Bodhgaya Current Affairs - 2020

Samantha Express

Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) will launch a new train Samantha Express on February 14 from Nagpur. The Samantha Express will cover prominent places associated with Gautam Buddha and chief architect of the Constitution Dr B R Ambedkar.

Journey of Samantha Express

The Samantha express will run through the following places:

  • Chaityabhoomi (Mumbai): Dr Ambedkar was cremated here after his death on 6 December 1956 and it hosts a memorial for Dr Ambedkar.
  • Mhow (Indore): Dr Ambedkar was born at Mhow.
  • Bodhgaya (Gaya): Bodhgaya is a place where Buddha is said to have obtained Enlightenment under Bodhi Tree.
  • Sarnath (Varanasi):  Gautama Buddha first taught the Dharma here.
  • Lumbini (Nautanwa): It was here Gautama Buddha was born.
  • Kushinagar (Gorakhpur): It was here Gautama Buddha attained Parinirvana after his death.
  • Deekshabhoomi (Nagpur): It was here Dr Ambedkar converted to Buddhism.

Dr B R Ambedkar and Buddhism

About two months prior to his demise, Dr Ambedkar converted to Buddhism. Speaking about conversion Dr Ambedkar had said that everybody has to admit that conversion is necessary to the Untouchables as self-government is to India. The ultimate object of both is the same and there is no difference in ultimate goal. The ultimate aim is to attain freedom. Freedom is necessary for the life of mankind. Conversion of Untouchables would provide them with complete freedom. The conversion cannot be called worthless by any stretch of the imagination.

Union Government to develop Bodhgaya as Spiritual Capital

Union Government is going to develop Bodhgaya in Gaya district of Bihar as Spiritual Capital of the country in order to serve the civilisational bond between India and the Buddhist world.

It was announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi while addressing delegates from 90 countries on the concluding day of the International Buddhist Conclave held at Bodh Gaya.

In his address Prime Minister called Gautam Buddha as India’s crown jewel and called Bodh Gaya as the land of enlightenment.

About Bodhgaya

  • Bodhgaya is a religious site and place of pilgrimage associated with the Mahabodhi Temple Complex in Gaya district of Bihar.
  • Significance: It is famous because it place where Gautama Buddha (Founder of Buddhism) is said to have obtained Enlightenment (Bodhimandala) under the peepal tree which is known as the Bodhi Tree.
  • For Buddhists, Bodh Gaya is the most important place and one of the main four pilgrimage sites related to the life of Gautama Buddha. Other three are Kushinagar, Lumbini, and Sarnath.
  • In 2002, Mahabodhi Temple located in Bodh Gaya was accorded with UNESCO World Heritage Site status.