Mahabodhi Temple

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India >> Bihar >> Bodhgaya >> Attractions >> Mahabodhi Temple

Mahabodhi Temple

History

A feeling of tranquillity engulfs one as soon as one enters the sacred Mahabodhi Temple complex. The Mahabodhi temple was once known as Bodhimanda-vihara (Pali) and the Bodhi tree is the old sacred tree which is located adjacent to the Mahabodhi temple of Bodh Gaya. Bodhgaya is the second most sacred place of pilgrimage where Buddha attained enlightenment under the Bodhi Tree at the age of 35 and came to be known as Buddha, meaning the ‘all knowing one’ and the ‘all compassionate one’. The Maha Bodhi or the Pipal tree is known as the tree of awakening. After attaining enlightenment, Buddha spent seven more weeks in meditation in seven different places around the Bodhi Tree. The Mahabodhi Mahavihara, beside the Bodhi tree was declared a World Heritage Site in the year 2002.

The Mahabodhi Temple in Bodhgaya, marked by a 52 mt tall spire and home to a large gilded statue of the Buddha, stands next to the Bodhi Tree. The temple is believed to have been built by the Emperor Ashok, and is decorated with friezes depicting the life of the Buddha. Along the northern wall of the Mahabodhi temple is a raised walkway known as the Chankramana Chaitya- the `Jewel Path’- where the Buddha meditated as he walked. Adjacent to the temple is a lotus pond believed to have been the place where the Buddha performed his ablutions.

The temple reflects the architectural brilliance of the Gupta Kings, who put together their genius and skills to come up with its alluring structure. The architecture speaks its volumes of the artistic calibre of the builders of this amazing structure that it has imbibed from different cultures.

Best time to visit

The pilgrimage season starts from the September month but the best time to visit the temple is between the months of November to February when the climate is moderate.

Trivia

Legend has it that the original Bodhi tree was destroyed by Emperor Ashoka’s wife in a fit of jealousy because she resented the amount of time the emperor spent there. Others claim that the tree was destroyed in the 7th century. However, there is agreement over the fact that the tree was replanted using a shoot from the Sri Lanka tree, which had been planted using a shoot from the original Bodhi tree by Ashoka’s daughter in the 3rd century.

Timing

The temples are open from 5:00 am to 9:00 pm.


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