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Thank You, Buddha | Bodh Gaya Pilgrimage

When one is blessed with Shinjin (the real and authentic heart and mind), in that case, they feel a sense of Gratitude for being granted the gift of salvation through Amida and promise the possibility of his rebirth in the Pure Land as a complete spiritually enlightened Buddha. For those who are from Shinjin, Namu Amida Butsu is a means to express Gratitude. Thank You, AMIDA BUDDHA; it’s one of the Nembutsu in the sense of Gratitude.

Thank you, Buddha Homestay! As the name implies, it’s the perfect location to stay within Bodh Gaya, which gives the feeling of being at home away from home, as if you’re in your own home. The Airbnb is located in the middle of Bodh Gaya in an enchanted and peaceful atmosphere that is free of hustle and noise. It offers amenities similar to three-star hotels that are located in the city. It caters to a wide range of guests from across the world.

Thank You Buddha Homestay is easy to access with not much to do. It’s only 10 minutes to Gaya International Airport (also known as Bodhgaya Airport), 05 minutes from the Mahabodhi Temple, 30 minutes from Gaya Train Station, i.e., Gaya Junction, and only 4 minutes from Bodhgaya Bus Stand.

Thank You Buddha; Bodh Gaya Pilgrimage At A Glance

thank you buddha

Buddha Gaya or Bodh Gaya is a Town in NE India, in Bihar. This is where the holy banyan tree, under which Gautama Buddha was able to attain enlightenment, was subsequently renamed as Buddha. Similarly, the term “pilgrimage” is commonly used to describe a person’s experience of life, often as an overall description of personal development and exploration or, in the case of Christianity, that outlines a specific spiritual focus or path that is believed to result in a meeting with God.

Buddhist pilgrims have traveled to holy sites for many years. In his final days, the Buddha instructed his followers on four sacred sites “that a pious person should visit and look upon with feelings of reverence. ” These four sites were Lumbini, which was the place of the birth of Buddha; Bodhgaya, where he achieved nirvana; Sarnath Varanasi, where he delivered his first sermon as well; and Kushinagar, where he passed away.The Buddha’s teachings started an extensive tradition of pilgrimage for Buddhists. The four locations now constitute a pilgrimage circuit in the southern part of Nepal, the Indian states Bihar, and Uttar Pradesh.

For many centuries, politics, religion as well as myth, and history have all converged on a tiny town located on the banks of the Phalgu River just south of the capital city of the state of Bihar, i.e., Patna in India. Bodh Gaya is believed to be the place of enlightenment or “great awakening” (Sanskrit, Mahabodhi) of Siddhartha Gautama. It was in this place that Siddhartha Gautama took a seat in meditation beneath the Bodhi tree after he had renounced his royale life to pursue asceticism. Here, he defeated temptation in the form of the demon Mara, and set a great world religion Buddhism into motion.

The events of Buddha’s life are believed by many to have happened during the fifth century B.C.E. Nearly two centuries further on, Bodh Gaya became a large, sprawling town that is filled with medieval, old, and modern monasteries, shrines, temples, hotels, and temples. This holy Buddhist center’s archaeological and historical history dates back at least to around the third century B.C.E.The heart of the old Bodh Gaya lies within the Mahabodhi Temple Complex, which is filled with monuments, shrines, and sculpted pictures that were built over more than two thousand years. Three of the most significant monuments that make up the essential aspects of the Bodh Gaya Pilgrimage are The Bodhi tree, The Vajrasana, or “Diamond Throne” and The Mahabodhi Temple

Buddha Awakening: Bodhgaya Pilgrimage

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Siddhartha Gautama came to Bodh Gaya in his middle old age, having abandoned his status as a prince upon experiencing his “four sights” of aging as well as death, sickness, and asceticism. The fourth sight was the one that prompted him to start doing extreme asceticism and meditation. After a short time, he was disillusioned by this path of extreme intensity. He left his ascetic friends who were wandering around northern India until he came to the Bodhi tree ( also known as ficus religiosa) situated on the banks of the Phalgu River. Sitting down beneath this tree to begin his long meditation, the Buddha was spotted by the servant of a noblewoman from the area who believed that he was a spirit of the tree and was able to present him with rice as well as milk.

