Early in the morning on the full moon day of Vesakha, as he was seated in deep meditation under the Bodhi Tree, unaided and unguided by any supernatural agency but solely relying on his own efforts, Siddattha Gotama attained bodhi_ by bodhi is meant an ideal state of intellectual and ethical perfection, also known as Buddhahood.
Buddhagaya or place of Buddha’s enlightenment is situated on the banks of the river Niranjana, Buddhagaya was originally a part of the Uruvela village (presently Urail). Its geographical location is at 24o 41′ 45” N. Latitude and 85o 2′ 22” E. Longitude and is located in Bihar.
The Buddha’s experience at Uruvela not only resulted in the location changing its name to Bodhgaya or Buddhagaya; it has also meant that this, otherwise an obscure village, has been the focus of attention for millions of pilgrims. It became very early and remains even today, the most important place of Buddhist pilgrimage. The exact place where the Buddha sat, when he was enlightened, was called Vajrasana meaning ‘Diamond Throne’. The Vajrasana was also, sometimes, called the Victory Throne of all the Buddha’s (Sabbabuddhanam Jayapallankam) or the Navel of the Earth (Pathavinabhi). The Vajrasana which was also called Sambodhi by King Asoka but the most widely used and also the most enduring of Buddhagaya’s names was Mahabodhi meaning ‘great enlightenment’.The Mahabodhi Temple has been built where Lord Buddha got divine light.
Buddhagaya remained the cynosure of the Buddhist world upto the 13th century, thereafter due to the sudden political upheavals that took place in and out of India, activities at Buddhagaya were also interrupted and disrupted. The place was deserted and became desolate and it remained neglected and forgotten for several centuries.