Mahabodhi Temple

The Mahabodhi Temple (literally: "Great Awakening Temple"), a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is an ancient, but much rebuilt and restored, Buddhist temple in Bodh Gaya, marking the location where the Buddha is said to have attained enlightenment.[1] Bodh Gaya (in Gaya district) is about 96 km (60 mi) from Patna, Bihar state, India.

The site contains a descendant of the Bodhi Tree under which Buddha gained enlightenment, and has been a major pilgrimage destination for Hindus and Buddhists for well over two thousand years, and some elements probably date to the period of Ashoka (died c.232 BCE). What is now visible on the ground essentially dates from the 7th century CE, or perhaps somewhat earlier, as well as several major restorations since the 19th century. But the structure now may well incorporate large parts of earlier work, possibly from the 2nd or 3rd century CE.[2]

Many of the oldest sculptural elements have been moved to the museum beside the temple, and some, such as the carved stone railing wall around the main structure, have been replaced by replicas. The main temple's survival is especially impressive, as it was mostly made of brick covered with stucco, materials that are much less durable than stone. But this means that very little of the original sculptural decoration has survived.[2]

The temple complex includes two large straight-sided shikhara towers, the largest over 55 metres (180 feet) high. This is a stylistic feature that has continued in Jain and Hindu temples to the present day, and influenced Buddhist architecture in other countries, in forms like the pagoda.[2]

Mahabodhi Temple Complex at Bodh Gaya
UNESCO World Heritage Site
Mahabodhi Temple
LocationBodh Gaya, Bihar, India
CriteriaCultural: i, ii, iii, iv, vi
Inscription2002 (26th Session)
Area4.86 ha
Coordinates24°41′46″N 84°59′29″E / 24.696004°N 84.991358°ECoordinates: 24°41′46″N 84°59′29″E / 24.696004°N 84.991358°E
Mahabodhi Temple is located in Bihar
Mahabodhi Temple
Location of the temple
Mahabodhi Temple is located in India
Mahabodhi Temple
Mahabodhi Temple (India)

The Buddha

Adoration of the Diamond Throne and the Bodhi Tree Bharhut relief
Ashoka's Mahabodhi Temple and Diamond throne in Bodh Gaya, built circa 250 BCE. The inscription between the Chaitya arches reads: "Bhagavato Sakamunino/ bodho" i.e. "The building round the Bodhi tree of the Holy Sakamuni (Shakyamuni)".[3] The elephant-crowned pillar of Ashoka (now lost) is visible. Bharhut frieze (circa 100 BCE).

Traditional accounts say that, around 589 BCE, Siddhartha Gautama, a young prince who saw the suffering of the world and wanted to end it, reached the forested banks of the Phalgu river, near the city of Gaya, India. There he sat in meditation under a peepul tree (Ficus religiosa or Sacred Fig) which later became known as the Bodhi tree. According to Buddhist scriptures, after three days and three nights, Siddharta attained enlightenment and the answers that he had sought. In that location, Mahabodhi Temple was built by Emperor Ashoka in around 260 BCE.[4]

Bharhut Mahabodhi Temple
Another relief of the early circular Mahabodhi Temple, Bharhut, circa 100 BCE.

The Buddha then spent the succeeding seven weeks at seven different spots in the vicinity meditating and considering his experience. Several specific places at the current Mahabodhi Temple relate to the traditions surrounding these seven weeks:[4]

  • The first week was spent under the Bodhi tree.
  • During the second week, the Buddha remained standing and stared, uninterrupted, at the Bodhi tree. This spot is marked by the Animeshlocha Stupa, that is, the unblinking stupa or shrine, to the north-east of the Mahabodhi Temple complex. There stands a statue of Buddha with his eyes fixed towards the Bodhi tree.
  • The Buddha is said to have walked back and forth between the location of the Animeshlocha Stupa and the Bodhi tree. According to legend, lotus flowers sprung up along this route; it is now called Ratnachakrama or the jewel walk.
  • He spent the fourth week near Ratnagar Chaitya, to the north-east side.
  • During the fifth week, Buddha answered in details to the queries of Brahmins under the Ajapala Nigodh tree, now marked by a pillar.
  • He spent the sixth week next to the Lotus pond.
  • He spent the seventh week under the Rajyatna tree.[4]

Mahabodhi Tree

Bodhi Tree Distant View - panoramio
Bodhi Tree

The Bodhi tree at Bodhgaya is directly connected to the life of the historical Buddha, Siddhartha Gautama, who attained enlightenment or perfect insight when he was meditating under it. The temple was built directly to the east of the Bodhi tree, supposedly a direct descendant of the original Bodhi Tree.[4]

According to Buddhist mythology, if no Bodhi tree grows at the site, the ground around the Bodhi tree is devoid of all plants for a distance of one royal karīsa. Through the ground around the Bodhi tree no being, not even an elephant, can travel.[5]

According to the Jatakas, the navel of the earth lies at this spot,[6] and no other place can support the weight of the Buddha's attainment.[7] Another Buddhist tradition claims that when the world is destroyed at the end of a kalpa, the Bodhimanda is the last spot to disappear, and will be the first to appear when the world emerges into existence again. Tradition also claims that a lotus will bloom there, and if a Buddha is born during that the new kalpa, the lotus flowers in accordance with the number of Buddhas expected to arise.[8] According to legend, in the case of Gautama Buddha, a Bodhi tree sprang up on the day he was born.[9]

Temple construction

Mauryan establishment

Diamond throne discovery
Discovery of the Diamond throne, built by Ashoka c.250 BCE.

