From time to time new documents, images, travel accounts and other
material relating to Bodh Gaya will be posted here.
(1) Beglar's Pillar
During the late 19th and early 20th century an unusual monument
was to be seen in the grounds of the Government Rest House at Bodh
Gaya. This monument consisted of the drums of about 10 Pala period
stupas arranged to form a pillar and with a stupa's pinnacle on
its top. There were 1650 tiny images of the Buddha on the pillar.
According to local lore in the early 1900's this monument had been
erected by Joseph Davidavich Beglar while he was renovating the
Mahabodhi temple in 1880-2. No trace of this pillar now exists and
I have been unable to find out what happened to it. I know of only
one mention of it, in Devapiya Valisinha's Buddhist Shrines in India
published in the 1948 and have been able to find only one photograph
[ 1. VIEW IMAGE
(2) This beautiful statue of Marachi, the Tantric Goddess of Dawn
was found in 1890 and is now on display at the Museum of Indian
Art in Berlin.
[ 2. VIEW IMAGE ]
(3) U Nu, the first prime minister of independent Burma was overthrown
in a coup in 1962, went into exile in India and spent most of the
rest of his life there. U Nu was a devote Buddhist and on the 16
November 1974, in keeping with Burmese custom, he took temporary
ordination under the Bodhi Tree at Bodh Gaya.
[ 3. VIEW IMAGE ]
(4) These two exceptional statues of Avalokitesvara and Maitriya
were removed from Bodh Gaya in the 19th century and are now on display
at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, USA. The statues are part
of a set and date from the 11th century.
[ 4. VIEW IMAGE ]
(5) This is a rare colored photo of Bodh Gaya taken in 1922. It
shows the entrance of the Mahabodhi Temple. In front of the temple
is an iron trellis with a beautifully flowering vine growing in
it. This trellis was removed when the temple precincts were tidied
up in preparation for the Buddha Jayanti in 1956.
[ 5. VIEW IMAGE ]
(6) Representations of the Mahabodhi Temple are sometimes depicted
on tear-shaped clay sealings that have been found at Bodh Gaya and
in several Buddhist countries. Another type of sealing with similar
representations have so far not attracted the attention of scholars.
The one shown here was found at Nalanda and is now in the Museum
of Fine Arts in Boston. The sealing shows the pinnacle of the Temple,
the amalaka on its top, and the Mahabodhi Image in the bhumiphassa
mudra inside it. The cealing dates from the 11th century. An almost
identical sealing is on display at the National Museum in Bangkok.
[ 6. VIEW IMAGE ]
(7) Several copies of the Mahabodhi Temple were built in ancient
times. There are numerous modern copies as well. This rather bazaar
copy was built in Kotahena, a suburb of Colombo, in 1928. The lower
part of the temple is a good copy of the original but the pinnacle
is completely different. This Kotahena Pagoda, as it is called,
attracted a lot of attention when it was first built. It is in a
very bad condition today.
[ 7. VIEW IMAGE ]
(8) A little to the north east of the Mahabodhi Temple is a much
smaller temple now mistakenly identified as the with the Animisa
Caitiya. I present here three photos showing how this temple appeared
before its renovation in 1880.
[ 8. VIEW IMAGE ]
(9) One of the most colorful modern temple at Bodh Gaya is the
Galupa temple right next to the Mahabodhi Society. This is what
it looked like in 1955.
[ 9. VIEW IMAGE ]
(10) In the 1780's the English artist William Daniell visited Bodh
Gaya during his tour of India. Later he made this picture of the
Mahabodhi Temple from sketches he had made at Bodh Gaya. It is the
earliest modern view of Bodh Gaya.
[ 10. VIEW IMAGE