Buddha tree alive and healthy at age 2,500

July 20, 2012 at 5:54 PM

BODH GAYA, India, July 20 (UPI) -- The 2,500-year-old tree under which Gautama Buddha is believed to have attained enlightenment is alive and healthy, Indian scientists said Thursday.

The Bodhi tree, a large Sacred Fig (Ficus religiosa,) is in Bodh Gaya in India's eastern state of Bihar, about 60 miles from the state capital of Patna.

"The Bodhi tree is fully healthy," Subhash Nautiyal of the Forest Research Institute in India's northern state of Uttarakhand said.

Nautiyal and colleagues examined the tree after removing the cement slabs around its base, China's Xinhua News Agency reported.

"It will help the tree to receive water and nutrition in its roots," the scientists said.

The 1,500-year-old temple behind the sacred tree is visited by large numbers of tourists from all over the world, particularly from Japan.

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