In approximately 250 BCE, about 200 years after the Buddha attained Enlightenment, Buddhist Emperor Asoka visited Bodh Gaya in order to establish a monastery and shrine on the holy site, which have today disappeared.[4]

There remains however the Diamond throne, which he had established at the foot of the Bodhi tree.[10] The Diamond throne, or Vajrasana, is thought to have been built by Emperor Ashoka of the Maurya Empire between 250-233 BCE,.[11] at the location where the Buddha reached enlightenment.[12] It is worshiped today, and is the center of many festivities at the Mahabodhi Temple.

Representations of the early temple structure meant to protect the Bodhi tree are found at Sanchi, on the toraṇas of Stūpa I, dating from around 25 BCE, and on a relief carving from the stupa railing at Bhārhut, from the early Shunga period (c. 185–c. 73 BCE).[13]

Sunga structures

Bodh Gaya pillar reconstitution from archaeology and from artistic relief
Reconstitution of the Sunga period pillars at Bodh Gaya, from archaeology (left) and from artistic relief (right). They are dated to the 1st century BCE. Reconstitution done by Alexander Cunningham.[14]

Columns with pot-shaped bases

Additional structures were brought in by the Sungas. In particular, columns with pot-shaped bases were found around the Diamond throne. These columns are thought to date to the 1st century BCE, towards the end of the Sungas. These columns, which were found through archaeological research at the Buddha's Walk in the Mahabodhi Temple, quite precisely match the columns described on the reliefs found on the gateway pillars.[10]


The railing also around the Mahabodhi Temple at Bodh Gaya is quite ancient. These are old sandstone posts dating about 150 BCE, during the Sunga period. There are carved panels as well as medallions, with many scene similar to those of the contemporary Sunga railings at Bharhut (150 BCE) and Sanchi (115 BCE), although the reliefs at Sanchi Stupa No.2 are often considered as the oldest of all.[15][16] The railing was extended during the following century, down to the end of Gupta period (7th century), with coarse granite decorated with elaborate foliate ornaments and small figures as well as stupas.[17] Many parts of the initial railing have been dismantled and are now in museums, such as the Indian Museum in Kolkota, and have been replaced by plaster copies.

Bodh Gaya Sunga pillar

Bodh Gaya Sunga pillar.

Bodh Gaya Sunga railing

Bodh Gaya Sunga railing.

Bodh Gaya Sunga railings 4

Bodh Gaya Sunga railing.

Bodh Gaya Sunga railing 5

Bodh Gaya Sunga railing.

Bodh Gaya Sunga railings 3

Bodh Gaya Sunga railing.

Winter India (1903) (14783119433)

1903 photograph.

Bodh Gaya railings Indian Museum Calcutta

Bodh Gaya original railings, Indian Museum, Calcutta.

Bodh Gaya railings corner

Bodh Gaya original railings, Indian Museum, Calcutta.

Railing post.

Bodh Gaya post relief 2

Another railing post.

Indian Museum Sculpture - Bodhi Tree (9220261312)

Bodhi Tree.

Bodh Gaya medallion 3 Indian Museum Calcutta


Bodh Gaya medallion 4 Indian Museum Calcutta

Adoration of the Bodhi tree.

Bodh Gaya elephant


Bodh Gaya Centaur medallion


Bodh Gaya horse medallion


Bodh Gaya winged lion

Winged lion.

Bodh Gaya Cow nourishing her calf

Cow nourishing her calf.

Bodh Gaya Bull


Jetavana Garden at Sravasti Bodh Gaya relief

The Jetavana Garden at Sravasti.

Bodh Gaya Jataka

Padakusalamanava Jataka.[18]

Bodh Gaya Jataka 3

Padakusalamanava Jataka.

Bodh Gaya medallion with goat

Woman with child and goat.

Bodh Gaya Jataka medallion

Devotee and grottoe.

Bodh Gaya amorous scene

Amorous scene (drawing).

Bodh Gaya medallion Indian Museum Calcutta

Amorous scene.

Mahabodhi River crossing

Miraculous River crossing.

Bodh Gaya river scene

Miraculous river-crossing (drawing)

Mahabodhi Devotion and Apsara

Devotee and apsara.

Mahabodhi Indrasala Cave

Visit of Indra to the Indrasala Cave.

Mahabodhi Kalpa Drum

Kalpa drum.

Mahabodhi Lakshmi

Lakshmi lustrated by elephants.

Mahabodhi Music scene

Music scene.

Mahabodhi Palace scene

Palace scene, Sibi Jataka.

Mahabodhi Ploughing scene

Ploughing scene.

