Bodh Gaya is documented by many inscriptions and pilgrimage accounts. Foremost among these are the accounts of the Chinese pilgrims Fa Hien in the 5th century and Xuanzang in the 7th century. The area was at the heart of a Buddhist civilization for centuries, until it was conquered by Turk armies in the 13th century. Numerous monasteries and temples devoted to Buddha have been constructed by various countries and visitors throng along this place throughout the year.
If you wish to experience the vibrations of enlightenment and spirituality, Bodhgaya is a place just perfect for you. That is what makes Bodhgaya the most visited destinations of the world. As India is land of sages, gurus, and heightened spirituality, Bodhgaya becomes even more important for those in quest of unearthing spirituality to its roots. It is here a prince raised his consciousness to become a lord. It is here a man became the Mahatma. Bodhgaya is located in the central part of Bihar near the Nirajana River. The river is also known as Falgu. It is exactly 13 km from the Gaya town.
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.