Standing adjacent to a descendant of the original Bodhi tree under which Lord Buddha meditated and attained enlightenment, this World Heritage site temple is a place of pilgrimage for all Buddhists.
A sapling from the original Bodhi tree was carried to Anuradhapura in Sri Lanka by Sanghamitra Emperor Ashoka’s daughter. The tree now flourishes there .A red sandstone slab under the tree is said to be the Vajrasan or diamond throne on which Buddha sat.
The Mahabodhi temple stands on the site of a temple erected by Ashoka in the 3rd century BC.Topped by a 50 m pyramidal spire, the ornate structure houses a large gilded image of Buddha. The temple was restored in the 11th century and again in 1882.The stone railing around the temple parts of which are still standing is considered to be from the Sunga period (184-72 BC).The carved and sculpted railing has been restored although parts of it now stand in the museum in Kolkata and in the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. Stone stupas erected by visiting pilgrims surround the temple courtyard.