Ranked 1 among Places to Visit in Bodh Gaya
Ideal Time: 2-3 hrs
The Mahabodhi temple also called the "Great Awakening Temple", is among one of the World Heritage Sites. It is a Buddhist temple in Bodh Gaya, which marks the location where the Buddha, is said to have attained enlightenment. It is hence, one of the only four sites related to the life of Lord Buddha. The temple spreads over an area of a whopping 4.8 hectares and stands 55 meters tall. The Bodhi Tree is right to the left of the temple. They say that this tree is the direct descendant of the actual tree, sitting under which Lord Gautam Buddha meditated. The Mahabodhi temple has a very calm and serene ambience, which people from all walks of life can appreciate.
The great Emperor Ashoka visited Bodh Gaya in around 260 BC. During his visit, he constructed a small temple by a tree, which later came to be known as the Bodhi tree- the tree under which Gautam Buddha was sitting when he attained enlightenment. An inscription dated back to between 1st century and 2nd century read that the temple built by Emperor Ashoka was replaced by a new one.
The age of the temple has not been assertively determined yet. This is because while several constituent components of the temple variably date back to the 7th century BC, or even earlier, many large parts of the structure date back to 2nd century BC and 3rd century BC. Many monks and devotees can be seen performing countless prostrations to the tree. It's a purificatory ritual, and some monks are known to do up to 1,00,000 prostrations at one time.
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