Hundreds of Buddhist devotees thronged the famed Mahabodhi Temple here on Tuesday to observe the Kagyu Monlam Festival, in which devotees offer alms to monks in the hope of attaining salvation.
The alms offering ceremony was organized under the supervision of 17th Karmapa Lama.
The ritual is unique to India, where has been followed even before the birth of Lord Buddha.
"In India, this ritual is followed ever since the birth of Lord Gautam Buddha. The monks eat only during the daytime and meditate. They thus go to the devotees and ask for alms from them," said a monk, Ambapali.
Kagyu Monlam is a special Buddhist prayer for peace in the world.
This prayer is an avenue through which, in times of dire need, love and compassion can be made to spread like a great ripple outwards from Bodh Gaya.
Standing in long queues, devotees who had gathered from across the globe said that this ritual would help them in attaining salvation.
"We offer alms to the monks as we believe that by doing so we will attain salvation," said a devotee, Banko.
The Mahabodhi Temple complex in Bodh Gaya, the holiest of Buddhist shrines, is visited by Buddhist pilgrims from Sri Lanka, China, Japan and the entire of south East Asia.
The ancient temple is believed to have been built nearly 1500 years ago. Emperor Ashok the great visited this holy place in 260 BC and built a small temple there in honour of Buddha.
In the year 2002 the UNESCO had declared Mahabodhi Temple as a World Heritage Site. (ANI)