The Bodhi Tree of Sarnath is planted from a sapling taken from the Sri Maha Bodhi tree of Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka. The sapling was planted on 12 November 1931 by the venerable Sri Devamitta Dhammapala, founder of Maha Bodhi Society of India, to mark the opening of the Mulagandha Kuty Vihara.
Bodhi Tree of Sarnath, Isipathana Deer Park, Sarnath.
© Timothy Tye using this photo
The Sri Maha Bodhi of Anuradhapura was brought by Emperor Ashoka's daughter, the venerable Bhikkhuni Sanghamitta, as a branch of the Buddhagaya Sri Maha Bodhi tree (Ficus religiosa), under which Prince Sidhartha Gautama attained Enlightenment. The bodhi tree of Anuradhapura is the oldest religious tree in the world.
The retaining wall around the Bodhi tree and the images of the Sakyamuni Buddha preaching his first sermon to the first five disciples were erected in 1989 with the assistance of the Myanmar Buddhist devotees.
In 1999 the Bodhi tree complex was widened by making space for meditation and Dhamma sermons with twenty images of previous Buddhas around the Bodhi tree, beginning from Taranankara Buddha to Gautama Buddha, all said to have attained Enlightenment under the Sri Maha Bodhi tree at Buddhagaya and preached their first sermons at Isipatana Deer Park, Sarnath. A granite plate inscribed with the Dhamma Chakka Pavattana Sutta, the first sermon of the Sakyamuni Buddha was also erected. The entire Bodhi complex was declared open on 17 December 1999 by the Dalai Lama, with a message to the world to restore and promote peace and harmony.