Bihar developing Pragbodhi, Buddha meditated here for 6yrs before enlightenment
- Halfway to the top of Dungeshwari hill at Pragbodhi, there are three caves, known as Mahakaala caves where Lord Buddha meditated for six years before achieving enlightenment.
A statue of Lord Buddha will be installed atop the Dungeshwari hill at Pragbodhi, located 12 kilometres northeast of Mahabodhi temple at Bodh Gaya.
Lord Buddha is believed to have meditated for six years at the hill before leaving for Bodh Gaya. The hill top is dotted with seven Buddhist Stupas and the remains of five of these Stupas can still be witnessed there.
Halfway to its top, there are three caves, known as Mahakaala caves where Lord Buddha meditated for six years before achieving enlightenment. Hence, the area is known as Pragbodhi. At the site of his meditation at the Mahakaal cave, there still exists an image of Lord Buddha, emaciated after years of fasting and meditation.
It’s to mark this incident in the life of Lord Buddha that the state tourism has planned to install his statue atop the hill. Besides, the area around Pragbodhi too is being developed with a cafeteria, souvenir shops and basic amenities for tourists.
"While Lord Buddha's site of enlightenment has already achieved UNESCO status, there’s the plan to develop his site of meditation. Pragbodhi is now gaining popularity and tourists, especially those from foreign countries make it a point to see Pragbodhi and the Mahakala cave at Dungeshwari hill. But the place needs tourist facilities," Narayan Prasad, Bihar tourism minister said at a meeting held at Gaya on Saturday to review tourism projects related to the twin cities of Gaya and Bodh Gaya.
The minister said that Bihar state tourism development corporation (BSTDC), the commercial wing of the state tourism, which has been handling these tourism projects, has been asked to develop world class facilities at Pragbodhi considering the high flow of foreign tourists. “They have also been directed to finish the pending works...before the onset of tourism season in October,” he said.
The minister added that a Buddha statue atop the Dungeshwari hill will enhance tourism attractions at Pragbodhi. Besides, a ropeway too has been planned for this hill. “At present, visitors need to walk to the hilltop. Ropeway will make the trip to the hilltop easier and convenient,” he said.
An official from the BSTDC, who did not want to get quoted, said the tender for the ropeway at Dungeshwari is yet to be floated by the tourism department.