In the midst of this food, the Buddha continued to meditate beneath this tree and was able to ward away the attacks of the demon Mara, who had sent his demon armies and daughters to frighten Siddhartha Gautama, who was meditating. Then, that exact night, the Buddha achieved enlightenment. The Buddha was then asked to show the witness to this incredible achievement. So the Buddha reached out to the earth by touching the fingers of his right hand and asked the Goddess of Earth to show her support as a witness. Buddhist beliefs diverge on certain aspects of the details. However, this particular moment and the location where it took place, beneath the Bodhi tree in Bodh Gaya, is significant to every one of the Buddhist practices.

The Bodhi Tree- Where Buddha attained enlightenment

thank you buddha

It is a crucial part of the Bodh Gaya pilgrimage. The place where Buddha achieved enlightenment, Bodh Gaya, became a place of significance for Buddhists shortly after the demise of Buddha and the emergence of the Buddhist group of monks and nuns (Sanskrit sangha) and laypeople. There is little information about the early structures of Bodh Gaya. The ages of expansion and change make it difficult to envision what the site looked like at any time within the last century.

From representations of Bodh Gaya in artwork that date back to the 2nd century B.C.E and the earliest narrative accounts, it can be concluded that the devotion to this location was initially centered upon the Bodhi tree. This tree was probably enclosed by a wooden shrine (bodhi-ghara) at about the end of 3000 B.C.E., if not prior to it.

According to an early story that describes the enclosure surrounding the Bodhi tree, it served as an opportunity to sit on a platform where the famed early Indian King Ashoka Maurya anointed the sacred Bodhi tree with milk. The railings made of stone that surround an ancestor of this tree in Bodh Gaya today are likely to be from around the first century B.C.E., and these indicate that this wood shrine was later replaced with stone structure.

The Diamond Throne: Vajrasana Bodhgaya; Thank You Buddha

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A few centuries after the time of the Buddha, a throne made of stone was built beneath the Bodhi tree to mark the spot at which the Buddha meditated and is a second focal point of devotion. In certain Buddhist practices, Bodh Gaya itself is referred to in the form of “Diamond Throne” (Sanskrit, Vajrayana), which indicates the significance of this throne in the sacredness of the location. A portion of the throne is in situ, even though it has been moved across the site several times over the years.

The distinctive palmette and goose motif, which appears at a relief position on the lower part of this polished stone slab, permits art historians to place it in the time of the Mauryan dynasty (4th to 2nd century B.C.E.) or possibly during the period of Ashoka Maurya.

The throne has been moved around, rebuilt, and changed several times over the years. It is now located near the back of the Mahabodhi Temple. The atlas-like, squat figures carved in relief beneath the highest Mauryan throne could date back to the period during the Gupta dynasty (4th-6th century C.E.) or more than a century earlier.

The image of the throne and Bodhi Tree was a well-known image in early Buddhist art and is believed to have avoided the representation of the Buddha himself. The empty throne beneath the tree is often an indication of the absence of the Buddha as well as for BodhGaya to be a holy site. The throne, as well as the tree, remain a significant symbol to Buddhas, Buddha, and the moment of awakening throughout the evolution of Buddhist art as seen in the first relics depicted in the Bodhi tree, which has the shrine and also in the traditional picture of the Buddha calling the earth to bear witness. 

The Mahabodhi Temple, Bodhgaya

thank you buddha

The stories of Chinese pilgrims who traveled to Bodh Gaya from at least the 5th century C.E. to the present day give historians a glimpse of the next stage of construction in Bodh Gaya. The accounts of the time show that during the first century of the Common Era, the Bodhi tree, as well as the Diamond Throne, were partly superseded–or replaced by a massive temple that contained a sculpted representation of Buddha.  

Some art historians suggest that a terracotta stone from around the third century C.E. discovered close to Patna depicts the first Mahabodhi Temple. It is unclear if this was the case; the initial version that was built of that Mahabodhi Temple looked something like a tall, straight-sided building made up of multiple layers of arch “cow’s eye” windows (gavaksha), which tapered slightly at the pinnacle. It was topped with banners and parasols indicating the existence of Buddha and enclosed by a fence around the entire perimeter. The temple that is depicted on this plaque also contains an image depicting the Buddha.

This is generally in line with the descriptions from the Mahabodhi Temple given by the Chinese pilgrim Xuanzang, who traveled to Bodh Gaya centuries later, towards the end of the seventh century C.E. The temple described by Xuanzang has “160 or 170 feet high . . . with niches in the different stories holding golden figures. The four sides of the building are covered with wonderful ornamental work. 

