Mahabodhi Temple Quick Facts
|Bodh Gaya, Bihar (India)
Mahabodhi Temple Overview
Mahabodhi Temple is a sacred Buddhist religious site built in Bodh Gaya in the Indian state of Bihar, located in the northeastern part of the country. This is the place where Mahatma Gautam Buddha attained enlightenment. The Temple is one of the earliest Buddhist temples in India. A glimpse of Dravidian architectural style is clearly visible in the construction of this temple. Every year, followers of Buddhism from all over the country and abroad come to Bodh Gaya to visit the famous Mahabodhi Temple.
Mahabodhi Temple History
The Mahabodhi Temple has been built in Bodh Gaya at the place where Lord Buddha first attained enlightenment. Mahatma Buddha is related to the 5th and 6th centuries BC. The history of this temple is quite interesting, which is associated with the Mauryan ruler Emperor Ashoka.
According to the estimates made by the experts, King Ashoka is considered to be the founder of the Mahabodhi Temple. It is believed that in the 3rd century BC, Emperor Ashoka, the first ruler to embrace Buddhism, installed his uniquely identifiable pillars in this temple, with elephants on top. The present Temple was built in the fifth or sixth century.
Mahabodhi Temple Interesting Facts
- One of the earliest Buddhist temples built entirely of bricks, and one of the oldest surviving brick structures in eastern India, still standing from the Gupta period.
- According to UNESCO, The present temple structure is considered important for its quickness and most impressive structure.
- A Balustrade and memorial pillar were also erected in the first temple built by Emperor Ashoka.
- The central lot of this temple is 55 meters high and it was repaired by the Burmese rulers in the 19th century, along with the four walls of the temple complex were also rebuilt.
- In 1880, some parts of the temple were renovated on the instructions of Alexander Cunningham, the founder of the Archaeological Survey of India, and Joseph David Begler, a Photographer.
- Four small lots built in the Dravidian architectural style surround the central lot from all sides.
- The Temple is surrounded on all sides by a boundary wall made of 2 meters high stones.
- Its structure is similar to the stupa established by Emperor Ashoka.
- In the inner part of the temple, there is a huge statue of Lord Gautam Buddha, who is in Padmasana posture.
- In Front of the statue of Lord Buddha built inside the temple, there are also huge footprints of Buddha on the brown sandstone, which is also said to be a symbol of the turning of the wheel of Dharma.
- Some of the walls of this temple have the shape of a lotus flower while on some of the four walls there are figures of Surya, Lakshmi and many other Hindu deities.
- The Huge Bodhi Peepal tree mentioned in the Jataka tales is also present here, which is located in the back part. Mahatma Buddha attained enlightenment under this tree.
- There is a Roofless ruin in the northwest direction of the temple, which is known as Ratnaghara. Buddha spent the fourth week at this place after attaining enlightenment.
- The largest and oldest monastery of Bodh Gaya is located an only five-minute walk from the western part of the temple, which was constructed in 1934 AD.
- The Temple was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 2002 and all religious artifacts of the region are legally protected under the Treasure Traves Act of 1878.
- In 2013, the upper part of the temple was covered with 289 kg of gold, and this gold was sent as a gift to the King of Thailand and Buddha devotees and was installed with the approval of the Archaeological Survey of India.
- On 7 July 2013, eight consecutive bomb blasts took place in the Mahabodhi temple complex, in which five people, including two monks, were injured.