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The Great Awakening at Mahabodhi Temple

Bodh Gaya is the place where Gautama Buddha attained enlightenment under the Bodhi tree in 530 BC. Bodh Gaya is located in the Bihar state of India and is a popular tourist and religious destination. The Mahabodhi Temple is a Buddhist temple located near the Bodhi tree and is listed as a World Heritage Site in India by UNESCO. Mahabodhi means great awakening, and the area around the tree is called Bodhimanda. It is a Buddhism term which means the position of awakening. The Bodhi tree is the prime attraction inside the temple complex.

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Maha Bodhi Temple (Image by ivesabroad on Flickr)

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Entry Gate (Image by marc_p_1970on Flickr)

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Mahabodhi Temple, BodhGaya

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Image by everytin irie on Flickr

The Mahabodhi Temple was constructed by Emperor Ashoka in 260 BCE. It has gone under many restorations under different reigns. The temple is a great example of earlier brick-work in India. It is one of the earliest brick structures in eastern India that had endured for so long. The temple follows a straight-edged pyramidal design and is a seven storey high structure according to the amalakas occurring at the corners of the sikhara.

Area of Mahabodhi temple

Area of Mahabodhi Temple

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Bodhi Tee (Image by everytin irie on Flickr)

The temple has a central tower that is surrounded by four smaller towers of the same design. The central tower is about 55 metres in height, and the temple covers about 4.8 hectares of land. The Mahabodhi Temple is surrounded by stone railings, which have statues of Hindu Gods and Goddess. The figures of stupas, garudas (eagles) and lotus flowers are also there on the railings. It is one of the most holy Buddhists places in India. The large number of visitors it gets includes tourists and pilgrims from India and around the globe.

 

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Intricate Inscriptions on Buddhist Monuments at Sanchi

Sanchi is a village in Madhya Pradesh, India. Basically, it is known in India for its popular Buddhist Stupa and its monuments. It is listed in the UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Many monasteries, temples and pillars are located around the famous Sanchi stupa. The intricate carvings on the stupa illustrate the events from the life of Buddha. It is an important Buddhist pilgrimage site in India.

Sanchi Stupa

Sanchi Stupa 1 or the Great Stupa
Image source: wikipedia.org

The great stupa is the oldest stone structure in India and was commissioned by the emperor Ashoka. There are a number of monuments at this place namely Stupa 1, Stupa 3, Pillar 10, Temple 18, Temple 17, Eastern Area Temple, Southern Area Temple, Western Area Monastery, Chetiyagiri Vihara and Archaeological Museum. They are the unrivaled masterpiece of early Buddhist Art. Also, there are ruins of about 50 monuments. Among the ruined monuments, 3 are large stupas, temples, a monastery and monolithic pillars.

Sanchi Pillar

Pillar at the northern gate of Stupa 1
Image source: wikipedia.org

Stupa no. 1 is the Great or Principal monument of the place. It has many porticos with stone railings. Decorative work or Torana on the four gateways give it a stunning look. The illustrations located in the decorative work depict the former lives of Buddha. Numerous themes are illustrated there that taken from legends and history. The wonderfully carved inscriptions of plants, animals and humans show the unrivaled skills and art of the earlier times of Buddha.

Buddhist Monastery-Sanchi

Buddhist Monastery in Sanchi
Image source: wikipedia.org

All the stupas are crowned with a chhatra. Chhatra is a parasol type structure that symbolizing high rank, peace and honour to the relics of Buddha. Also, temple 17 & 45 and monastery 51 are among the most sojourning structures.

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Temple 17 (front) and Temple 18 (behind)
Image source: wikipedia.org

So, the monuments of Sanchi are the worth visiting site and have great historical importance. Emperor Ashoka built many Buddhist monasteries and stupas all over India to spread Buddhism. Many pilgrimage sites are there that correlates with Buddhism and a large number of pilgrims visit them throughout the year.

Shalabhanjika

Shalabhanjika – The most well-known sculpture of Sanchi Complex
Image by jamyang190 on flickr.com

 

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