Mahabodhi Temple

The Mahabodhi Temple of Bagan was known to have been modelled after the famous Mahabodhi temple in Bodhgaya, Bihar State of India. The original Mahabodhi Temple of India was built during AD 500. It commemorates the spot where the Buddha attained enlightenment; this monument was built during the reign of King Nantaungmya (1211-34).

History< The Mahabodhi Temple was built by King Zeyatheinkha, also known as Nadaungmyar, and Htilominlo, in A.D 1215. The temple is a two-storey structure rising 140 feet above the ground level. It consists of a staircase built in the south wall. This temple was built after seeing the Mahabodhi Temple in Bihar, India. The name was also taken from the original one. Like the temple from India, there is a sitting Buddha image in the lower storey and another standing Buddha image in the upper storey. There are 465 Buddha images in different postures placed in the niches of the whole surface of the spire. There are also seven monuments in the compound making the seven places (Satta Htana). Similar to the Mahabodhi is the Ratana Gara. Ratana Gara was built about 200 years earlier than Mahabodhi and therefore the floor levels are about eight feet in difference. There were coloured glazed plaques decorated inside the Rata Gara which is a very rare building of Bagan. Most of the building was destroyed by the earthquake during 1975. Some of the remaining is still displayed in the Bagan Museum today. There were also ink inscriptions describing the donation of the Mahabodhi, inside the east interior wall of the upper storey. Beautiful stuccos figures of various birds and nats can also be seen on the interior walls.Seven places (or) Satta Htana
After Gotama Buddha has gained the enlightenment, he stayed and meditated at seven places, each for one week. Therefore, there are seven holy places known as Satta Htana. The first week – Mahabodhi Tree and the Golden Throne. Lord Buddha sat under the Mahabodhi tree and meditated after gaining the enlightenment. The second week – Animisa Hillock. Gotama Buddha gazed intently without on Animisa Hillock to his throne under the Mahabodhi tree. The third week – Ratanacar Krama. Buddha spent pacing up and down the jewelled walk, north of the Bodhi tree. The fourth week – Ratana Gara. Buddha stayed in this place and meditated. The Ratana Gara is now only seen as some ruins. The fifth week – Ajapala Banyan Tree (or) Seik Kyaung Nyaung Pin. Buddha was sitting under the Ajapala Banyan tree. The sixth week – Musalinda Lake. Musalinda Naga (dragon) protected the Buddha from rain during the sixth week after the enlightenment. The seventh week – Rajaratana Tree (or) Linlun Tree . The two merchants Tapussa and Bhalika offered rice cakes and honey to the Buddha under the Rajaratana tree (Buchanania latifolia) at the end of the seventh week.

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