Mahabodhi Temple: The Site of Lord Buddha’s Enlightenment

Mahabodhi Temple is one of the oldest brick temples in India

Mahabodhi Temple is one of the four holy sites related to the life of the Lord Buddha. Mahabodhi Temple (literally: “Great Awakening Temple”) is located at the place where the Lord Buddha is said to have attained enlightenment. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The Mahabodhi Temple is one of the oldest brick temples in India. The temple stands in the east to the Mahabodhi Tree, under which the Lord Buddha is said to have attained enlightenment (bodhi). The first temple was built by Emperor Asoka in the 3rd century B.C., and the present temple dates from the 5th or 6th centuries. It is one of the earliest Buddhist temples built entirely in brick, still standing in India, from the late Gupta period.

Its architectural effect is superb. Its basement is 48 square feet and it rises in the form of a cylindrical pyramid till it reaches its neck, which is cylindrical in shape. The total height of the temple is 170 ft. and on the top of the temple are Chatras which symbolize sovereignty of religion.


The Mahabodhi Temple is 16 km from the district headquarters at Gaya and around 115 km south of the state capital Patna.

A descendant of the Bodhi tree under which the Buddha is said to have sat until he attained enlightenment stands adjacent to the temple. Ashoka’s stone slab purporting to mark the exact position where the Buddha sat is traditionally called the Buddha’s vajrasana (literally “diamond throne” or “thunder seat”). Stone railings surround the temple as well as the Bodhi tree. One of the most famous of Ashoka’s many pillars (on which he had engraved his edicts and his understanding of religious doctrine) stands at the southeast corner of the temple.

The inscribed property contains all the attributes necessary to convey its outstanding universal value. The historical evidence and texts reveal that the parts of present Temple Complex date from different periods. The main Temple, the Vajrasana, the seat of Buddha’s enlightenment was preserved by Emperor Asoka and the Bodhi Tree under which Buddha attained enlightenment witnessed through the ages, the site’s glory, decline and revival since middle of 19th century A.D onwards is unchanged and complete, UNESCO noted in its report


The Mahabodhi Temple Complex is the property of the State Government of Bihar. On the basis of the Bodh Gaya Temple Act of 1949, the State Government is responsible for the management and protection of the property through Bodhgaya Temple Management Committee (BTMC) and Advisory Board. The Committee meets once in every three or four months and reviews the progress and position of the maintenance and conservation works of the property and also manages the flow of pilgrims and tourists.

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