Mahabodhi Temple Complex at Bodh Gaya

Bodh Gaya is perhaps the most sacred place for the Buddhist pilgrimages. Lord Buddha is said to have achieved the enlightenment here under the Bodhi tree. Legend has it that this place was visited by the great emperor Asoka in 260BC. During his visit he built a temple near the Bodhi tree in veneration to Lord Buddha. However, there is an inscription dating back to the period ofMahabodhi Temple Complex of Bihar, Bihar tourism, Bihar travel guide 1-2 century AD which states that the existing temple is a replacement of the one originally built by Asoka.

Mahabodhi Temple Complex at Bodh Gaya

The first reference of the temple and the Bodhi Tree is seen in the works of Fahien during 404-05 AD. The writings of Hieun Tsang state that he visited Bodhi tree in 637 AD. During his visit according to his writings he saw that there were walls built around the Bodhi tree. In addition to this he also mentions the presence of the Mahabodhi temple and a sanctuary inside these walls. The temple according to him is huge and about 160 ft tall. Over time the temple has witnessed several amendments and alterations.

The experts believe that the present temple dates back to 6AD. During and after the 13th century, this place was conquered by the Delhi sultanate, and as a result it was completely neglected for some time. However in the period o 19th century AD the Burmese kings began the renovation work of the temple and this renovation was carried on even by the Britishers during 1880-84.

The Mahabodhi temple is spread on an area of about 4.8 hectares and its total height is about 55 mts. This holy place is a very interesting example of clever yet beautiful architecture as it has a pancharatha sikhara in the shape of a straight-edged pyramid. It is divided into seven storeys with bhumi-amalakas. The profoundly honoured Bodhi tree stands towards the west of the Mahabodhi Temple and is referred to as the papal tree by the Indians. Many believe that the Bodhi tree that currently stands here is a direct descendant of the real tree under which the great Lord Buddha meditated. The Mahabodhi Temple Complex was declared a World Heritage Site by the UNESCO in the year of 2002.

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