Bodh Gaya devotee 3


Bodh Gaya devotee in turban


Bodh Gaya medallion devotee


Bodh Gaya aspara

Apsara (drawing).

Bodh Gaya medallion 5 Indian Museum Calcutta

Vegetal medallion.

Bodhgaya ei06-16

Plaster copy and reconstruction of original Sunga railing.



Bodhgaya ei06-29

Post relief (plaster copy).

Bodh Gaya railing adoration of the wheel of the Law

Adoration of the wheel of the Law (plaster copy).

063 Flower Design (9221997322)

Flower Design decorated with gold leaves.

065 Railing Design (9219212079)

Decorated railing.

Current pyramidal temple

Kumrahar Mahabodhi plaque
The Mahabodhi Temple in 150-200 CE. Recent images of the plaque [3][4]
Top of Temple
The Mahabodhi Temple: a stepped pyramid with round stupa on top.[19]

While Asoka is considered the Mahabodhi temple's founder, the current pyramidal structure dates from the Gupta Empire, in the 5th–6th century CE.[4]

However this may represent a restoration of earlier work of the 2nd or 3rd century: a plaque from Kumrahar dated 150-200 CE, based on its dated Kharoshthi inscriptions and combined finds of Huvishka coins, already shows the Mahabodhi Temple in its current shape with a stepped truncated pyramid and a small hemipherical stupa with finals on top.[20] This is confirmed by archaeological excavations in Bodh Gaya,[19]

Maha Bodhi Temple Bodh Gaya India - panoramio (20)
The stupa finial on top of the pyramidal structure.[21]

It is thought that the temple in the shape of a truncated pyramid was derived from the design of the stepped stupas which had developed in Gandhara.[19] The Mahabodhi Temple adapted the Gandharan design of a succession of steps with niches containing Buddha images, alternating with Greco-Roman pillars, and top by a stupa, as seen in the stupas of Jaulian.[19][22] The structure is crowned by the shape of an hemispherical stupa topped by finials, forming a logical elongation of the stepped Gandharan stupas.[19]

This truncated pyramid design also marked the evolution from the aniconic stupa dedicated to the cult of relics, to the iconic temple with multiple images of the Buddha and Bodhisattvas.[19] This design was very influential in the development of later Hindu temples.[23] The "shikhara" tower with an amalaka near the top is today considered more characteristic of Hindu temples.[2]

The Temple was restored by the British and India post independence.


Buddhism declined when the dynasties patronizing it declined, following Huna invasions and the early Arab Islamic invasions such as that of Muhammad bin Qasim. A strong revival occurred under the Pala Empire in the northeast of the subcontinent (where the temple is situated). Mahayana Buddhism flourished under the Palas between the 8th and the 12th century. However, after the defeat of the Palas by the Hindu Sena dynasty, Buddhism's position again began to erode and became nearly extinct in India.[24] During the 12th century CE, Bodh Gaya and the nearby regions were invaded by Muslim Turk armies. During this period, the Mahabodhi Temple fell into disrepair and was largely abandoned.[4] Over the following centuries, the monastery's abbot or mahant position became occupied by the area's primary landholder, who claimed ownership of the Mahabodhi Temple grounds.

In the 13th century, Burmese Buddhists built a temple with the same name and modelled on the original Mahabodhi Temple.[25]

Mucalinda Lake

Mucalinda protecting Buddha
A statue of Mucalinda protecting the Buddha in Mucalinda Lake, Mahabodhi Temple

It is said that four weeks after the Buddha began meditating under the Bodhi Tree, the heavens darkened for seven days, and a prodigious rain descended. However, the mighty king of serpents, Mucalinda, came from beneath the earth and protected with his hood the one who is the source of all protection. When the great storm had cleared, the serpent king assumed his human form, bowed before the Buddha, and returned in joy to his palace.

The subject of Buddha meditating under the protection of Mucalinda is very common in Lao Buddhist art. One modern rendition is present in Bunleua Sulilat's sculpture park Sala Keoku.


Bodh gaya before restoration
Temple before restoration
Bodh Gaya 1899
The temple as it appeared in 1899, shortly after its restoration in the 1880s

During the 11th century and the 19th century, Burmese rulers undertook restoration of the temple complex and surrounding wall.[26] In the 1880s, the then-British colonial government of India began to restore Mahabodhi Temple under the direction of Sir Alexander Cunningham and Joseph David Beglar. In 1885, Sir Edwin Arnold visited the site and under guidance from Ven. Weligama Sri Sumangala published several articles drawing the attention of the Buddhists to the deplorable conditions of Buddhagaya.[27][28]

Architectural style

Bodh Gaya quadriga relief
Bodh Gaya quadriga relief of the sun god Surya riding between pillars (detail of a railing post), 2nd-1st century BCE.

Mahabodhi Temple is constructed of brick and is one of the oldest brick structures to have survived in eastern India. It is considered to be a fine example of Indian brickwork, and was highly influential in the development of later architectural traditions. According to UNESCO, "the present temple is one of the earliest and most imposing structures built entirely in brick from Gupta period" (300–600 CE).[4] Mahabodhi Temple's central tower rises 55 metres (180 ft), and were heavily renovated in the 19th century. The central tower is surrounded by four smaller towers, constructed in the same style.

