Bhubaneswar : A consecration ceremony for the installation of a new idol of Lord  Buddha was held at the Mahabodhi Society of India’s Bhubaneswar centre today.  In a small ceremony held under the Holy Bodhi tree, amidst the chanting of hymns, the Venerable Sewali Thero, General Secretary of Mahabodhi Society of India and other monks with many members of the Society placed the statue in the new pedestal. The President of the Mahabodhi Society of India’s Odisha Centre, Dr. Bimalendu Mohanty, Secretary Dr. Sourendra Mohapatro and  national Vice President Arya Kumar Jnanendra along with other members were present on the occasion.

The 63 year old Bodhi tree is a direct descendant of the original Bodhi tree at Gaya, under which Gautama Buddha had attained enlightenment. A seedling of the original Bodhi tree, which  was planted in 288 BCE at Bodh Gaya, was taken to Sri Lanka by Emperor Ashoka’s daughter princess Sanghamitra in the third century BC and planted at Anuradhapura. On May 13, 1957,  a seedling obtained from Sri  Lanka  was planted in the  premises  by the then Prime Minister of Myanmar U Nu.

Last year, Cyclone Fani had virtually ripped off the Bodhi tree. It could not withstand the ravage and was  uprooted, damaging the multitude of statues surrounding the base.  The tree has always been the centre of all rituals of Buddhism in the temple. The uprooted tree was made upright and miraculously has sprung to life again. The Buddha statues along with twenty eight smaller statues were replaced.