This is a temple with a history of over 2500 years and is the same place where Gautama Buddha is said to have attained enlightenment. It is in Gaya which is a few kilomteres away from Patna and is considered as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This temple around what is known as the Mahabodhi tree is said to have been built by Emperor Ashoka, who was an ardent follower of Lord Buddha after he left the path of violence and shifted completely to non- violence following the teachings of Lord Buddha. The Emperor visited this place in the 3rd Century BC and decided to pay his respects to Buddha. Afterwards also when Fa Hien, the ambassador from China visited this place he has mentioned it in his account. He has mentioned seeing the Bodhi Tree surrounded by brick walls. This temple is the forst brick temple dedicated to Lord Buddha and is often considered as the oldest and most important place of Buddhist worship in the country. Later with the advent of the Delhi Sultanate in the 18th Century, the temple lost its importance completely and was not repaired or maintained at all. Later again with the fall of the intolerant Delhi Sultans and the advent of the Burmese rulers, the temple recieved its necessary maintenance and this carried on till the time of the British. People flock here in huge numbers every year to seek blessings from the lord.
This is the only Thai Temple and monastery in India which was built by a Thai Monarch. It was on the request of the former Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru that this temple was built. The main aim ws to strenghthen relations between Thailand and India and this place also became a favourite of tourists- Buddhists or not. The temple is just adjacent to the tourist bungalow and has typical, subtle Thai architectural patterns and designs with sloping roofs and pagoda style facades. There is a beautiful idol of Buddha made of Bronze inside. The recent addition is a life size idol of the Lord. The best thing firstly is that you are welcomed inside the temple irrespective of your caste, creed, clan or social status and the second is the peaceful atmosphere of the temple. This is an apt place to meditate and detoxify yourelf.
Indosan Nippon Japanese Temple
Near the giant Buddha Statue in the Thai Temple Complex is the Idosun Nippon Japanese Temple. This is a typical Japanese Temple which was made quite a few years ago but has recently opened up for the public. The temple posses very authentic, minimal designs like many other Japanes temples. There is a huge, 80 ft idol of Lord Buddha inside the temple and from outside it looks nothing but a nice, Japanese mansion and nothing more. There are a number of temples close to the Mahabodhi Tree and this is one of those. All of these are equally beautiful and has a unique charm. Make sure that you have enough time in your hands to explore all of these.