The Mahabodhi Temple is surrounded on all four sides by stone railings, about two metres high. The railings reveal two distinct types, both in style as well as the materials used. The older ones, made of sandstone, date to about 150 BCE, and the others, constructed from unpolished coarse granite, are believed to be of the Gupta period. The older railings have scenes such as Lakshmi, the Hindu/Buddhist goddess of wealth, being bathed by elephants; and Surya, the Hindu sun god, riding a chariot drawn by four horses. The newer railings have figures of stupas (reliquary shrines) and garudas (eagles). Images of lotus flowers also appear commonly.

Images of the site include Avalokiteśvara (Padmapani, Khasarpana), Vajrapani, Tara, Marichi, Yamantaka, Jambhala and Vajravārāhī.[29] Images of Vishnu, Shiva, Surya and other Vedic deities are also associated with the site.[29]

Control of the site

In 1891, a campaign to return control of the temple to Buddhists, over the objections of the Hindu mahant.

The campaign was partially successful in 1949, when control passed from the Hindu mahant to the state government of Bihar, which established a Bodh Gaya Temple Management Committee (BTMC) under the Bodh Gaya Temple Act of 1949.[30] The committee has nine members, a majority of whom, including the chairman, must by law be Hindus.[31] Mahabodhi's first head monk under the management committee was Anagarika Munindra, a Bengali man who had been an active member of the Maha Bodhi Society. In 2013, the Bihar government amended the Bodh Gaya Temple Act of 1949, allowing for a non-Hindu to head the temple committee.[30]

Current status and management

The temple undergoing repairs (from January, 2006).

The Bihar state government assumed responsibility for the protection, management, and monitoring of temple and its properties when India gained its independence. Pursuant to the Bodh Gaya Temple Act of 1949, such responsibilities are shared with the Bodhgaya Temple Management Committee, and an advisory board. By law, the Committee must consist of four Buddhist and four Hindu representatives, including the head of Sankaracharya Math monastery as an ex-officio Hindu member.[32] The Committee serves for a three-year term.[32] A 2013 Amendment to Bodhgaya Temple Management Act allows the Gaya District Magistrate to be the Chairman of committee, even if he is not Hindu.[33] The Advisory Board consists of the governor of Bihar and twenty to twenty-five other members, half of them from foreign Buddhist countries.

In June 2002, the Mahabodhi Temple became a UNESCO World Heritage Site.[32] All finds of religious artifacts in the area are legally protected under the Treasure Trove Act of 1878.

The temple's head monk, Bhikkhu Bodhipala, resigned in 2007 after he was charged with cutting the branches of Holy Bodhi Tree on a regular basis and selling them to foreigners for significant amounts of money. A newspaper alleged that wealthy Thai buyers bought a branch with the cooperation of senior members of the temple's management committee.[34] While the temple's spokesman stated that botanists had pruned the tree, the Bihar home secretary ordered the tree examined.[35] A criminal charge was filed against Bodhipala. If convicted, Bodhipala would be subject to at least 10 years' imprisonment.

Following the expiration of the Committee's term in September 2007, Bihar's government delayed appointing a new Committee and the district magistrate administered the temple pending such appointment.[32] Eventually, on May 16, 2008 the government announced the appointment of a new Temple Management Committee.[36]

As of June 2017, the temples head monk was Bhikkhu Chalinda.[37]

Recent events

In 2013, the upper portion of the temple was covered with 289 kg of gold. The gold was a gift from the King of Thailand and devotees from Thailand, and installed with the approval of the Archaeological Survey of India.[38]

2013 attack

On 7 July 2013, ten low-intensity bombs exploded in the temple complex, injuring 5 people. One bomb was near the statue of Buddha and another was near the Mahabodhi tree. Three unexploded bombs were also found and defused. The blasts took place between 5.30 a.m. and 6.00 a.m.[39][40] The main temple was undamaged.[39] The Intelligence Bureau of India may have alerted state officials of possible threats around 15 days prior to the bombing.[41] On 4 November 2013, the National Investigation Agency announced that the Islamic terrorist group Indian Mujahideen was responsible for the bombings.[42][43]

Mahabodhi Temple replica

Mahabodhi Temple is one of the most replicated Buddhist structures, both as temples and miniature replicas.[44]


