One of the branches of the historical ‘Bodhi tree’ in Sarnath, where Gautam Buddha had given his first sermon and set in motion the ‘Dharma-Chakra,’ has fallen.

According to Ven-Baddegama Nanda Thero, Assistant Bhikku in-charge of Mahabodhi Society of India, one of the branches of the ‘Bodhi tree’ fell on Friday morning.

“It appears the branch fell down because the stem of the tree was hollow from inside,” he said.

Additional District Magistrate (city) M.P. Singh said one of the branches of the sacred ‘Bodhi tree’ fell down on its own, which is natural for a any tree when it has become old.

“The caretakers of the Mulagandhakuti Vihara have cut down the fallen branch. There was no damage to the statues or the temple structures,” he said.

No one was hurt in the incident, Thero said and added that everything including the tree was safe and minor damage occurred to nearly half-a-dozen ‘Dhamma-Chakras’.

The ‘Bodhi tree’ has great historical and spiritual significance in the Buddhist pantheon.

It is believed that around 2,500 years ago, Gautama Buddha had attained ‘enlightenment’ after meditating for 49 days in Bodh Gaya under a pipal tree, which became known as ‘Bodhi tree’

According to legend, King Asoka’s daughter, Sanghamittra, had taken a shoot of the original ‘Bodhi tree’ with her to Sri Lanka and planted it there.

The present tree in Sarnath was planted in 1931 by Anagarika Dharmapala, founder of the Maha Bodhi Society of India, who brought a shoot of the ‘Bodhi tree’ from Sri Lanka and planted it in Sarnath.