Mahabodhi Temple in Bihar

The Mahabodhi Temple in Bodh Gaya, located in Gaya District (about 96 km away from the state capital Patna) is in the state of Bihar, India. It is a Buddhist temple that marks the place where Siddhartha or Gautama Buddha attained enlightenment and remains as one of the four holy sites that are connected with his life. This holy place is considered most sacred by the Buddhists, with the western side of the complex housing the holy Maha Bodhi tree. This 50-metre-high temple boasts of being one of the ancient temples constructed in the Indian subcontinent. On 27 June 2002, the UNESCO marked the place as one of the World Heritage Sites.

Mahabodhi Temple History

According to history, during 530 BC a young prince, Siddartha Gautama, was troubled by the widespread suffering in the world and wanted it to end. He wandered far and wide in search of a solution, and one day reached the bank of the Falgu River near the Gaya city. The area was forested. Here he meditated under a Peepul (fig) tree and after three days and three nights he attained enlightenment and became the Buddha. The sacred tree was named as the Bodhi tree.

Around 260 BC, Emperor Ashoka built the Mahabodhi Temple in the sacred place to commemorate the holy incident. In the third century BC, Emperor Ashoka constructed the Vajrasana or the Diomond Throne, representing the seat of enlightenment. It was made of polished sandstone. He also built a stupa in reverence of Gautama Buddha, which was there till the second century AD. During the reign of the Gupta kings in seventh century AD, the Mahavira Mahabodhi temple was completed. The Pala kings of Bengal built the gold-painted statue of Buddha, which is made of Black stone. Here Gautama Buddha is seen seated in the Earth-touching posture or the Bhumisparsa Mudra.

Location of Mahabodhi Temple

Mahabodhi Temple is located at the spot where the Buddha attained enlightenment. The place is in Bodhgaya, which is in the state of Bihar in India.

Mahabodhi Temple is famous for

The Mahabodhi Temple is the holiest shrine for Buddhists and is the main attraction in Bodhgaya. Visitors and worshippers from around the world visit this place, which is directly associated with the Buddha's life. The complex is elaborately crafted and maintained in a pristine manner, which gives it a serene and soothing ambiance. This spot in the Pali language is called Bodhimanda and the monastery is called Bodhimanda Vihara. The temple opens daily at 5 a.m. and closes at 9 p.m. Chanting and meditation are conducted daily during the opening and closing of the temple.

Here one can find records of the events that are associated with the life of Gautama Buddha, and also of the subsequent events, including the construction of the temple by Emperor Ashoka, works done by Gupta kings and Pala kings, etc. The temple stands as a perfect representation of one of the ancient brick structures with outstanding sculptural reliefs in stone built during the Gupta dynasty.

The Bodhi Tree at the Mahabodhi Temple

The Bodhi tree is considered most sacred by the Buddhists, because it is directly connected with the Buddha. It was under the Bodhi tree where Siddhartha Gautama, a prince who renounced all luxuries of life, attained enlightenment after three days of meditation and became the Buddha. The Mahabodhi temple was built to the east of this Peepal tree which was later named as Bodhi tree. The Jatakas believed that the navel of the earth lies in this spot. According to Buddhist belief, at the end of Kalpa when the world will be destroyed, this spot will be the last to disappear. Again, when the world will emerge into existence this holy spot will appear first.

When to Visit

In Bodhgaya, the season of pilgrimage starts from September after monsoon and is at the peak in January. Summers are very hot in this location, so it is better to avoid planning a trip during March to June. However, devotees come in large numbers in the month of May during the auspicious occasion of Buddha Jayanti, that is, the birthday celebration of the Buddha. June to September experiences heavy rainfall as monsoon sets in. The best time to visit the place is from November to February when the weather becomes pleasant, or during the Buddha Jayanti if you want to capture a moment of popular culture.

How to Reach

Bodhgaya can be reached by air or rail. The nearest airport is Gaya, which is 12 km away from Bodhgaya but the flights from Kolkata are quite infrequent. The better option for taking a flight is the Patna airport, which is 140 km away from the place but has connectivity with major cities of India. A three- to four-hour drive takes you to Bodhgaya from Patna.

The nearest railway station is Gaya, which is very well connected with other cities of India, including New Delhi, Varanasi, Kolkata, Patna and Puri, among others. A train journey from Patna to Bodhgaya takes around 2.5 hours. The Indian Railways conducts special train service, the Mahaparinirvan Express Buddhist Tourist Train, that touches other Buddhist sites in India, along with Bodhgaya.

Location of Mahabodhi Temple, Bihar

Mahabodhi Temple - Entry Fee, Timing, Address, Official Website

AddressBodhgaya Temple Management Committee, Post office-2, Bodhgaya, Gaya, Bihar - 824231
Entry Fee :No entry fee
Timings :Visiting Hours-
5:00 AM (Opening of the Mahabodhi Mahavihara (main shrine))
5:00 AM - 6:00 AM (Sutta chanting and meditation)
10:00 AM Offering of Kheer (rice pudding cooked with rice, milk and sugar)
6:00 pm to 6:30 pm Sutta chanting (Mahayana tradition)
6:30 pm to 7:00 pm Sutta chanting (Pali)
9:00 PM Closing of the Mahabodhi Mahavihara.
Phone No (Official) +91- 631-2200735
Official Website
Photography allowed or notAllowed
Nearest railway stationGaya Jn Train Station

Last Updated on : July 04, 2017