  1. ^ "World Heritage Day: Five must-visit sites in India". Archived from the original on 2015-08-14.
  2. ^ a b c d Harle, 201; Michell, 228-229
  3. ^ Luders, Heinrich (1963). Corpus Inscriptionum Indicarum Vol.2 Pt.2 Bharhut Inscriptions. p. 95.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h "Mahabodhi Temple Complex at Bodh Gaya". UNESCO. Archived from the original on 29 November 2014. Retrieved 6 January 2015.
  5. ^ "Tipitaka, Khuddaka Nikaya, Kaligga Bodhi Jataka, Jataka N:o 479". Internet Sacred Text Archive. Archived from the original on 9 May 2015. Retrieved 6 January 2015.
  6. ^ J.iv.233 (puthuvinābhi)
  7. ^ J.iv.229
  8. ^ DA.ii.412
  9. ^ DA.ii.425; BuA.248
  10. ^ a b Buddhist Architecture, Huu Phuoc Le, Grafikol, 2010 p.240
  11. ^ Buddhist Architecture, Huu Phuoc Le p.240
  12. ^ A Global History of Architecture, Francis D. K. Ching, Mark M. Jarzombek, Vikramaditya Prakash, John Wiley & Sons, 2017 p.570ff
  13. ^ "Sowing the Seeds of the Lotus: A Journey to the Great Pilgrimage Sites of Buddhism, Part I" by John C. Huntington. Orientations, November 1985 pg 61
  14. ^ Mahâbodhi, or the great Buddhist temple under the Bodhi tree at Buddha-Gaya, Alexander Cunningham, 1892 [1]
  15. ^ Didactic Narration: Jataka Iconography in Dunhuang with a Catalogue of Jataka Representations in China, Alexander Peter Bell, LIT Verlag Münster, 2000 p.15ff
  16. ^ "The railing of Sanchi Stupa No.2, which represents the oldest extensive stupa decoration in existence, (and) dates from about the second century B.C.E" Constituting Communities: Theravada Buddhism and the Religious Cultures of South and Southeast Asia, John Clifford Holt, Jacob N. Kinnard , Jonathan S. Walters, SUNY Press, 2012 p.197
  17. ^ British Library Online Gallery Archived 2018-05-10 at the Wayback Machine
  18. ^ The Padakusalamanava Jataka, in which a horse-headed ogress falls in love with one of her preys, and the Bodhisattva (the future Buddha) is born of their union. In: Didactic Narration: Jataka Iconography in Dunhuang with a Catalogue of Jataka Representations in China, Alexander Peter Bell, LIT Verlag Münster, 2000 p.15ff
  19. ^ a b c d e f Le Huu Phuoc, Buddhist Architecture, pp.238-248
  20. ^ Buddhist Architecture, Le Huu Phuoc, Grafikol 2009, p.242
  21. ^ Le Huu Phuoc, Buddhist Architecture, p.242-243
  22. ^ Ching, Francis D. K.; Jarzombek, Mark M.; Prakash, Vikramaditya (2010). A Global History of Architecture. John Wiley & Sons. p. 231. ISBN 9781118007396.
  23. ^ Le Huu Phuoc, Buddhist Architecture, p.234
  24. ^ Richard Maxwell Eaton; Professor Richard M Eaton (1993). The Rise of Islam and the Bengal Frontier, 1204-1760. University of California Press. p. 14. ISBN 978-0-520-08077-5.
  25. ^ Coedès, George (1968). Walter F. Vella, ed. The Indianized States of Southeast Asia. trans.Susan Brown Cowing. University of Hawaii Press. ISBN 978-0-8248-0368-1.
  26. ^ "History of Bodh Gaya, India, Place of Buddhas Enlightenment". BuddhaNet. Archived from the original on 2013-10-06. Retrieved 2014-03-03.
  27. ^ India Revisited by Sri Edwin Arnold Archived 2012-03-25 at the Wayback Machine
  28. ^ Dipak K. Barua, "Buddha Gaya Temple: its history"
  29. ^ a b Geary, David; Sayers, Matthew R.; Amar, Abhishek Singh (2012). Cross-disciplinary perspectives on a contested Buddhist site : Bodh Gaya jataka. London: Routledge. pp. 29–40. ISBN 978-0-415-68452-1.
  30. ^ a b Amendment allows non-Hindu to head Bodh Gaya temple committee Archived 2013-12-08 at the Wayback Machine, The Hindu, August 1, 2013
  31. ^ D.C.Ahir (1994). Buddha Gaya Through the Ages. Delhi: Sri Satguru Publications. pp. 127–133. ISBN 81-7030-409-1.
  32. ^ a b c d Buddhists seek control over Mahabodhi temple management Archived 2008-03-30 at the Wayback Machine IANS. March 28, 2008. Retrieved March 29, 2008.
  33. ^ "The Controversial Bodhgaya Temple (Amendment) Bill 2013". Archived from the original on August 7, 2013. Retrieved 1 October 2013.
  34. ^ Scandal gnaws at Buddha's holy tree in India Archived 2008-04-09 at the Wayback Machine. Denyer, Simon. Reuters News Service. February 3, 2008. Retrieved March 27, 2008.
  35. ^ No damage to Bodhi tree: Govt Archived 2009-02-14 at the Wayback Machine. Singh, Sanjay. July 21, 2006. Retrieved March 27, 2008.
  36. ^ "Holiest Buddhist shrine gets governing panel, finally". 2008-05-17. Archived from the original on 2010-06-23. Retrieved 2010-04-24.
  37. ^ [2]
  38. ^ "300 kg gold gift from Thailand gives Bodhgaya temple a new look". India Today. Archived from the original on 2014-03-04. Retrieved 2014-03-04.
  39. ^ a b "Serial Blasts rock Mahabodhi temple in Bodha gaya: terror attack, Center says". The Times of India. 7 July 2013. Archived from the original on 9 July 2013. Retrieved 7 July 2013.
  40. ^ Law, Kumar Mishra (7 July 2013). "5 injured in multiple blasts at Mahabodhi temple in Bodh Gaya". The Times of India. Archived from the original on 23 October 2015. Retrieved 7 July 2013.
  41. ^ "Security beefed up in city, Bodh Gaya – The Times of India". The Times Of India.
  42. ^ Tiwari, Deeptiman (6 November 2013). "Ranchi document helps NIA crack Bodh Gaya blast case". Times of India. Archived from the original on 6 November 2013. Retrieved 6 November 2013.
  43. ^ Gaikwad, Rahi; Yadav Anumeha; Pandey Devesh (7 November 2013). "Patna terror cell behind Bodh Gaya strike too: NIA". The Hindu. Patna, Ranchi, New Delhi. The Hindu. Archived from the original on 9 November 2013. Retrieved 7 November 2013.
  44. ^ The Mahabodhi temple: pilgrim souvenirs of Buddhist, J. Guy, Burlington Magazine, 1991, 133, 3560357
  45. ^ "Wat Yan & Chinese museum Viharn Sien, Pattaya | Self-guided tour | Thailand guide book". Thailand.FalkTime. 2019-04-30. Retrieved 2019-05-30.


