Bodh Gaya is the most important pilgrimage spot of the Buddhists! This is where Gautam Buddha attained enlightenment. Enlightenment means knowledge, wisdom, an understanding of life and why there is suffering and how it can be replaced with joy, peace and contentment forever.
Gautam Buddha was born a prince named Siddhartha around 530 BC. It was predicted that Siddhartha would grow up to be either a mighty king or would give up his family and all his riches to become a teacher of great wisdom.
But the king wanted his son to succeed him and not go away to become a teacher or saint. So he sheltered Siddhartha from all kinds of suffering and pain, while he was growing up. He hoped that if Siddhartha experienced only joy in the palace he would never leave it. But one day Siddhartha found out about old age, sickness and death. He realized that everyone would someday grow old, get sick and die. He became very upset and quietly left his wife, son and riches behind to find out the real meaning of life.
While searching for answers he reached the banks of Falgu River, near the city of Gaya in India. This is that sacred place. Here, he sat in meditation under a fig tree and made a promise to himself. He vowed that he would not get up until he found the answers to the questions that bothered him.