The city of Bodh Gaya is located in the district of Gaya which is one of the districts of Bihar. This ancient place of Bodh Gaya has several contradictions in its name. According to the one inscription, at the time of Buddha, the name of the place was Uruvela because of the presence of sand. After passing around two centuries of Buddha’s Enlightenment, this place was called by four names – Sambodhi, Bodhimanda, Vajrasana and Mahabodhi.
Each and every name has different connotation broadly associated with the life history of Lord Buddha. The name of Sambodhi refers to “complete enlightenment” whereas Bodhimanda refers to the spot under the Bodhi Tree where the Buddha attained Enlightenment. Vajrasana simply means the “Diamond Throne” where Lord Buddha sat to attain the Enlightenment and the name of Mahabodhi is most enduring name which stands for “great enlightenment”. However, with the passage of time, the place came to be known as the Bodh Gaya and the tree where he attained Enlightenment as Bodhi Tree.
Fahien first makes reference to the main temple and the Bodhi tree in 404-05 A.D. Hieun Tsang, who visited the site in 637 A.D. mentions the presence of walls surrounding the Bodhi tree, within which stood the Mahabodhi temple nearly 160 feet tall and a large fine sanctuary. Several additions and alterations took place and the present temple may be datable to the 6th century A.D. The temple fell into disuse in the 13th century A.D. after the conquest of this region by the Delhi Sultanate. During the 19th century, the Burmese kings made certain repairs which were continued by the British in 1880-84.
The sacred Bodhi tree stands to the west of the above temple. It is known as the pipal tree (Ficus religiosa) in India. It is believed that this tree is the direct descendant of the original tree under which Lord Buddha meditated.
Must visit these places at Bodh Gaya:-
Statue of Buddha