According to Xuanzang’s and other accounts of pilgrims, The Mahabodhi Temple housed a sculpted depiction of the Buddha sitting in a seated posture, holding his right hand pressed against the earth and reminiscing about the moment of awakening when Buddha “called the Earth to witness.”  

In the following centuries, the “earth-touching” Buddha image was integrated with depictions of the Mahabodhi Temple itself. These “pilgrim plaques” and miniature “models” of the Mahabodhi Temple provide historians with an idea of what the Mahabodhi Temple was like in the past. The depictions from this Mahabodhi Temple also suggest the rising importance of the temple that houses its Buddha picture in its individuality as a symbol of Bodh Gaya and the events that took place there. But Bodh Gaya’s Diamond Throne and the Bodhi tree remain depicted along with them.  

It is around this time, too, that inscriptions begin to refer to the Mahabodhi Temple as the “vajrasana-gandhakuti,” literally the “perfume chamber (i.e. the temple) which is surrounded by temple) with Diamond Throne. These inscriptions, depictions of Mahabodhi’s Temple in artwork, and other evidence for the presence of foreign and royal-sponsored programs for restoration indicate a significant shift from the tree shrine to the construction of temples, shrines, and monasteries in Bodh Gaya in the first millennium C.E.

Bodhgaya Mahabodhi Temple Today : Thank You Buddha 

thank you buddha

It is believed that the Mahabodhi Temple, as it currently appears, is the result of reconstructions that were carried out in the latter part of the 19th century. The Burmese mission first carried them out and later overseen by the newly established Archaeological Survey of India. The massive stone, stucco as well as concrete structure that is visible at Bodh Gaya is today the main straight, towering spire ( shikhara) rising out of an image chamber (Sanskrit garbha-griha). Four spires smaller than the main one sit on the opposite side of the main chamber, and each one is the primary spire and is topped by the shape of a Buddhist mound of relics. The temple’s surface is covered with decreasing layers of Buddha images arranged into niches that alternate and circles of “cow’s eye windows,” similar to the stories of Chinese pilgrims and earlier depictions of this structure in the art.  

Many Mahabodhis: Replication of Bodh Gaya 

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One of the most significant features of Bodh Gaya and the Mahabodhi Temple Complex is the fact that it has been replicated across Asia. What is sometimes referred to as “replica” Mahabodhi temples were constructed across Asia in the 13th century and onwards. The Mahabodhi Phaya temple in Myanmar, Wat Chet Yot in Thailand, Wuta Si in China, and the Mahabuddha Temple in Nepal are a few examples.  

Each structure is modeled after the design of the Mahabodhi Temple in Bodh Gaya, though they differ in design, style, construction technology, and building materials. Each temple is built on the same concepts regarding the Mahabodhi Temple shape, typically arranged around four towers that surround the central tower. It is probable that replicas were based on the memories of pilgrims in the case of tiny artworks that were carried around in portable pieces as well as “models” carried away from Bodh Gaya.

This re-creation of Bodh Gaya in the medieval and early modern times in Asia is based on the first precedent for it in an account of the Sri Lankan chronicle (mahavamsa), which records how a branch from the Bodhi tree was transported in Sri Lanka and planted in the city of Anuradhapura during the time of King Ashoka where its descendant grows to the present day. 

Bodh Gaya Today  

Thank you Buddha! The Interest from the world over Bodh Gaya was heightened from the 1880s and onwards, especially following the Archaeological Survey of India, which restored and replanted the Mahabodhi Temple Complex. This brought about a new era of patronage, construction, and conflict at the location. The 20th century saw international Buddhist groups and communities establish monasteries, temples, and guest houses within the town. At present, more than forty distinct Buddhist organizations are based in Bodh Gaya, a town that is home to a majority Hindu and Muslim populace.  

The majority of the sculptures discovered at Bodh Gaya — including the ones that are used for worship today — date back to the Pala Dynasty (8th-12th century C.E.) and portray both Buddhist and non-Buddhist gods. Also, Bodh Gaya likely held significance in a broader collection of pilgrimage and sacred places in the region for Buddhists as well as other religious communities. It is important to know the fact that Bodh Gaya neighbors the major Hindu tourist town of Gaya. The town is a sacred site associated with ancestral rituals ( shraddha).

