An Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) team visited the Mahabodhi temple in Bodh Gaya, Bihar, after Sunday’s serial blasts and found that only modern structures had been damaged.
“Our Patna team visited the site the very next day after the blast. Their reports have confirmed that only a few modern structures were damaged. The ancient structure is unscratched,” said BR Mani, ASI additional director general.
Even though the 1,500-year-old Mahabodhi temple is not an ASI-protected site, the ASI team visited it after the serial blasts to ascertain the nature of damage as the repair work to the structure, a UNESCO World Heritage site, was entrusted to it.
The report submitted by the ASI said the modern staircase near the Bodhi tree on the western side of the temple, which is believed to be the spot where Buddha attained enlightenment about 2,500 years ago, is damaged.
Windowpanes of the lamp house on the southern side of the main temple are broken, and the wooden rack near the main entrance of the Mahabodhi temple, where the shoes of pilgrims and devotees are stacked, was partly damaged. The outside of the brick structure of the small shrines on the northern side of the temple too were partly damaged.
The Mahabodhi temple is the holiest pilgrimage centre for Buddhists and is visited by millions of pilgrims annually from all over the world. “This is the first time that such an attack has taken place on a Buddhist temple, that too on a heritage site. It is extremely sad,” Mani said.
Did you know?
Mahabodhi temple is estimated to have been built between 5th and 6th century AD. It was a long-lost structure that was re-discovered in the 19th century by Alexander Cunningham, who along with then viceroy Lord Canning, founded the ASI in 1861