  • Harle, J.C., The Art and Architecture of the Indian Subcontinent, 2nd edn. 1994, Yale University Press Pelican History of Art, ISBN 0300062176
  • Michell, George, The Penguin Guide to the Monuments of India, Volume 1: Buddhist, Jain, Hindu, 1989, Penguin Books, ISBN 0140081445

Further reading

External links

Bodh Gaya

Bodh Gaya is a religious site and place of pilgrimage associated with the Mahabodhi Temple Complex in Gaya district in the Indian state of Bihar. It is famous as it is the place where Gautama Buddha is said to have obtained Enlightenment (Pali: bodhi) under what became known as the Bodhi Tree. Since antiquity, Bodh Gaya has remained the object of pilgrimage and veneration for both Hindus and Buddhists.For Buddhists, Bodh Gaya is the most important of the main four pilgrimage sites related to the life of Gautama Buddha, the other three being Kushinagar, Lumbini, and Sarnath. In 2002, Mahabodhi Temple, located in Bodh Gaya, became a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Bodh Gaya bombings

On 7 July 2013 a series of ten bombs exploded in and around the Mahabodhi Temple complex, a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Bodh Gaya, India. Five people, including two Buddhist monks, were injured by the blasts. Three other devices were defused by bomb-disposal squads at a number of locations in Gaya.The temple itself and the Bodhi Tree (where Gautama Buddha is believed to have attained enlightenment) were undamaged. However, the Archaeological Survey of India confirmed damage to new structures in the temple complex. International figures, including the Dalai Lama, Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa and Myanmar Opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi, condemned the attacks. On 4 November 2013, the National Investigation Agency announced that the Islamic terrorist group Indian Mujahideen was responsible for the bombings.On 1 June 2018, a special National Investigation Agency (NIA) court of Patna sentenced life imprisonment for 5 prime accused in this case.

Bodhi Tree

The Bodhi Tree (Sanskrit: बोधिवृक्ष), also known as Bo (from Sinhalese: Bo), "peepal tree", "Araḷi mara" (Kannada:ಅರಳಿ ಮರ) or "arasa maram" (Tamil:அரசமரம்)(Devanagari: पीपल का पेड़), is a large and ancient sacred fig tree (Ficus religiosa) located in Bodh Gaya, Bihar, India, under which Siddhartha Gautama, the spiritual teacher who became known as the Buddha, is said to have attained enlightenment or Bodhi. In religious iconography, the Bodhi Tree is recognizable by its heart-shaped leaves, which are usually prominently displayed.

The term "Bodhi Tree" is also widely applied to existing trees, particularly the sacred fig (Ficus religiosa) growing at the Mahabodhi Temple in Bodh Gaya, which is often cited as a direct descendant of the original specimen planted in 288 BCE. This tree is a frequent destination for pilgrims, being the most important of the four main Buddhist pilgrimage sites.

Other holy bodhi trees which have a great significance in the history of Buddhism are the Anandabodhi tree in Sravasti and the Bodhi tree in Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka. Both are believed to have been propagated from the original Bodhi Tree.

Buddhist architecture

Buddhist religious architecture developed in the Indian subcontinent. Three types of structures are associated with the religious architecture of early Buddhism: monasteries (viharas), places to venerate relics (stupas), and shrines or prayer halls (chaityas, also called chaitya grihas), which later came to be called temples in some places.

The initial function of a stupa was the veneration and safe-guarding of the relics of Gautama Buddha. The earliest surviving example of a stupa is in Sanchi (Madhya Pradesh).

In accordance with changes in religious practice, stupas were gradually incorporated into chaitya-grihas (prayer halls). These are exemplified by the complexes of the Ajanta Caves and the Ellora Caves (Maharashtra). The Mahabodhi Temple at Bodh Gaya in Bihar is another well-known example.

