For a pilgrim visiting Bodh Gaya, it is not only an immense feeling to pray and feel the inner peace at Mahabodhi Temple but it is also a great opportunity and experience for him/her to go around Bodh Gaya and visit the different monasteries built by the countries of Japan, China, Bhutan, Thailand, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, Myanmar and Nepal. There are monasteries built by the Sikkimese and the Tibetan too. Each monastery has been built in a particular way so that it reflects the diverse Buddhist cultures of these regions and also their different architectural styles. These monasteries reflect as to how great a distance the religion of Buddhism has covered, after it was first preached by Lord Buddha in and around the region of present day Bihar.
In the year 1957 the then Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru invited the Royal Government of Thailand to build a monastery in Bodh Gaya to commemorate the 2500 years of Buddhism and strengthen Indo-Thai friendship. The king of Thailand responded by constructing a temple which is a classic specimen of Thai architecture. Considered as one of the most beautiful monasteries in Bodh Gaya it has a large ‘ashtadhatu’ statue of Buddha inside the Temple. Meditation classes are held in the morning and evening; the temple also houses a guest house for the convenience of pilgrims.
One of the oldest monasteries to be built in Bodh Gaya it was constructed in the year 1945 CE. Built in traditional Chinese style it was renovated in the year 1997 CE. The monastery has three, elegantly carved, Buddha statues in three contrasting patterns. It is located at a very short distance from the Mahabodhi Temple.
Built in 1936 CE this monastery was established by the Venerable Nandamala. It has been constructed in a manner which reflects Myanmar’s culture. It is located less than a kilometer from the Mahabodhi Temple. This monastery has two prayer halls, a meditation hall and a guest house for the convenience of pilgrims.
It is an institute established by Lama Thubten Yeshe in the year 1984 CE. It is a place where people of all nationality come and study the Buddha's teachings as explained in the Tibetan Mahayana tradition. Staying facilities for the convenience of common pilgrims or for retreat purposes are provided by the Root Institute. It is located at a distance of 2 kms from the Mahabodhi Temple.
Located very close to the Mahabodhi Temple the Vien Giac Institute was constructed in the year 2002 CE. The temple architecture reflects the Vietnamese culture and traditions. The temple houses a statue of Avalokiteswara (in a relaxed form). The temple has a prayer hall and a library (which has books in Vietnamese and English).
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