Missing jewellery found in former Bodh Gaya priest’s room


Patna : Missing precious ornaments and jewellery donated by devotees to the Bodh Gaya Mahabodhi temple, among the holiest Buddhist sites in the world, have been recovered from the room of a former chief priest. He was earlier indicted for chopping a branch of the revered Bodhi tree.

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Gaya district administration officials recovered the missing items, including a heavy gold crown, after they opened a locked wooden box in the room of Bhadant Bodhipal at Bodh Gaya, about 110 km from here, two days ago.

“It shocked all. It was a violation of the rules of temple management,” said a member of the newly formed Bodh Gaya Temple Management Committee (BGTMC).

Temple officials told IANS by telephone that the items recovered include a gold crown weighing nearly one kilogram, a throne decorated with precious stones and ornaments.

All these items were missing till date as per official records, they said.

The district administration has assured the BGTMC it would investigate the matter.

Bodhipal is one of the three former temple officials who were named as accused for allegedly chopping off a branch of the revered Bodhi tree, believed to be the one under which the Buddha attained enlightenment 2,550 years ago.

Buddhist monks alleged they chopped off a branch for selling it abroad.

Bodhipal was forced to resign from the post of chief priest of the temple after Magadh division commissioner K.P. Ramaiah last year submitted his report in a Gaya court, finding three temple officials guilty.

The three officials were Bodhipal, Kalicharan Yadav, ex-officio secretary of BGTMC, and public relations officer Bhajju Yadav.

The 1,500-year-old temple at Bodh Gaya was declared a World Heritage Site in 2002 by Unesco.