Bodhgaya, or Bodh Gaya, is located in the Gaya District of State of Bihar, India. This place is world famous and a sacred Buddhist pilgrimage center because it was here that the spiritual teacher Gautama Siddhartha, who was the founder of Buddhism, attained enlightenment about 2500 years ago. Here is an image of the magnificent Shakyamuni Buddha statue that is located in the famous Mahabodhi Temple of Bodhgaya. The Buddha’s half-open eyes signify meditation and the hint of a smile on the lips indicates a recognition of truth. This place was declared as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in year 2002. Shakyamuni is one of the names of the Buddha deriving from Shakya, the name of his clan. As per Buddhist scriptures, Prince Gautama Siddhartha, known as Buddha (“The Enlightened One”), after relinguishing everything reached the sylvan banks of Falgu river near Gaya in around 500 B.C. Here he sat down in meditation under a Bodhi tree and it was after three days and three nights that Gautama Buddha attained enlightenment and insight, and the answers that he had sought for years. He then spent seven weeks at seven different spots in the vicinity meditating and considering his experience. After seven weeks, he travelled to Sarnath, where he began teaching Buddhism. Disciples of Gautama Buddha began to visit the place where he had gained enlightenment during the full moon in the month of Vaisakh (April-May), as per the Hindu calendar. Over time, this place became known as Bodh Gaya, and the tree as the Bodhi Tree. Most of the major events of Buddha’s life, like enlightenment and last sermon, happened in Bihar. Buddhism as a religion was really born in Bihar and evolved here through his preaching and the example of his lifestyle of great simplicity, renunciation and empathy for everything living. The exact spot where Gautama Budha attaining enlightenment is now marked by the sprawling Mahabodhi Temple complex. It’s a very serene and peaceful place. Monks from all over the world can be found sitting at the foot of an enormous carved Buddha statue, reading holy scriptures in deep contemplation. The town is also home to dozens of Buddhist monasteries, maintained by various Buddhist countries. It is a place which should be visited or seen by a person of devotion and which would cause awareness of the nature of impermanence.