The Pagoda is an evolution of the Indian stupa.

Buddhist pilgrimage sites

The most important places of pilgrimage in Buddhism are located in the Gangetic plains of Northern India and Southern Nepal, in the area between New Delhi and Rajgir. This is the area where Gautama Buddha lived and taught, and the main sites connected to his life are now important places of pilgrimage for both Buddhists and Hindus. However, many countries that are or were predominantly Buddhist have shrines and places which can be visited as a pilgrimage.

Gaya, India

Gaya is of historical significance and is one of the major tourist attractions of the state of Bihar. Gaya is 100 kilometres (62 mi) south of Patna, the capital city of Bihar. It is the state's second-largest city, with a population of 470,839, and is the headquarters of Gaya district and Magadh division. The city is surrounded on three sides by small, rocky hills (Mangla-Gauri, Shringa-Sthan, Ram-Shila, and Brahmayoni), with the Phalgu River on its fourth (eastern) side.

Gaya is sanctified in the Jain, Hindu, and Buddhist religions. Gaya district is mentioned in the great epics, the Ramayana and the Mahabharata. It is the place where Rama, with Sita and Lakshmana, came to offer pind-daan for their father, Dasharath, and continues to be a major Hindu pilgrimage site for the pind-daan ritual. Bodh Gaya, where Buddha is said to have attained enlightenment, and is one of the four holy sites of Buddhism. The Mahabodhi Temple complex at Bodh Gaya is a World Heritage site.

Indrasala Cave

The Indasala Cave, also called Indrasila Guha or Indrasaila Cave, is a cave site mentioned in Buddhist texts. It is stated in Buddhist mythology to be the cave where Buddha lived for a while, and gave the sermon called the Sakkapañha Sutta to deity Indra. This Sutta is found as chapter II.21 of Digha Nikaya. In this sermon, the Buddha addresses Sakya (also known as Indra) accompanied by Pancasikha (also known as Kubera). After some harp-playing by Pancasikha, Indra asks 42 questions to the Buddha, which he answers. The teachings in this Indrasala Cave Sutta is, in part, the basis for the Theravada tradition of "punna (earning merit) and varam (favor).

The legend is generally believed to be mythical. Some scholars, since the 19th century, have attempted to identify the location of the cave that may reflect one of the places the Buddha lived. One such location is in modern Giryak, Bihar. It has also been identified with a location on the Vediyaka hill near Rajagrha.Numerous depictions of the scene are known, the earliest being those of the Mahabodhi Temple at Bodh Gaya, circa 150 BCE. In a Gandhara artwork dated to 89 CE, the scene "Visit to the Indrasala Cave" is depicted with Indra identifiable with his elephant seated to the right, the Buddha is shown living in a cave by the wavy rocky landscape with wild animals above.

Maha Bodhi Society

The Maha Bodhi Society is a South Asian Buddhist society founded by the Sri Lankan Buddhist leader Anagarika Dharmapala and the British journalist and poet Sir Edwin Arnold. The organization's self-stated initial efforts were for the resuscitation of Buddhism in India, and restoring the ancient Buddhist shrines at Bodh Gaya, Sarnath and Kushinara.Although some Indians had remained culturally Buddhist for centuries after the decline of Buddhist philosophy, they did not self-identify as "Buddhist". The Maha Bodhi Society renewed interest in Buddhism, and spawned the Ladakh Buddhist Association, All Assam Buddhist Association, and Himalayan Buddhist Society, as well as laying the grounds for the Dalit Buddhist movement.

Mahabodhi Temple, Bagan

The Mahabodhi Temple (Burmese: မဟာဗောဓိကျောင်း [məhà bɔ́dḭ tɕáʊɴ]) is a Buddhist temple located in Bagan, Burma. It was built in the mid-13th century during the reign of King Htilominlo, and is modelled after the Mahabodhi Temple, which is located in Bihar, India. The temple is built in an architectural style typical during the Gupta period, and contains a large pyramidal tower with many niches containing over 450 images of Buddha. The temple survived the 1975 Bagan earthquake, and was repaired in following years.

Navel of the Earth

The navel of the Earth may refer to:

Omphalion ("navel"), a Greek term for an ancient stone artifact

The site of the Bodhi tree at Bodhigaya in the Mahabodhi Temple

An ancient altar at Paphos, modern day Kouklia

A Hebrew expression tabbur ha'ares used of 'Israel' (Ezekiel 38:12)


Pawapuri or Pawa is a holy site for Jains located in the Nalanda district in the Bihar state of Eastern India. It is located about 19 kilometers from Rajgir, 14 km from Bihar Sharif and 101 kilometers from Patna, the capital of Bihar.

Religious tourism in India

Religious tourism in India is focus of Narendra Modi's national tourism policy. Uttarakhand has been popular as a religious and adventure tourism hub.Mahesh Sharma said, "In view of religious tourism, Ramdevera and Tanot would also be linked to a tourism circuit in western Rajasthan."


