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Home > News > PTI

Branch of holy Buddhist tree is cut

Anand Mohan Sahay in Patna | July 20, 2006 19:23 IST

A branch of the holy "Bodhi tree" was cut off by some unknown people at the world famous Mahabodhi temple in Bihar's Bodh Gaya town - where the Buddha attained enlightenment 2,550 years ago.

Hundreds of Buddhist monks were hurt and angry over the chopping off a branch of the holy tree. Tension grips near the temple premises as angry monks threatened to protest.

The Gaya district officials and the temple management committee officials were tightlipped about the incident.

Some local people as well as shopkeepers near the temple reportedly said that a branch of tree was cut off three or four days ago.

"A branch of the holy tree is missing. It is a move by some miscreants to play with religious sentiments of Buddhists" a monk told over telephone from Bodh Gaya.

Sources said Gaya district magistrate and superintendent of police rushed to the temple premises Thursday afternoon and were investigating.

According to sources, about three decades ago a big branch of the tree was cut off and it resulted protest by monks.
Only last year tree was saved by scientists from infection, disease and pollution.  The tree was attacked by milibug disease five years ago. An alarm was raised by the Mahabodhi Temple Management Committee when the leaves started turning black.

Thousands of Buddhist pilgrims from across the world carry back leaves from the tree. An official of the Mahabodhi Temple, which the UNESCO has declared a World Heritage Site, said the Bodhi tree is the sixth regeneration of the original banyan tree.

Emperor Asoka, a Hindu who converted to Buddhism, had a railing built around the Mahabodhi tree to protect it.

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