Bodh Gaya- a centre of Buddhist pilgrimage
This assignment will focus on the archaeological dimensions and evolution of the site of Bodh Gaya, a small town in the Gaya district of Bihar in India. Bodh Gaya is associated with the enlightenment of Lord Buddha (566-486 BC) the sacred “Bodhi tree” (Banyan tree) under which he is believed to have reached enlightenment hence, the place is highly respected by the Buddhists monks as well as the laypeople. Being one of the most important of the main four pilgrimage sites related to the life of Gautama Buddha, the other three being Kushinagar, Lumbini, and Sarnath the Mahabodhi temple complex, inside which the “Bodhi tree” exists, became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2002. This assignment will also deal with several issues of conservation, syncretism and the history of contestation.