Shikhara (IAST: Śikhara), a Sanskrit word translating literally to "mountain peak", refers to the rising tower in the Hindu temple architecture of North India, and also often used in Jain temples. A shikhara over the garbhagriha chamber where the presiding deity is enshrined is the most prominent and visible part of a Hindu temple of North India.In South India, the equivalent term is vimana; unlike the shikhara, this refers to the whole building, including the sanctum beneath. In the south, shikhara is a term for the top stage of the vimana only, which is usually a dome capped with a finial; this article is concerned with the northern form. The southern vimana is not to be confused with the elaborate gateway-towers of south Indian temples, called "gopurams", which are often taller and more prominent features in large temples.

Thatta Thattaha Maha Bawdi Pagoda

Thatta Thattaha Maha Bawdi Pagoda (Burmese: သတ္တသတ္တာဟ မဟာဗောဓိစေတီတော်; Pali: Sattasattāhamahābodhi Cetiya) is a Buddhist temple on Udayaraṃsi hillock in Pobbathiri Township, Naypyidaw Union Territory, Myanmar (Burma). The pagoda is a replica of the Mahabodhi Temple in Bodh Gaya, Bihar, India. The replica is 162 feet (49 m) tall.

The buddhābhiṣeka ritual of the pagoda's main Buddha image was held on 13 May 2014.The complex also houses replicas of key locations in Gautama Buddha's life (သံဝေဇနိယလေးဌာန), including his birth, his enlightenment, his preaching and his death, built for worshippers who have difficulties making a pilgrimage to Bodh Gaya.

Tourism in Bihar

Bihar (Hindi: बिहार, Urdu: بہار‎, pronounced [bɪˈɦaːr] (listen)) in eastern India is one of the oldest inhabited places in the world with a history going back 3000 years. The rich culture and heritage of Bihar is evident from the innumerable ancient monuments that are dotted all over the state. Bihar is home to many tourist attractions and is visited by large numbers of tourists from all over the world. Around total 6 million tourists visit Bihar every year.

Twante Township

Twante Township also Twantay Township (Burmese: တွံတေး မြို့နယ်, pronounced [tʊ̀ɴté mjo̰nɛ̀]) is a township in the Yangon Region of Burma (Myanmar). It is located west across the Hlaing River from the city of Yangon. The principal town and administrative seat is Twante. The township is home to the Shwesandaw Pagoda (known as "Golden Hair Relic Pagoda" in English) and it is believed to contain strands of hair from the head of Gautama, and its annual pagoda festival is held on Burmese New Year. The longest man made canal in Myanmar is Twante canal and it is also a shortcut waterway to Ayawaddy river to Yangon river which divides Twante Township with its length of 35 km and there is one bridge that spans the canal is called Twante bridge. Baungdawgyoke Monastery in Twante Township is one the famous as there are pagodas including the replica of Mahabodhi Temple

Vajrasana, Bodh Gaya

The Vajrasana (IAST: vajrāsana; diamond throne) is a throne in the Mahabodhi Temple at Bodh Gaya. It is thought to have been placed by Emperor Ashoka of the Maurya Empire between 250-233 BCE, at the location where the Buddha had reached enlightenment some 200 years earlier.The vajrasana is the bodhimanda (bodhimaṇḍa; seat or platform of enlightenment) of Gautama Buddha. Being the site where Gautama Buddha achieved liberation, Tibetan texts also use the term vajrasana to refer to Bodh Gaya itself.The empty throne, not just at Bodh Gaya, was a focus of devotion in early Buddhism, treated as a cetiya or symbolic relic. It was not intended to be occupied, but operated as a symbol of the missing Buddha. Ancient images show devotees kneeling in prayer before it, as they still do.

Wheel of Time (film)

Wheel of Time is a 2003 documentary film about Tibetan Buddhism by German director Werner Herzog. The title refers to the Kalachakra sand mandala that provides a recurring image for the film.

The film documents the two Kalachakra initiations of 2002, presided over by the fourteenth Dalai Lama. The first, in Bodhgaya India, was disrupted by the Dalai Lama's illness. Later that same year, the event was held again, this time without disruption, in Graz, Austria. The film's first location is the Bodhgaya, the site of the Mahabodhi Temple and the Bodhi tree. Herzog then turns to the pilgrimage at Mount Kailash, after which the film then focuses on the second gathering in Graz.

Herzog includes a personal interview with the Dalai Lama, as well as Tibetan former political prisoner Takna Jigme Zangpo, who served 37 years in a Chinese prison for his support of the International Tibet Independence Movement.

Zhenjue Temple

The Five Pagoda Temple

(Chinese: 五塔寺; pinyin: Wǔ Tǎ Sì), formally known as the "Temple of the Great Righteous Awakening" (simplified Chinese: 大真觉寺; traditional Chinese: 大真覺寺; pinyin: Dà Zhēnjué Sì) or "Zhenjue Temple" (Chinese: 真觉寺; Chinese: 真覺寺; pinyin: Zhēnjué Sì) for short, is a Ming dynasty Buddhist temple located in Haidian District, Beijing, China.

Topics in Buddhism
The Buddha
Key concepts
Major figures
Tourist sites in Bihar


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