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your are visiting at: Home / Tourist Dream / World Heritage Site / Mahabodhi Temple Gaya

Mahabodhi Temple Gaya
State : Bihar
The Mahabodhi temple is an imposing brick structure that is enclosed on three sides by an ancient stone railing. The temple celebrates the birth of Buddhism, for it is under a tree adjacent to this temple, that Prince Siddhartha became the Buddha by attaining enlightenment.

The Mahabodhi temple has a giant pyramidal structure (sikhara) which rises Mahabodhi Temple to a height of 54 m. It has a quadrangular base and four spires at the corners. It can be seen for miles around and distinguishes Bodhgaya from other Buddhist centres. Inside it you will find a gilded image of the Buddha. The bricks in the oldest part of the temple have been fitted together without the use of cement. It stands at the site of a shrine built by King Ashoka, who ruled over Magadha during the 3rd century BC. The present structure was most recently renovated in the 1880s, but is believed to have been rebuilt and restored during the 6 and 7th centuries and again in the 11th Century.

Buddhists from other parts of the world have been closely linked to this temple. During the 4th century, the Sri Lankan King, Sri Meghavanna built a monastery in Bodhgaya. Another Sri Lankan monk Mahanama visited the place in 588 AD and built a shrine with a statue of the Buddha. The remains of this can still be seen near the northern staircase leading to the temple. The monastery was still there in the 7th century when Xuan Zhang travelled to India and it was also recorded by Dharmasvamin, another traveller and a monk from Sri Lanka, who visited the place in the 13th century.

Buddhists of Burma have had a long, close relationship with Bodhgaya. Since the 11th century, they have donated large sums of money and several Burmese kings have sent missions to Bodhgaya to carry out repairs at the temple. Details of the first of these missions can still be found in inscriptions at the Shway Sandaw Pagoda in Prome, Burma.

In the 19th century, the British Lt Governor of Bengal, Sir Ashley Eden appointed Sir Alexander Cunningham and J D Beglar to excavate and restore the temple. This four-year project began in 1880, and cost Rs 2,00,000, money raised mostly from overseas Buddhists. The restoration by Beglar was based on a miniature model found during excavation. There was a hue and cry about Beglar's lack of understanding of Indian architecture and some believe that his attempt actually damaged the ruins. In 1956 the temple was renovated with the help of large international grants. Today the restored temple looks majestic. However, in spite of its historical significance, the temple has not yet been declared a protected monument.


How to Reach
Air: Patna is the nearest airport with regular flights to Delhi, Ranchi, Lucknow, Calcutta, Chennai, Mumbai. Calcutta, 482 km, has an international airport.

Rail: Gaya is the nearest railway station. Several superfast as well as express trains are available from Gaya. Gaya is on the main Delhi to Calcutta line and there are direct trains to Delhi, Calcutta, Varanasi, Puri and Patna.

Road: Bihar State Road Transport Corporation (SRTC) has bus services to Gaya, Patna, Nalanda and Rajgir. The main bus stand is opposite the Mahabodhi Temple. Private buses and taxis are also easily available.


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