ASI wants marble removed from Bodhi tree


Patna : The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) is to probe why the Bodhgaya temple management has not removed marble slabs around the base of the Bodhi tree where Lord Buddha gained enlightenment.

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Gautam Sengupta, director general of ASI, has ordered the investigation, an official said here Thursday.

A team of experts from ASI had suggested in 2008 that the marble slabs should be removed so as to protect the tree at the holy Buddhist site. They wanted the marble to be replaced by sandstone slabs.

According to them, the marble flooring around the temple was adversely affecting the old structure. Being less porous, marble does not allow the evaporation of sub-soil water.

A team of scientists from the Dehradun-based Forest Research Institute (FRI) had also made the same recommendation.

The temple committee had sought the help of FRI in 2007 after the Bodhi tree was affected with milibug disease.

FRI had suggested that space should be left between sandstone tiles to grow grass. This would provide better aeration to the roots of the Bodhi tree.

The temple committee has not acted on the suggestions. “Nothing has been done so far,” an ASI official said.

But temple committee member secretary Nangzey Dorjee told IANS over telephone that the marble slabs would be removed soon. “We will replace it with sandstones as suggested by experts.”

It was in Bodh Gaya that Lord Buddha attained enlightenment over 2,500 years ago. The 1,500-year-old Bodh Gaya temple stands behind the sacred Bodhi tree.