Bodh Gaya or Bodhgaya is an Indian city in the Gaya district of the state of Bihar, in the northeast of the nation. It is situated at an altitude of 111 meters above sea level. It is a holy place in Buddhism because according to its creed it was there that Prince Siddhartha, who was to become a Buddha, attained enlightenment.
Buddhist tradition states that around the 5th century B.C., Prince Siddhartha, who became a Buddha, attained enlightenment there. The Buddhist tradition states that Prince Siddhartha Gautama came to Bodh Gaya as an ascetic monk.
He sat under the bodhi tree (religious ficus) where, after three days and three nights of continuous meditation and inner struggle against the temptations of the maras, Shakyamuni Buddha attained enlightenment or nirvana.
Since then, the locality became a place of pilgrimage for Buddhists from all over the world and was the center of world Buddhism until the decline of this religion in India.
One of the greatest temples of Buddhism was the Mahabodhi temple, supposedly founded by the Indian emperor and devout Buddhist, Asoka, some 250 years after the Buddha's enlightenment.
However, the temple was destroyed after the Islamic conquest of India and rebuilt in the 19th century by Sir Alexander Cunningham, an archaeologist with the British Archaeological Society.
Multiple other Buddhist temples have been built in the city, the second oldest being the Mahabodhi, the Sinhalese temple built by monks from Sri Lanka.
Other Buddhists from Bhutan, China, Japan, Burma, Nepal, Sikkim, Thailand and Tibet (two) created temples, which are representative of the Buddhist cultures and traditions of their respective countries and allusive to their traditional architecture. Thus, the Chinese temple is a pagoda and the Japanese temple has a typically Japanese structure. Tibetans have two different temples.
According to one estimate, in 2011 it had a population of 41,087 inhabitants.