Mahabodhi Temple Complex

Mahabodhi Temple Complex | History & Architecture

Mahabodhi Temple Complex, located in an 11.9-acre area in Bodh Gaya, is the ancient Buddhist Site. It includes the Mahabodhi Temple, the Bodhi Tree (under which the Gautam Buddha attained enlightenment), as well as the Animesh Lochan Chaitya, the Lotus Pond/ Muchalinda Lake, and other structures. It holds an important place in the history of India as well as in the religious tradition of the region, as it is the source of Buddhism. This complex is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is the main holy site for Buddhists.

Mahabodhi Temple Complex: History & Significance

Mahabodhi Temple Complex

Mahabodhi Temple, also known as Mahabodhi Mahavihar, is a UNESCO world heritage site. It is an ancient Buddhist temple located in Bodh Gaya, 96 km from Patna, the capital of Bihar. It is referred to as Bodh Gaya to refer to the awakening of Buddha at the Mahabodhi Temple literally, Great Temple of Awakening.

According to legend, Buddha was enlightened under the Bodhi tree, which is part of the major pilgrimage route of Hindu and Buddhist communities worldwide. The structure dates to the 5th century or before. It was later renovated extensively in the 19th century.The Temple’s main structure is mostly of brick, covered in stucco. These materials are less robust than stone, so only a small portion of the original sculptural design has survived.

The temple complex consists of two massive straight-sided shikhara, the largest of which is more than 55 meters (180 feet) tall. The majority of the sculptures were taken to the museum located next to the Temple. Mahabodhi Temple was first built by the emperor Ashoka in the 3rd century B.C., and the present Temple dates back to the 5-6 centuries.

Mahabodhi Complex Architecture

Mahabodhi Temple Complex

Mahabodhi Temple is made of bricks. It is an illustration of the oldest brick structures preserved in the eastern part of Indian territory. It is considered a model of brickwork. It is often used as a source for later architectural styles.

Based on the data of UNESCO, the Mahabodhi Temple is one of the first structures constructed entirely out of brick. It is believed to be from the Gupta dynasty time (300-600 CE). An enormous central tower dominates the Mahabodhi temple. It is 180 feet tall and was renovated in the 19th century. Four towers built in a similar style flank the central tower. Stone railings, measuring 2 meters in height and of two distinct kinds, protect the Temple on all four sides.

The older railings are constructed of sandstone and are around 150 BCE old, whereas the ones created during the Gupta period are constructed of rough Granite ( not polished). The older railings depict images of the goddess of wealth, Lakshmi, bathed by elephants, as well as images of the Sun goddess Surya riding in a chariot that four horses pull. The modern railings feature figures of stupas (reliquary shrines) and garudas (eagles). The images of lotus flowers appear on the railings.

Mahabodhi Temple Complex: Key Attraction

Mahabodhi Temple Complex
  • The present 50m high Mahabodhi Temple
  • Bodhi tree 
  • Six sacred sites of Buddha’s awakening
  • Numerous stupas
  • Vajrasana
  • Lotus Pond 
  • The main temple wall of 11m
  • Temple 2 entrances accessible from the east and on the north
  • Complex basement decorated in honeysuckle and a geese-themed design
  • Four statues of Buddha small shrines at the four corners of the temple complex

Mahabodhi Complex Bodh Gaya: Location

Mahabodhi temple is located in Bodh Gaya, which is in the Gaya District. Bodh Gaya is approximately 96 kilometers from Patna, the Capital of Bihar. 

Bodh Gaya is significant because it is the place where Buddha attained the enlightenment he sought. Therefore, it is a significant pilgrimage spot for Buddhist and Hindu communities. The Mahabodhi Temple is one of the four holy places that is connected with the story of Lord Buddha.


The Mahabodhi Temple Complex, approximately 96 kilometers from Patna, has been a UNESCO World Heritage site since 2002 and is among the four holy sites connected to Lord Buddha. The Temple is known as the birthplace of Buddhism because it is where Prince Siddharth achieved enlightenment.

The Temple is built entirely with bricks, and the surrounding railings are constructed of sandstone and coarse unpolished Granite. The Temple is adorned with two Shikharas, the higher one 180 feet long. Four statues of Buddha are placed at four corners of the Temple’s parapet. The most significant part of this complex is the Bodhi Tree, under which Buddha attained enlightenment or the Great Awakening.

Frequently Asked Questions

What makes the Mahabodhi Complex Sacred?

According to Buddhist tradition, the Mahabodhi Temple marks the location of the Buddha’s enlightenment. A Bodhi tree is still planted at the site to commemorate Buddha’s discovery, but it’s not the same tree.

Who built the Mahabodhi Temple?

Mahabodhi Temple was built in the third century B.C. by Asoka the first emperor of India to switch to Buddhism. The Temple has seen many changes, but it is still there.

What is the significance of Mahabodhi Temple?

This Mahabodhi Temple is a sacred spot of devotion for Buddhists all over the world. It is a place for contemplation, deep meditation, and remembrance of the Buddha.

Thank You Buddha

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