The Mahabodhi Temple Complex lies 115 km south of the state capital of Bihar, Patna and 16 km from the district headquarters at Gaya, in Eastern India. It is one of the four holy sites related to the life of the Buddha.
It comprises the 50 m high grand Temple, the Vajrasana, sacred Bodhi Tree and other six sacred sites of Buddha’s enlightenment, surrounded by numerous ancient Votive stupas.
The present Temple is one of the earliest and most imposing structures built entirely in brick from the late Gupta period (5th-6th centuries), it has undergone various repairs and renovation works since then. Having suffered from long abandonment (13th -18th centuries) it was extensively restored in the 19th century.
It’s walls has an average height of 11 m and it is built in the classical style of Indian temple architecture. The temple faces east and consists of a small forecourt in the east with niches on either side containing statues of the Buddha. The sculpted stone balustrades are an outstanding early example of sculptural reliefs in stone.
A doorway leads into a small hall, beyond which lies the sanctum, which contains a gilded statue of the seated Buddha (over 5ft high) holding earth as witness to his achieved Enlightenment. Above the sanctum is the main hall with a shrine containing a statue of Buddha, where senior monks gather to meditate.