Bodhgaya Temple 2

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This is a continuation of part 1. The Bodhi Tree is in the centre. On either side of the railing there are devotees who pray and meditate through out the day. Saw a big Thai group who had organised special prayers there. To know all about the temple visit its site For a young energetic guide call Sanjay Mishra 9955819396. For a more experienced guide call Rajkumar Singh 995593764. Both are good. Sanjay is good to take you to places outside Bodh Gaya too. Rate is Rs 100/ per hour.

It is an act of sacred reverence to the spot where Buddha got enlightenment. Although this spot in the picture is behind the Bodhi tree, it still revered  because, when the Buddha got enlightenment, six colored light radiated from the crown of his head making the entire space around him a space of wisdom. Hence visitors touch their heads to the west side as well. In Hindi we say matha tekhna.

Behind you see the Vajrasana or Diamond Throne and a gate to enter that area. Large number of devotees pray and meditate in this area as well. "Bodhgaya Temple was in the hands of its followers till the first part of the thirteenth century A.D. They lost their control over it only after its destruction by the Turk invaders. From the time of their invasion to the time of the arrival of the first Mahant at the site, we have no information about the temple."

Devotees touch feet of Tara image a powerful Tibetan deity. The devout believe that by touching her feet and praying to her all desires would be fulfilled. My guide gave me a different view. He asked me to close my eyes with my right hand placed near my navel, walk towards the image with no guidance for about 40 seconds. If I walked straight and placed my hand at the feet of the image, then whatever I asked for would be granted. Blessings of Tara were very powerful for the devotees.

The Ashoka Pillar in temple tower behind. This one is situated close to the Mucalinda Lake. (Lotus tank). "A wandering Sanyasi (Saivite monk) named Mahant Ghamdani Giri arrived in Buddha Gaya in the year 1590 and decided to make the place his permanent residence."

A close up of the top portion of the 50 feet pyramidal tower crowned with a bell like stupa whose close up you shall see later. "In due course this Mahavira was occupied by the Mahant and he claimed that he was the legitimate heir of the Mahåvihåra. The present Mahant is the sixteenth in succession to Mahant Ghamandi Giri."

A close up of the bell like stupa. Note the ornamental work. Temple complex is very well maintained and clean.

Cold does not stop a monk from meditating. Thanks to the rains early mornings and evenings were pretty cold.

Another close up of the bell like stupa taken from a different angle.

Devotees chanting inside the main temple area. You can get a decent non a/c room for Rs 700-900 in peak season. There are hotels to suit every budget - as high as Rs 5,000/ a day also. I stayed in Birla Dharamshala ie very close to temple. Rs 400/ per day for a clean room with attached clean bath.

Sikkimese lady holding a hand prayer wheel. These are similar to the drum prayerwheels as they contain the mantra inside written on a roll of paper but they can can be held in the hand and turned constantly as one walks, sits or talks. It is a basic religious tool of all Buddhists.

This gives you an idea of how the devotees, monks live inside the temple complex. You can see Buddha image, flowers, fruits, water bottle and on right a devotee praying lying on wooden platform.

A number of monks prostrating before the Buddha all through the day. You can see monks in various poses, close up pics follow.

The Buddhist monks here are doing their prostrations before the Buddha. By venerating the Buddha and his teachings through these prostrations, one seeks to awaken compassion in all sentient beings of the world and in a sense it is for world peace.

Mosquitoes leave no one, monks included! A monk sitting inside a mosquito net. Behind him is a monk prostrating before the Buddha.

The Sri Lankans identify the color yellow with the Buddha. They use yellow umbrellas to identify themselves as Theravada Buddhists who have taken refuge in the Buddha Dharma.

Young Bhutanese monks taking sacred Buddhist texts from the car and to their class. Devotees bow down in respect to them.

This Sadhu was sitting outside the shrine where Buddha spent week two after enlightenment ie Animesha Lochana.

Om Restaurent serves lovely food both Indian and International as the board shows. Must visit. There are other restaurents too but they serve mainly Indian food.

Within minutes of the Bodhi Tree is a mosque. I did not know about it till I heard AZAN during the evening. Honestly the azan blaring from loudspeakers disturbed a number of devotees and broke the peace and serenity within the temple complex.

This board outside the temple. Quite true. Buddha attained enlightenment in Bihar. Mahavir attained salvation in Pavapuri Bihar. Guru Govind Singh founder of Khalsa was born in Patna. There has to be something special about the state of Bihar.

Within the temple complex is the Meditation Park. Bell board reads ''''This Dharma bell is dedicated to Jambudvipa, home of compassion n wisdom, where 1000 Buddhas seated on the Vajrasana at the foot of the Bodhi tree, manifest enlightenment dedicated to the people of India with heartfelt gratitude for their kindness to the Tibetan people''''. Pic taken by guide Sanjay Mishra who assisted me with clicking. In the centre you can see me making notes.

Medidation Park. Very peaceful place. Devotees can sit here and meditate. The Bihar government must make a non stop expressway between Patna and Bodh Gaya so distance covered in two hours. Those who have travelled on the Mumbai Pune expressway will know what I mean.

This is the Mahabodhi World Peace Bell. When u use the wood and hit the big bell the sound AUM is what comes out. Bell weighs 2550 kgs, was cast in Vietnam. The Vietnamese and Lay Buddhist communities around the world offerred to Bodh Gaya in India as an expression of their profound gratitude to Lord Buddha through his Dhamma.

Within the temple complex are Shiv Temples whose ruins you see in the picture - back part. Front is garden of meditiation park.

The next few images are of Buddha adorned on the walls of the temple. Images that you see in the centre are Kirti Mukha i.e. to keep away evil spirits.

Temple walls have images of Buddha in various Mudras. This is Abhay Mudra.

Buddha in Dharma Chakra Mudra pose.

Buddha in Bhumi Mudra pose meaning his hand is touching the earth or bhumi.

Aashirwad Mudra or giving blessings. This image is to the right of the main temple entrance.

Dhyan Mudra or Teaching pose.

Abhay Mudra but in Tibetan style.

This is Saraswati or the Goddess of Knowledge.

This is Lord Vishnu. Buddha is one part of the ten incarnations of Lord Vishnu.

This image is of Mahamaya or mother of Buddha. She died within seven days of giving birth to Buddha.

Image of Tibetan style Goddess Tara.

One of the many excavated Buddha images that lie in the garden within the temple complex.

Tibetan outside the temple entrance working on stone in Tibetan language. All descriptions in inverted commas taken from the temple official site. Credits and copyright with them.

Outside the temple complex these visually impaired people sang very well. Their donation bowl was always empty not because people did not give but every rupee was pocketed as soon as it was kept in the bowl.

A view of the Mahabodhi Temple. It was a dream come true for me. I wish I had planned for more time to spend here. A must visit place. You get a feeling of peace the minute you enter the temple complex.

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