Mahabodhi Temple Complex at Bodhgaya
Experience a unique spiritual feel at Mahabodhi Temple Bihar, IndiaStudents of ancient history will know who Siddhartha Gautama was: Buddha. During your travels to India, visit the Buddhist Mahabodhi Temple in Bodhgaya where Buddha attained enlightenment.
The Temple is located in the northeastern Indian state Bihar. In Sanskrit, maha means large and bodhi means enlightenment or awakening. The brick, 160-foot-high Mahabodhi temple was built during the 1st to 3rd centuries A.D. The outer facade features seven steps and is decorated with numerous Buddha statues. Inside the temple, there is a gold-plated statue of the meditating Buddha. The temple complex houses numerous Stupas. At the west side of the pyramid-shaped large Stupa, there is the holy Mahabodhi Tree, a poplar fig (ficus religiosa, also called Bodhi tree). It is from the original tree, under which the Siddhartha Gautama attained enlightenment.
Around 250 B.C. Siddhartha Gautama visited the Buddhist ruler Ashoka Bodhgaya with the intention to create a memory place comprised of monasteries and shrines. During the Sunga period, an open pavilion with stone columns was erected around the Bodhi tree. The Mahabodhi temple, built during the 2nd century, was made out of sandstone. In the year 625 B.C., the temple and the original Mahabodhi tree were destroyed during a war. Later, the temple was reconstructed out of coarse granite and a Mahabodhi tree was planted in place of the Bodhi tree. Around the year 635 B.C. during his pilgrimage journey Siddhartha Gautama visited the Chinese monk Xuanzang at the temple and left behind a description of the place in his stories.
Over the centuries, monks from around the world have visited the temple in Bodhgaya . During the 12th and 13th centuries, restorations were carried out and the four small towers were erected at the corners of the large Stupa. In 2002, UNESCO added the temples to its list of World cultural heritage sites.