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The Bodhi Tree, located 100 kilometres to the south of Patna in the north Indian state of Bihar, is perhaps the most prominent and respected sacred places in Buddhism because of the rich historical significance attached to it. It is under this tree that Prince Siddhartha Gautama, the spiritual teacher who later became to be known as the Buddha, attained enlightenment. It is believed that Prince Siddhartha had to sit and meditate under this tree for seven days. Later on, a shrine known as Animisalocana Cetiya was erected on the spot where he had sat down. A small temple was also built near the Bodhi tree in the 7th century.
The Bodhi tree is a frequently visited destination spot by tourists and is one of the four main Buddhist pilgrimage sites. In fact, the Anandabodhi tree in Sravasti and the Bodhi tree in Anuradhapura, both of which are again significant places that find mention in the history of Buddhism, are believed to have been propagated from this tree here at Bodh Gaya. The aura of the Bodhi tree and the temple complex in which this tree is located have attracted sages, meditators and yogis to it ever since the time of the Buddha. Great and renowned spiritual figures like Buddhajnana, Padmasambhava, Vimalamitra, Nagarjuna and Atisha, have lived and meditated underneath the historically and religiously significant Bodhi Tree. Bodh Gaya is also popular for its UNESCO World Heritage Site- the Mahabodhi Temple Complex, which is just beside the tree. Religious people, as well as lovers of history, find this place especially fascinating.
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