Bodhgaya: Peaceful land of Buddha
-A world heritage site, rich in culture where you can find more Buddhist than Hindus; 12 kms away from hustling Gaya; rich in monasteries and temples with Falgu (Niranjana) river flowing beside.
The journey from Gaya to Bodhgaya:
-An old crowded and narrow city; where sometimes cyclists overtake you because it’s a narrow city; honking is the only way of communication on streets; people stare at you if you are seen with non-Indians
-Grizzly dusty and muddy roads passing through old houses and touching every temples at almost each corner, rushy market with unguided traffic with a lot of cyclists and tempos shouting in abuzz to attract passengers.
-There are more things to wonder around than to see around. People in traditional outfits; Old and rustic sweet shops (Tilkut, Anarasa- most famous and delicious sweets); rushy road and careless people.
But, if you take your eyes off the streets and try to look around then there are hills (with little greenery), dry river, sacred and dirty ponds relating to the times of Ramayana and warm sun always over your head.
-By the time, we kept wondering around while moving in our vehicle, about odd stuffs around and glancing at city life running the way around, our vehicle was then running on highway to Bodhgaya. City was left behind.
City life ends, countryside life begins. Big green fields, vegetable farms, a river running along the highway, distant hills reflecting the sun galore, less than middle class people.
More cyclist and old vehicles but a classy place taking you back decades behind the development that our city has witnessed.
Before you reach the land of peace, you can feel the authentication of peace from a distance. A divine peace was getting restored in our mind as we were approaching Bodhgaya. Although the river, along which we were running, remains dry for most part of the year but, passion that it carries across the land of Buddha in her little patches of cool and serene water can be felt with closed eyes and breeze washing your face all along the highway.
The journey of 12 kms passed by like a dream flashed before our eyes. And, the vibes could be felt then when we entered the land of Buddha. So, the first thing that we did was to visit the main temple.
Story of the Mahabodhi temple and Gautam Buddha:
A temple rich in history dating back to times even before Alexandria was founded-when in the year of 563 BC a prince was born in Kapilvastu, Nepal on full moon day to teach the world the lesson of peace and his name was “Siddhartha”.
At the age of 29, ‘the prince turned king’ left behind his parents, wife and a newly born child in search of a way that would free the mankind from the cycle of worldly suffering.
He wandered in search of a teacher who would solve his enigma and would teach him the truth about truth that would end the cycle of birth and death.
He practiced severe austerities but to him all were insatiable. Wandering all over the places, he came to Bodhgaya and was offered “kheer” (milk-rice) by the daughter of village-head. He prepared a grass seat for himself and sat under the holy “Bodhi tree” in search of truth and at the age of 35, he attained supreme enlightenment under the tree and came to known as “Buddha” which means the all knowing one, the all compassionate one, one who would show us the truth to end all the sufferings.
You enter into a trance, a world of austerities, where self-gain is self-denial. you are carried away in the peaceful vibes which silently engulf you and carry you over to another world- A different world but a part of same mundane world. -Thousands of monks sitting peacefully and enchanting the message of Buddha. calling him in their prayers to enlighten the world once again.
I was surprised to see monks from almost all the Buddhist countries be it Srilanka, Myanmar, Japan, China, Thailand, Korea etc. Monks in maroon sitting inside tents and enchanting the “Dhamma”- prayers dedicated to Buddhism. Its loud, speakers are everywhere, sound coming from each tent and from everywhere, still there is a silent silence that can be heard in the loud sounds and can be felt around the tree. If its a mind that think so or if its in reality, was hard to decide but the moment was cherish-able.
The temple was large. Shoes are not allowed inside and there is less rush to enter the main temple. There is plenty of time to take a look at lord Buddha. Behind the temple is the Bodhi tree- the tree under which Buddha achieved supreme enlightenment is much large and spreadeagled. People sitting under and meditating, some trying to feel the aura of peace.
-Stones shaped in form of bells replicating the main temple tomb; Marigold flower kept in copper pots filled with water and in hundreds in number; colorful flayer waving all around; white, golden, yellow and maroon peace of clothing’s tied all along the way; a part of premise specially dedicated for offering prayer peacefully; I was truly into a dreamland- Had never seen so much of extravaganza but they made sure that the ultimate message was the “peace”.
Kankamana?-the cloister walk:
Situated on the north part of the temple, It is said that during the second week, the Buddha remained standing and stared, uninterrupted, at the Bodhi tree. This spot is marked by the Animeshlocha Stupa and there stands a statue of Buddha with his eyes fixed towards the Bodhi tree.
The Buddha is said to have walked back and forth between the location of the Animeshlocha Stupa and the Bodhi tree. According to legend, lotus flowers sprung up along this route, it is now called Ratnachakarma or the jewel walk.
-To replicate those lotus flower, 15 lotus flowers carved from stone are kept there and people offer prayer there to the feet of lord Buddha.
Besides the main temple, there are a lot of things to roam around: 80 feet Buddha, Monasteries of different countries, local market, fish pond etc.
The high sun was low now and so were the heat. Our journey was coming to an end. It was time to leave the holy city of peace. Having seen almost each and every monasteries and temple around, we almost forgot that we were in India then. The ambiance around competes with some Buddhist countries and is not lesser than them.
Our vehicle slowly moved ahead returning back to home. The high sun going down moved along with us through trees and temples.
The forehead of the temple was glaring in the sun. we were running along the same Nirajana river with our soul and mind engulfed in peace and temple which has been guiding the mankind since centuries and showing the path of peace, gradually disappearing in the halo of the sun and getting diminished with each turn of the wheel while we moving ahead.
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