December 23rd – 24th 2010
When I was a kid, I used to have a set of encyclopedias I loved to read. And in one of them, there was a story of Buddha and a picture of a statue of Buddha being enlightened under the Bodhi tree. I never thought the day would come I would actually be there, the place where he was enlightened, seeing the Bodhi tree which he sat under.
Only a 4-hour train ride from Varanasi, I stopped by Gaya before taking a rickshaw to Bodhgaya. The Mahabodhi Temple complex was filled with many Buddhists from all walks of life: orientals, whites, and Indians, some monks, some not. There was some sort of important figure from the Buddhist religion visiting and giving a lecture (not sure what language) and this attracted many people here at this time. And I guess this was the Buddhist version of Christmas.
(Bodhi tree where Buddha was enlightened.)
The Bodhi tree, I read later, is an off-shoot of the original. I was a bit disappointed but as this tree was grown from a portion of the original and is thus, a direct descendent of it, that’s not too bad. Lots of people were sitting around it in prayer or meditation.
p/s : A monkey tried to pee on me at the train station. Sneaky.