Bodh Gaya Temple Management Committee (BTMC) member secretary N Dorjee said the priests of Bodh Gaya's Mahabodhi temple, Buddhism's holiest shrine, performed rituals before the saplings were sent to Delhi.

"A special prayer was organised at the sanctum of the Mahabodhi temple for the healthy growth of the sapling of Bodhi tree in China and Mongolia," he said.

"A high level delegation of the Indian government would take the sapling of the sacred Bodhi Tree during their visit to China and Mongolia later this month and would be presented to the government there as a good gesture," temple's chief monk Bhikkhu Chalinda said.

According to BMTC officials, last month, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) had sent a letter addressed to the Bihar government for the sapling of the the sacred Bodhi Tree.

Till date, the sapling of Bodhi Tree has been gifted to Sri Lanka, Thailand, South Korea, Vietnam, Nepal and Bhutan.

Buddhists revere the holy Bodhi Tree and even the leaves are worshipped by them. The 1,500-year-old Mahabodhi temple is a World Heritage Site where the Buddha, who was born at Lumbini in neighbouring Nepal, attained enlightenment around 2,500 years ago.

The Bodh Gaya temple is visited by millions of pilgrims annually from all over the world, especially from Sri Lanka, China, Japan and the Southeast Asian region.

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