The Bihar government has constituted the advisory board of Bodh Gaya temple (Mahabodhi Temple), a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the most important pilgrimage site for Buddhists.
The newly constituted advisory board has representatives from Buddhist countries, Central government, Bihar Legislative Assembly and several dignitaries.
According to the latest notification by the home department (special branch) of the state government, members from Buddhist countries in India, who are part of the newly constituted advisory board, include ambassadors of Bhutan, Thailand, Myanmar, Japan, Cambodia, Mongolia, South Korea, Vietnam, Laos and the high commissioner of Sri Lanka.
“Buddhist members from India, who are part of the board, include the representative of the Dalai Lama, secretaries (department of ecclesiastical affairs), government of Sikkim/Arunachal Pradesh/Ladakh, general secretary (Mahabodhi Society of India, Kolkata), Sri Nangzey Dorjee, IAS (Retd.) present member secretary, Bodhgaya Temple Management Committee, Bodhgaya,” says the notification.
Other members of the board are Joint Secretary, Union Ministry of External Affairs, Secretary (Union Ministry of Tourism), Secretary (Department of Tourism, Bihar government), Secretary (Department of Art, Culture and Youth, Bihar government), Director General (Archaeological Survey of India), Member of Parliament (Gaya), Member of Legislative Assembly (Bodhgaya), Commissioner (Magadh Division, Gaya-cum-member secretary, Bodhgaya Temple Advisory Board), Inspector General of Police (Magadh Range), Chairman (Bodhgaya Temple Management Committee- cum-district Magistrate, Gaya) and Nagar Parishad (Bodhgaya).
The advisory board’s main function is to direct the Bodh Gaya temple management committee on all matters related to the Mahabodhi Temple Complex, its management and protection. The complex is monitored and managed by the Bodh Gaya Temple Management Committee (BTMC).
The temple is monitored on a day-to-day basis by the BTMC. The advisory board of the temple is also approached by the BTMC for decisions regarding protection, maintenance and conservation of the temple complex and its environs.
The Mahabodhi temple complex at Bodh Gaya comprises the 50-metre high grand temple, the Vajrasana, the sacred Bodhi Tree and other six sacred sites of Buddha’s enlightenment, surrounded by numerous ancient Votive stupas, well maintained and protected by inner, middle and outer circular boundaries.
A seventh sacred place, the Lotus Pond, is located outside the enclosure to the south. Both the temple area and the Lotus Pond are surrounded by circulating passages at two or three levels and the area of the ensemble is 5 metre below the level of the surrounding land.