Mahabodhi Temple is an ancient Buddhist Temple in Bodh Gaya. Bodh Gaya is about 96 km from Patna, Bihar, India. Mahabodhi literally means the Great Awakening and it is said that Buddha has attained enlightenment in this location. This temple is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Mahabodhi Temple – Facts
|Deity||Lord Buddha (Gautam Buddha)|
|Location||Bodh Gaya, Bihar|
|Best Time to Visit||November to February; April to May|
|Darshan Timings||5:00 AM – 9:00 PM|
|Festivals||Buddha Jayanti, Kalachakra Festival|
|Other Buddha Temples||Thotlakonda Buddhist Complex, Hemis Monastery, Tawang Monastery, Sanchi Supa, Rumtek Monastery|
What is the significance of the Mahabodhi Temple?
The significance of the Mahabodhi Temple is that it is one of the four holy sites related to the life of the Buddha. This temple was built in the late Gupta period. It is one of the earliest Buddhist temples built entirely in brick, which is still standing in India. This temple is said to have a significant influence on the development of brick architecture over the centuries. This temple was the first temple built by Emperor Asoka in the 3rd century B.C.
What is the history of Mahabodhi Temple?
Gautama Buddha once reached the Slyvan Banks of Falgu River, wandering as a monk. He sat under a peepul tree for meditating. it is said that after three days and three nights of meditating, he finally received enlightenment and all the answers that he sought. The peepul tree later came to be known as Bodhi Tree. The Mahabodhi Temple was built here by the devotees to mark the location.
After this, Buddha spent seven weeks in seven different spots meditating.
- He spent the first week under the Bodhi tree.
- On the second week, he just stood and stared at the Bodhi tree uninterrupted. an unblinking Stupa was built to mark this place. This Stupa is called Animeshlocha Stupa. Located at the north-east of Mahabodhi Temple, this shrine houses a statue of Buddha with his eyes fixed towards the Bodhi tree.
- It is said that Buddha walked back and forth from Bodhi tree and Animeshlocha Stupa. That place is called Ratnachakarma which means the Jewel walk. It is said that lotus flowers sprung across this place.
What is the architecture of this temple like?
The Mahabodhi Temple is 50 metres high and grand. The property of the temple has a total area of 4.8600 ha. The temple comprises of a sacred Bodhi Tree and other six sacred sites of Buddha’s enlightenment. These are surrounded by numerous ancient Votive stupas which are well maintained and protected by inner, middle and outer circular boundaries. A Lotus Pond is located outside the enclosure to the south. This is usually called the seventh sacred place. Both the temple area and the Lotus Pond are surrounded by circulating passages at two or three levels. Emperor Ashoka first built this temple in the 3rd century B.C.
The style of the edifice declares that it was built primarily to form a monument, not a shrine of Buddha. The Main Temple is built in the classical style of Indian temple architecture. The wall of the main temple has an average height of 11 m. It has entrances from the east and from the north and has a low basement.
What are the timings of the Mahabodhi Temple?
The Mahabodhi Temple opens at 5:00 AM and closes at 9:00 PM. The temple also performs various rituals during this time which the devotees can be a part of. The temple is open all days throughout the week. Also, 30-minute chanting sessions take place at the temple at 5:30 AM and 6:00 PM.
|5:00 AM||The opening of the Mahabodhi Mahavihara (main shrine)|
|5:30 AM to 6:00 AM||Sutta chanting and meditation|
|10:00 AM||The offering of Kheer (rice pudding cooked with rice, milk, and sugar)|
|12:00 PM to 2:00 PM||Shrine is closed for darshan|
|6:00 PM to 6:30 PM||Sutta chanting (Mahayana tradition)|
|6:30 PM to 7:00 PM||Sutta chanting (Pali)|
|9:00 PM||The closing of the Mahabodhi Mahavihara|
How to reach the Mahabodhi Temple?
- Air: You can fly to Patna. All major cities have direct flights to Patna Airport.
