The Mahabodhi Temple Complex is where Siddharta Gautama Buddha achieved his enlightenment. It is located in the town Bodhgaya in the state of Bihar in India. The complex is at the center of the town and sits beside the exact spot where Buddha meditated and attained enlightenment under a bodhi tree.
While I was in Bodhgaya, I noticed that it is a small town with quite numbers of accommodation for pilgrims and tourists. Almost all of the accommodations here including those monasteries offering their rooms are very basic so most of them had cheap internal doors which let you hear the Buddhist chants and music coming from various temples built by different Buddhist nations like Burma, Vietnam, Cambodia, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Laos, Nepal China, Japan, etc. I really feel good whenever I hear different Buddhist chants because they sounds so relaxing for me.
The Buddha is said to have attained enlightenment under a Bodhi tree. About 200 years after that, an emperor named Ashoka visited this tree and established a shrine or a monastery which is now known as the Mahabodhi Temple. Part of the temple is the Vajrasana (diamond throne), marking the exact spot of the Buddha’s enlightenment.
According to some local I’ve talked with, the original Bodhi tree was cut down by Ashoka’s wife who was so jealous that her husband was giving more importance to the tree than to her. Luckily, Sanghamitra, Ashoka’s daughter was able to carried one of the saplings from the tree to Sri Lanka to spread Buddhism. Now, the tree that stands in Mahabodhi complex is an offspring of the Bodhi tree that was brought in Sri Lanka.
The main temple is a neat structure situated next to the Bodhi tree and houses a Buddha statue. I noticed that there are so many monks from different countries meditating and chanting prayers in the gardens surrounding the temple.
The Mahabodhi Temple is one of the four holy sites related to the life of the Buddha. The other three Buddha’s Holy Sites are Sarnath – the deer park where Gautam Buddha first taught the Dharma; Lumbini – the birthplace of the Buddha which is located in Nepal; Kushinagar – the place where Gautam Buddha attained salvation (Mahaparinirvana). Being one of the most important places for Buddhism, Mahabodhi temple is visited by both Hindu and Buddhist pilgrims.