Mahabodhi Temple

The Mahabodhi Temple or Great Awakening Temple is a Buddhist temple where the Buddha attained enlightenment, built by the Ashoka Emperor of the Maurya Empire at Bodh Gaya, Gaya District, Bihar State, India, in 260 BC but rebuilt and restored in the 5th century AD, the 6th century AD and the 19th century AD.

The complex includes two shikhara towers with a height of more than 55 meters (180 feet) that affect Buddhist architecture for pagodas and inspires Jain and Hindu temples. In the 12th century Bodh Gaya and nearby areas were attacked by Islamic jihadists and destroyed the Mahabodhi temple complex. Islamic terrorists in July 2013 attacked a series of low-intensity bombs at the temple complex.

Xvlor Mahabodhi Temple is the Buddha attained enlightenment in Bodh Gaya Mahabodhi Temple is the Buddha attained enlightenment in Bodh Gaya

Mahabodhi Temple has a line of Bodhi Trees where the Buddha gained enlightenment and has been a major pilgrim destination for Buddhists for over 2000 years. The site is now basically derived from rehabilitation in the 7th and 19th centuries, but combines a large section of previous work from the 2nd century.

Many of the oldest statue elements have been moved to the museum beside the temple and the carved stone wall fence around the main structure has been replaced by a replica. The main temple structure is impressive, most of which are made of brick and stucco, but more durable than stone, although very few original sculptural decorations last for long.

Traditional records say in 589 BC, Siddhartha Gautama was a young prince and wanted to end the suffering of the world. Sit meditating under the peepul or the Holy Father (Ficus religiosa) which became known as the Bodhi tree in the forests of the Phalgu river near the city of Gaya.

Emperor Ashoka visited the place in 250 BC and built the Mahabodhi Temple in 260 BC. Vajrasana or Diamond Throne is the center of many celebrations in the Mahabodhi Temple. The relief carvings at the stupa fence in Bhārhut from the Shunga Empire period (185 BC to 73 BC) and the representation of early temple structures aimed to protect the Bodhi tree from Sanchi in 25 BC.

The additional structure by Shunga Empire in the 1st century BC is a column with a potted base around Diamond Throne. The ancient sandstone pillars date from 150 BC where the carved and medal panels are similar to the contemporary Sunga fences in Bharhut (150 BC) and Sanchi (115 BC). The fence extended over the next century until the end of the Gupta period in the 7th century with granite decorated with intricate foliate.

In the 11th and 19th centuries the Kingdom of Burma restored the temple complex and the surrounding wall. In the 1880s, the British colonial government began restoring the Mahabodhi Temple. Many parts of the original fence have been dismantled and are now in museums, such as the Indian Museum in Kolkota, and have been replaced with copies of plaster.

Location: Bodh Gaya, Gaya District, Bihar State, India.

Routes and public transport: Flight to Gaya Airport in Gaya, then drive to Bodh Gaya for 17 kilometers. Bodh Gaya and Gaya Railway Station are 10 kilometers away. Mahabodhi Temple is the Buddha attained enlightenment in Bodh Gaya

Xvlor Mahabodhi Temple is the Buddha attained enlightenment in Bodh Gaya

Advice: Don't fall prey for people on motor bikes posed as a tourist guides, offering a local tour for a price multiple times than genuine price of around 500-1000 rs. Everything inside Bodh Gaya is easy to find and within 5-15 minute walking from the Mahabodhi temple complex.

If you do wish to utilize a local tour guide, first request to see their official Bihar State Tourism Development Corporation ID card, then bargain. Usually, like all tourist places, Street vendors and shop keepers here are also used to overcharging for their goods. Be prepared to bargain heavily in souvenir shops.

No cell phones allowed inside the Mahabodhi Temple. Security will dig through your bags looking for phones. Non-cell phone cameras are allowed but require a 100 rupee camera ticket and video camera tickets cost 500 rupees. Wearing shoes inside temple complex is not allowed. Your shoes must be left at the entrance in a public area with hundreds of other shoes.

The pilgrimage season at Bodhgaya starts from September and peaks in January. The best time to visit weather wise is between November and February. Avoid the rainy season in June and September, avoid summer from March to May. However, Bodhgaya still attracts a large number of enthusiasts during this time to celebrate Buddha's birthday Jayanti (Buddha) in May.

Popular spots are Bodhi Tree, Mahabodhi Stupa, Thai Monastery, 80-foot Buddha Statue, Royal Bhutanese Monastery, Japanese temple, Archaelogical Museum, Tergar Monastery, Phowa Center, Gendhen Phelgyeling Monastery, Karma Dhargye Chokhorling Monastery, Root Institute, Kagyu Monlam Chenmo, prayer festival, Nyingma Monlam Chenmo, Bodhgaya Multimedia Museum, Barabar caves and Taiwanese Temple.