Local Tourism

Mahabodhi Temple

Mahabodhi Temple

About Mahabodhi Temple

Mahabodhi Temple, Bihar, India | Times of India Travel

The Mahabodhi Temple is one of the most important and sacred Buddhist temples in the world. It is located in Bodh Gaya, a small town in the state of Bihar, India. The temple is situated at the site where Siddhartha Gautama, the historical Buddha, is said to have attained enlightenment around 2,500 years ago.

Key features of the Mahabodhi Temple:

Mahabodhi Temple History

The Mahabodhi Temple is considered a UNESCO World Heritage Site and holds immense historical and religious significance for Buddhists. It is believed to be the place where Prince Siddhartha sat under the Bodhi tree and meditated until he achieved enlightenment, becoming the Buddha.

Bodhi Tree

The temple complex includes a descendant of the original Bodhi tree, which is said to be a direct descendant of the tree under which the Buddha attained enlightenment. This tree is revered by Buddhists worldwide and is a focal point for meditation and worship.


The temple’s architecture is a blend of various styles, predominantly reflecting the influence of the Gupta period. The temple complex has a main tower or “stupa” rising high, and the entire structure is decorated with intricate carvings and relief work depicting scenes from the life of Buddha and various deities.

Mahabodhi Temple Complex

Besides the main temple, the Mahabodhi complex houses several other shrines, stupas, and monasteries built by various Buddhist communities and countries from around the world. The temple attracts pilgrims and tourists from all over the globe, making it a significant cultural and religious hub.

Rituals and Festivals

The Mahabodhi Temple hosts various Buddhist rituals and festivals throughout the year, with Bodh Gaya being particularly crowded during major Buddhist festivals like Buddha Purnima (celebrating the Buddha’s birth), Dharma Chakra Day (marking the Buddha’s first sermon), and Magha Puja Day (commemorating an important gathering of monks with the Buddha).


The Mahabodhi Temple is open to people of all faiths, and visitors are welcome to explore its premises, meditate, or offer prayers. The temple complex promotes an atmosphere of tranquility and spiritual reflection.

Visiting the Mahabodhi Temple offers a unique experience of connecting with the roots of Buddhism and understanding the profound impact of the Buddha’s teachings on the world. It is a place of pilgrimage and contemplation for millions of Buddhists seeking spiritual awakening and enlightenment.

Things to do in Mahabodhi Temple

Here are some of the things you can do and experience at the Mahabodhi Temple:

1. Meditate under the Bodhi tree

Sit under the famous Bodhi tree, believed to be a descendant of the original tree where Buddha attained enlightenment. Many people come here to meditate and experience a sense of tranquility and spiritual connection.

2. Explore the Mahabodhi Temple complex

Take a stroll through the temple complex, which includes the main temple, various stupas, prayer halls, and shrines. The architecture of the temple is impressive and holds immense historical and religious significance.

3. Offer prayers and light candles

Join the pilgrims in offering prayers and lighting candles at the temple. It is a common practice to make offerings of flowers, incense, and other symbolic items as a mark of respect and devotion.

4. Visit the Mahabodhi Temple Museum

The museum located nearby displays a rich collection of Buddhist artifacts, sculptures, and relics dating back to ancient times. It provides insights into the history and development of Buddhism.

5. Attend chanting and prayer sessions

The temple regularly holds chanting and prayer sessions, especially during significant Buddhist festivals. Participating in these sessions can be a profound and spiritual experience.

6. Visit the Great Buddha Statue

Nearby the Mahabodhi Temple, there is a 80-feet tall statue of Lord Buddha in a meditating posture. It is one of the largest Buddha statues in India and worth a visit.

7. Visit other nearby monasteries and temples

Bodh Gaya is home to various monasteries and temples built by different Buddhist countries. You can visit these places to experience diverse Buddhist traditions and architectures.

8. Reflect at the Animesh Lochana Stupa

This stupa is located just to the north of the main temple and is believed to be the spot where Buddha spent a week after attaining enlightenment, gazing at the Bodhi tree with gratitude.

9. Participate in Dhamma talks and lectures

Sometimes, Buddhist scholars and monks deliver talks and lectures on various aspects of Buddhism and its teachings. Check for any scheduled events during your visit.

10. Immerse in the spiritual atmosphere

Regardless of your religious or spiritual beliefs, the Mahabodhi Temple provides a unique and serene environment that is worth experiencing. Take your time to soak in the peaceful ambiance and reflect on life and its deeper meanings.

Remember to dress modestly and respectfully while visiting the temple, as it is a sacred site for Buddhists. Also, it’s a good idea to check for any specific guidelines or rules for visitors before you go. Enjoy your visit to this sacred place of historical and spiritual significance!

Bodh Gaya Tour Packages

FAQs on Mahabodhi Temple

What is the Mahabodhi Temple?

The Mahabodhi Temple is a Buddhist temple located in Bodh Gaya, Bihar, India. It is one of the holiest sites in Buddhism as it marks the spot where Gautama Buddha is said to have attained enlightenment over 2,500 years ago.

How do I reach the Mahabodhi Temple?

The Mahabodhi Temple is well-connected by road, rail, and air. The nearest airport is Gaya Airport, about 17 kilometers away. The Gaya Junction railway station is the nearest major railhead. From there, you can take a taxi or a local bus to reach the temple.

Is there an entry fee to visit the Mahabodhi Temple?

No, there is no entry fee to visit the Mahabodhi Temple complex. However, you may need to pay a small fee for using the camera to take pictures.

Can non-Buddhists visit the temple?

Yes, the Mahabodhi Temple is open to people of all religions and backgrounds. It is a significant historical and cultural site, and visitors of any faith are welcome to explore and experience its spiritual ambiance.

When is the best time to visit the temple?

The best time to visit the Mahabodhi Temple is during the winter season, from November to February when the weather is cool and pleasant. Avoid visiting during the peak summer months (April to June) due to the scorching heat.

Are there any specific dress code requirements for visitors?

Yes, there is a dress code to follow when visiting the Mahabodhi Temple. Both men and women are required to dress modestly and cover their shoulders and legs. It is respectful to wear clothes that do not expose too much skin.

Can I meditate under the Bodhi tree?

Yes, visitors are allowed to meditate under the Bodhi tree. Many people come to sit in meditation and contemplation, seeking a spiritual experience and connection with Buddha’s enlightenment.

Are there any accommodations available near the temple?

Yes, there are various accommodation options available in Bodh Gaya, ranging from budget guesthouses to luxury hotels. Since Bodh Gaya is a popular pilgrimage site, it is advisable to book your accommodation in advance, especially during peak tourist seasons.

Are there any restrictions on photography?

While photography is generally allowed in the temple complex, there might be restrictions in certain areas. It is advisable to ask for permission before taking pictures of monks or during religious ceremonies.

Are there any specific rules for behavior inside the temple?

Yes, visitors are expected to maintain a respectful and peaceful demeanor inside the temple complex. Avoid loud conversations, smoking, and any behavior that may disturb others or the sanctity of the place.