center. Nalanda continues to be popular and attract lot of tourists every year.

Although in ruins, the entire complex presents a pretty picture and is thronged  by tourists day in and day out. It has “viharas” or monasteries to the east and temples to the west. In addition to this, the complex houses a charming little museum, which has a collection of several of original Buddhist stupas, Hindu and Buddhist bronzes, coins, terracotta jars. Apart from Buddhism, it is an important center for Jainism, Hinduism, and Sufism as well. Considering the rich heritage and the historical importance, it is a hot tourist destination.

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After our Nalanda visit, we visited the Black Buddha temple.This temple is a very interesting one. Though it is small in size but it is clean and well maintained. The statue of Lord Buddha is made of black stone unlike anywhere else. Here also lot of international tourists come every day  to pay their obeisance to Lord Buddha.

We left Bihar and reached Delhi with memories of Buddha and new friends.

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Author: V Ramasamy

I like to write articles on diverse topics. I am also an voracious reader and like to comment on others opinion

14 thoughts on “Enlightened at Buddha’s Land”

  1. what a wonderful adventure you had. i am envious. i would love to see those sites. I feel as if i was there so well written is your adventure. thank you for sharing it! To stand where Buddha had his enlightenment would be very awe inspiring and thrilling.

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