Mahabodhi Temple Complex at Bodh Gaya, was first established in 3rd century BC when Emperor Asoka built this first temple. The complex is one of the 4 holy sites that are related to the life of Lord Buddha, especially the attainment of enlightenment. The complex’s present-day temples can be traced to 5th or 6th centuries. They are entirely built in bricks. They are associated with the Gupta period.
History of Mahabodhi Temple Complex at Bodh Gaya
531 BC – Buddha is said to have attained the supreme and perfect insight when sitting under a Bodhi tree at the site where the Temple Complex sits.
260 BC – Emperor Asoka made a pilgrimage to the site Mahabodhi Temple Complex at Bodh Gaya and built a temple on the site of the Bodhi tree.
It must be noted that the Mahabodhi Temple Complex is nestled at the heart of the city of Bodh Gaya and consists of the main temple and 6 other sacred places. On the outside of the enclosure is a seventh sacred place known as the Lotus Pond.
Sacred Places at Mahabodhi Temple Complex
In the following paragraphs, we are going to enlist various other places of importance which relate with Lord Buddha.
Bodhi Tree at Bodh Gaya
Of the sacred places, the most important is the giant Bodhi Tree which is located to the west of the main temple. It is said to be a direct descendant of the Bodhi Tree under which Buddha spent his First Week after attaining his enlightenment.
This is also referred to as the Animeshlochan Chaitya and is located on the north of the central path. It is said to be where Buddha spent his Second Week.
Also referred to as the Ratnachakrama, it is located on the northern wall of the main temple and it is where Buddha spent his Third Week walking 18 steps back and forth.
This is where Buddha spent his Fourth Week. It is located to the north-east near the enclosure.
Ajapala Nigrodh Tree
At this place, Buddha spent his Fifth Week meditating and answering the questions of the Brahmins.
His Sixth Week was spent next to Lotus Pond, which is located to the south of the Enclosure.
This was the place he spent the Seventh Week. Today, it is marked by a tree. You will have to visit the Mahabodhi site to know how the place looks like.
The Main Temple at the Mahabodhi Temple Complex at Bodh Gaya is a masterpiece that showcases the best of Buddhism architectural creativity. Whether you are a Buddhist or not, you will find this place interesting to visit. So visit it and be blessed with one of the most sacred religious places in India.