BODHGAYA MONASTRIES

PRAGBODHI CAVES

The hill is situated about 3 miles to the north-east of Buddhagaya on the eastern bank of the river Phalgu. The hill had been identified by Cunningham with the Pragbodhi mountain of the Buddhist tradition, where the Buddha is said to have lived for six years before he proceeded to Uruvela, i.e., modern Buddhagaya. The identification is based on the fact, that, half way up the western slope of the hill, facing the river Phalgu, is a natural fissure or cavern, shaped like a crescent, 37’x5½’, with a small entrance 3’ 2’’ wide and 4’ 10’’ high, where the Buddha is said to have lived. Both Fa Hian and Hiuen Tsang visited and described the cave of the Pragbodhi mountain and their accounts, according to Cunningham, would perhaps refer to this cave. The height of the cave at the other end i.e. southern end is hardly 2’ 7’’, while the width is 1’ 7’’. At the back or east side of the cavern there is a ledge of rock, which probably served as a pedestal for the shadow of Buddha also figures on the rock. 


At present there is a small temple that is maintained by the Tibetan monks and just above the temple there is a cave which sheltered the Bodhisattva during his stay there. Below that the pilgrims can see the foundations of a large monastic complex and on the top of the mountain the ruins of several ancient stupas. The peaceful environment around Pragbodhi, its wild beauty and the powerful presence can be felt in the cave made it worth visiting.