The Mahabodhi Temple Complex at Bodh Gaya was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2002, and the burden of the place was once more transferred. Its status change to “World Heritage” brought international recognition and attention to Bodh Gaya; it’s raised some concerns that the spiritual and religious nature of Bodh Gaya could be changed and the fact that Bodh Gaya may become “museumized”- 

Bodhgaya’s significance to Hinduism  

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Bodh Gaya, located in the Gaya district of Bihar, is one of India’s most spiritually important sites. Gaya is a holy tourist attraction adored by both Buddhists and Hindus. There’s a unique sort of peace and calm that is found within Bodh Gaya. Gaya is a sacred place not only for Buddhists but it is also a place of worship for Hindus since this location has a variety of Hindu places of pilgrimage as well.

Gaya is situated 100 km away from Patna, which is the capital city. In the past, Gaya was part of the earliest Magadh Empire. Gaya is situated on the banks of the Falgu River and is considered to be one of the cities with the religious significance of Hindus. Three hills, Mangala-Gauri-Shringa-Sthan, and Ram-Shila Brahmayoni, are surrounded by three sides, creating an attractive and safe place. Gaya is a place that has been around for centuries and has an impressive historical and cultural heritage. Numerous modes of transportation link Gaya with other cities in Bihar as well as all of India.  

Gaya is sacred not only to Hindus but also to Buddhists since the area is home to many Buddhist places of pilgrimage. The banks of the Falgu River  and the temples that are located on the banks are stunning. A peepal tree on the banks of the Falgu River called Akshayavat is revered as sacred by Hindus. The tree is revered for its sacredness.  

The Mangla Gauri temple, which was believed to have been the first wife of Lord Shiva, is worshiped here. The two round stones that represent the breasts of the mythical Sati are considered sacred by Hindus. The most beautiful place to visit within Gaya is the Vishnupad Temple. The temple is situated on the banks of the Falgu River. Falgu River has a footprint of Vishnu cut into a piece of basalt. It is believed that it was Lord Vishnu, who defeated Gayasur by putting his foot over Gayasur’s chest.  

The ancient temple of Vishnupad was later restored in the hands of Queen Indore, Devi Ahilyabai, in the eighteenth century. Although Hindus affirm that the footprints at Vishunpad temple are those of Lord Vishnu, Buddhists consider footprints to belong to Lord Buddha. Vishunpad temple is nonetheless one of the most popular pilgrimage destinations.  

The name Gaya is derived from the legend that tells of the demon Gayasur, whom God Vishnu defeated in the course of a duel. It is a sacred place to Hindus.Lord Ram did a pindadanam there to honor his ancestors. Legend has it that Lord Ram came to Gaya to pay respect to his ancestors, and Sita was with the Lord. Gaya is also significant for Buddhists because it was the time when Lord Buddha gave his Fire Sermon, i.e., Adittapariyaya Sutta, in front of around 1000 farmers who were fire-worshippers. The impact of Buddha’s teachings was so profound that they accepted Buddhism.


thank you buddha

In a nutshell, Bodh Gaya is the holiest spot and has remained the center of veneration and pilgrimage for Hindus as well as Buddhists. It is situated along the shores of the Lilajan, Phalgur or Falgu river (also known as Uruwela during the time of Buddha). King Ashoka built the first Buddhist temple at the site.

It was here where Lord Rama, alongside brother Lakshmana and  Mata Sita , offered Pinda Dan to the father, Dasharatha, as well as remains a key Hindu pilgrimage spot for the ritual of Pinda Dan. Bodh Gaya, where Buddha was believed to have achieved the state of enlightenment, is among the four holy places of Buddhism.

If you’re planning to visit Bodh Gaya in the near future, Rush in to grab your space at Thank You Buddha Home Stay and take full advantage of tranquility and luxury.    

Frequently Asked Questions

How far is the Bodhi Tree from Thank You Buddha?

Mahabodhi Temple and Bodhi Tree is  more or less 5 min drive from Thank You Buddha.

Did Lord Rama visit Gaya?

Yes, Indeed. Lord Ram along with Lasxman and Mata Sita did come to Gaya to offer Pind Daan for their father Dashratha.

Why is Gaya Important for Buddhista? 

Gaya is equally significant for Buddhists since Lord Buddha delivered the Fire Sermon i.e. Adittapariyaya Sutta to about 1000 agricultural workers who were believed to be fire worshippers. The impact of Buddha’s teachings was so powerful that the majority of them were converted to Buddhism.

Thank You, Buddha, Namu Amida Butsu!

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