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Extract from Unesco World Heritage site

Mahabodhi Temple Complex at Bodh Gaya

India State of Bihar, Eastern India 24 41' N, 84 59' E

Inscribed :2002 Criteria: C (i) (ii) (iii) (iv) (vi) Justification for Inscription:

Criterion (i): The grand 50m high Mahabodhi Temple of the 5th-6th centuries is of immense importance, being one of the earliest temple constructions existing in the Indian sub-continent. It is one of the few representations of the architectural genius of the Indian people in constructing fully developed brick temples in that era.

Criterion (ii): The Mahabodhi Temple, one of the few surviving examples of early brick structures in India, has had significant influence in the development of architecture over the centuries.

Criterion (iii): The site of the Mahabodhi Temple provides exceptional records for the events associated with the life of Buddha and subsequent worship, particularly since Emperor Asoka built the first temple, the balustrades, and the memorial column.

Criterion (iv): The present Temple is one of the earliest and most imposing structures built entirely in brick from the late Gupta period. The sculpted stone balustrades are an outstanding early example of sculptural reliefs in stone.

Criterion (vi): The Mahabodhi Temple Complex in Bodh Gaya has direct association with the life of the Lord Buddha, being the place where He attained the supreme and perfect insight.

Report of the 26th Session of the Committee Brief description:

The Mahabodhi Temple Complex is one of the four holy sites related to the life of the Lord Buddha, and particularly to the attainment of Enlightenment. The first temple was built by Emperor Asoka in the 3rd century B.C., and the present temple dates from the 5th or 6th centuries. It is one of the earliest Buddhist temples built entirely in brick, still standing in India, from the late Gupta period.

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UNESCO World Heritage Site

Texts and Translations © Peter G. Friedlander unless otherwise indicated.