New Delhi: A day after the serial blasts, an ASI (Archaeological Survey of India) team visited the Mahabodhi temple in Bodh Gaya, Bihar, and found that only a few modern structures were damaged, an official said on Wednesday.

"Our Patna team visited the site the very next day after the blast. Their reports have confirmed that only a few modern structures were damaged. The ancient structure is unscratched," B.R. Mani, ASI additional director general said.

Even though the 1,500-year-old Mahabodhi temple is not an ASI-protected site, the ASI team visited the temple to ascertain the nature of damage as repairs to the structure were entrusted to it.

The report submitted by the ASI said that modern staircase near the Bodhi tree on the western side of the temple, which is believed to be the spot where Buddha attained enlightenment about 2,500 years ago, is damaged.

Windowpanes of the lamp house on the southern side of the main temple are broken, and the wooden rack near the main entrance of the Mahabodhi temple, where the shoes of pilgrims and devotees are stacked, was partly damaged.

The outside of the brick structure of the small shrines on the northern side of the temple too was partly damaged.

The ancient structure of Mahabodhi temple is estimated to have been built between 5th and 6th century AD. It was a long-lost structure that was re-discovered in the nineteenth century by Alexander Cunningham, who along with then Viceroy Lord Canning, founded ASI in 1861.

Mahabodhi temple is the holiest pilgrimage centre for Buddhists and is visited by millions of pilgrims annually from all over the world, especially from Sri Lanka, China, Japan and the Southeast Asia region.

"This is the first time that such an attack has taken place on a Buddhist temple, that too on a heritage site. It is extremely sad," Mani said.

(Agencies)

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