is one of the most important and sacred Buddhist pilgrimage center in
the world. It was here under a banyan tree, the Bodhi Tree, Gautama
attained supreme knowledge to become Buddha,the Enlightened One. Born;
in the foothills of the Himalayas as a Sakya prince of Kapilvastu (now
in Nepal), most of the major events of his life, like enlightenment and
last sermon, happened in Bihar. Buddhism as a religion was really born
in Bihar and evolved here through his preaching and the example of his
lifestyle of great simplicity, renunciation and empathy for everything
living. Significantly, the state's name of 'Bihar' originated from 'Vihara'
meaning monasteries which abounded in Bihar. Several centuries after
Buddha's passing away, the Maurya Emperor Ashoka (234-198 BC)
contributed tremendously towards the revival, consolidation and spread
of the original religion. It is the monasteries, Ashoka built for the
Buddhist monks and the pillars known as Ashokan Pillars erected to
commemorate innumerable historical sites associated with the Buddha's
life, mostly intact to this day, that helped scholars and pilgrims alike
to trace the life events and preaching of a truly extraordinary man.
There is a magnificent Mahabodhi temple and the Tree from the original
sapling still stands in the temple premises. The temple is an
architectural amalgamation of many centuries, cultures and heritages.
While its architecture has a distinct stamp of the Gupta era, it has
later ages inscriptions describing visits of pilgrims from Sri Lanka,
Myanmar and China between 7th and 10th century AD. It is perhaps still
the same temple Hieuen Tsang visited in 7th century.
Temperature (Max./Min.) Deg C: Summer
cms (Mid-June to Mid-September)
Season: October to March.