- Train: The nearest station is Gaya. The distance of the temple from Gaya is 16 km.
- Road: You can drive to Gaya and then to the temple. The Grand Trunk Road connects Gaya to cities like Jamshedpur, Patna, Varanasi, Allahabad, Kolkata, Kanpur etc.
What are the entry fees of the Mahabodhi Temple?
- There’s no entry fee.
- However, the charge for cameras is Rs. 100, and Rs. 300 for video cameras.
- A small entry fee is payable for the meditation park. It is open from sunrise until sunset.
- There is a prohibition of cell phones and other electronic devices on the temple complex. Free storage of the same is provided at the baggage counter at the entrance of the temple.
What are some places to visit in Gaya?
- Vishnupad Temple: Vishnupad Mandir is located in Gaya which is 100 km away from Patna, the capital of Bihar and is one of the most attractive temples. The temple is dedicated to Lord Vishnu and it is believed that Lord Rama, along with his wife, Sita, visited this temple.
- Tibetan Refugee Market: It is a place where you can buy lots of junk jewellery, bags and clothes. This is a very good market and all the product has a reasonable price. There are also books which help in knowing the history and culture of the Buddhist community very well. One can even buy Lord Buddha’s statue made of sandalwood or metal with various poses and moods. One can every buy handicraft items. This market has an open-bazaar system.
- Dhamma Bodhgaya International Vipassana Meditation Centre: One of the most popular Vipassana centres in Bodh Gaya is Dhamma Yoga which is a favourite centre all across India. Courses here are usually of 10 days long, with some special one lasting for up to 20 days. There is a strict code of discipline which one must follow, so make sure you understand these rules before applying. You’ll need to take a form from their website and check for availability and course schedules to be a part of their Vipassana camps.
- International Meditation Centre: Head to the International Meditation Centre to learn and participate in Vipassana Meditation, one of the most sophisticated forms of Yoga. This centre is run by trained professionals. The camps help by this centre helps in throwing away stress. You can join and complete a course of any duration that you please, at any time of the year. Run mostly on donations since 1970, the prices here are pretty affordable.
What are some other temples to visit in Bihar?
- Baidyanath Dham: Baba Baidyanath Dham or Baidyanath Jyotirlinga Temple is one of the 12 jyotirlingas in India. This temple of Shiva is in Deoghar in Santhal Parganas of Jharkhand. According to beliefs, the light of Jyotirlingam is the light of cosmos which is realized by the power of the soul as a whole.
- Patan Devi Temple: This temple is one of the oldest and the most sacred temples of Patna, the capital city of Bihar state in India. This ancient temple, which was originally called Maa Sarvanand Kari Patneshwari, is believed to be the abode of the goddess Durga. The temple is regarded as one among the 51 Siddha Shakti Peethas of the country.
- Mahavir Mandir: Mahavir Mandir Patna is located near Patna Junction and is devoted to Lord Hanuman. Thousands of devotees come here each day to offer prayer and seek the blessing of Lord Hanuman. It is also called “Manokamana Temple” as it is said that each and every wish of devotees is granted.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, the Mahabodhi Temple is open all 365 days of the year.
The entry to the Mahabodhi Temple is free of cost.
No, there is no online darshan facility available.
No. All electronic gadgets are prohibited in the temple premises (viz. mobile, camera, laptop). Free storage of the same is available at the entrance of the temple.
No. No such facilities are available. Although, a wheelchair can be made available upon request.
No. No such facilities are available.
The months of November to February is very ideal to visit the Mahabodhi and the other temples located in Gaya. However, since Buddha Purnima takes place in the month of April or May, many devotees visit the temple during this time.
The summers at Gaya start from March and continues until June. The summers here can be very hot. Temperatures during the daytime often go up to 45 º C.
In Gaya, winters start in November and continue until February. The temperatures during this time are around 20 º C. The weather during this time is cool and pleasant.
If you have any questions about The Mahabodhi Temple, please leave your comment below and we will get back to you within one hour.