On the left of the Mahabodhi Temple lies the Bodhi tree, a central symbol in Buddhism. It marks the spot where the original Bodhi tree once stood, under which Lord Buddha attained enlightenment. For more than a month, Siddhartha (as Buddha was earlier called) meditated beneath a sacred fig tree in Bodhgaya. Every year on December 8, Buddhist followers across the world celebrate Bodhi Day, a celebration of Buddha’s enlightenment underneath the Bodhi tree. The present Bodhi tree is probably the fifth succession of the original tree. Surrounded by beautifully carved votive stupas, chaityas (Buddhist prayer halls) and several statues of Lord Buddha, one can find Buddhist monks sitting here in peace, reading or meditating. It is said that emperor Ashoka's daughter, Sanghamitta (or Sanghmitra), took a branch from the original Bodhi tree from Bodh Gaya to Sri Lanka, and planted it in the city of Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka. That Bodhi tree is still alive and is supposedly the oldest continually documented tree in the world. The current Bodhi tree in Bodh Gaya is believed to have been grown from a sapling brought from the one in Sri Lanka.

Other Attractions in Bodh Gaya