Mahabodhi Temple

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The Mahabodhi (Great Enlightenment) Temple is a Buddhist stupa located in Bodhgaya, India. It is the most sacred site in Buddhism and visited regularly by both Buddhist and Hindu pilgrims (many Hindus honor the Buddha as an incarnation of Vishnu).

The Mahabodhi Temple is one of the earliest Buddhist temples built in brick that still survives today. The ground level of the temple is 45 meters square, stretching up in a pyramid shape that ends in a smaller square platform. The central tower of Mahabodhi stands 180 feet (54 meters) tall. The brickwork on the outside of the temple depicts scenes from the life of the Buddha.

Inside the temple is a colossal image of a seated Buddha touching the earth with his right hand (a gesture known as the earth-witness mudra). In this posture the Buddha accomplished the supreme enlightenment. The statue is of black stone but it has been covered in gold and dressed in bright orange robes.

The courtyard of the temple is studded with many smaller stupas and Buddha statues, some of which are several hundred years old. Parts of the railing that surrounds the area are among the oldest elements of Mahabodhi Temple that survive today.

Immediately next to the Mahabodhi Temple is the Bodhi Tree, a descendent of the very tree under which the Buddha was enlightened, and the Jewel Walk, marking the place where the Buddha is said to have practiced walking meditation for seven days after his enlightenment.

In 2002, UNESCO declared the Mahabodhi Temple a World Heritage Site and recommended “the Indian authorities to develop an overall management plan to protect the values of the World Heritage site. Such a plan should include a provision for regular monitoring of conditions at the site, including the impact that tourism may have on the religious and spiritual significance of the place.” The Mahabodhi Temple is overseen by the Bodhgaya Temple Management Committee.

How To Reach

By Air

Nearest international airport is in Gaya which is just 16 Km from Bodhgaya, where temple exist. There are regular flights from all the major cities in India to Gaya. From Gaya, you can either catch a bus or take an auto rickshaw.

By Rail

Nearest railway station too is in Gaya. Take a bus or auto rickshaw from the railway station.

By Road

There is regular bus service between Bodhgaya and other major cities of Bihar.