Bodh Gaya blasts: Tourists, monks visit temple as life returns to normal

Bodh Gaya: Tuesday returned to normal in and around the revered Mahabodhi temple two days after a string of 10 bomb explosions rocked this Bihar town where Lord Buddha attained enlightenment.

"Large number of local people, Buddhist monks, devotees and tourists, including foreigners, visited the temple as usual since early Tuesday. Everything is getting normal here as shops and markets near the temple premises also reopened," said NH Khan, a police official.

 Bodh Gaya blasts: Tourists, monks visit temple as life returns to normal

Buddhist monks pray at the Mahabodhi temple in Bodh Gaya on Tuesday. AFP

Authorities with the cooperation of the Bodh Gaya Temple Management Committee reopened the temple Monday evening. The 1,500-year-old temple was shut for the public following the bomb explosions, a district official said.

People including monks and tourists could be seen walking around and purchasing goods. They were also spotted enjoying tea and breakfast at road-side snack shops as well as local restaurants, said Rakesh Kumar, a local resident.

"...streets near the temple were near deserted Monday but look today (Tuesday), it (the area) is full of life," said Kumar.

Hashimul Haque, a local businessman, said people at Bodh Gaya want only peace.

"We are peace loving and were restless and frustrated soon after blasts (which was) followed by a day-long shutdown by BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party) and RJD (Rashtriya Janata Dal). Now normalcy has returned with people moving freely around...," he told IANS here.

Munni Devi, a woman selling fruits near the temple, said after a gap of two days beggars, among them some children, have as usual started to pester devotees and tourists for money.

"This is enough indication of normalcy," she said.

But there are some, including a few Buddhist monks, who are not sure of safety despite unprecedented security deployment at Bodh Gaya for the past two days.

"We are yet to get rid of fear. Bomb explosions still haunt us," local resident Sunil Singh said.

Two days later, it was still not clear who exploded the 10 low-intensity bombs in the complex within 30 minutes - and why. The explosions injured two monks and caused slight damage to the temple structure.

The National Investigation Agency is probing thed attack.

The security has been stepped up in and around the temple, which is visited by millions from all over the Buddhist world.

Khan said more security forces with high-tech equipment would be deployed for round-the-clock vigilance at the temple.

Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has called for the deployment of the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) at the temple.

The Bodh Gaya temple is a Unesco World Heritage site. It is where the Buddha, who was born in neighbouring Nepal, attained enlightenment around 2,500 years ago.


Updated Date: Jul 09, 2013 18:02:51 IST