Mahabodhi Temple (1670/ 973)(မဟာဗောဓိ ဘုရား)

Type of monument Temple of Central Indian Type
Location North of Shwegugyi
Region Old Bagan
Built by King Nantaungmya
Date 12th Century
Monument Number (1670/ 973)

Mahabodhi Temple (မဟာဗောဓိ ဘုရား)
Amongst over 2000 surviving monuments in Bagan, this Pagoda is the one which is closely identical with the Maha Bodhi Pagoda at Bodhgaya in India. It was built by King Zeya Thein Kha in A. D. 1215. This King had other names such as Nantaung Mya and Htilo Minlo Min. The Pagoda was Indeed a copy of the Maha Bodhi at Bodhgaya.
The structure has two tiers of vaulted corridors. In the thick wall on the southern side is a spiral stairway going up. Like the Maha Bodhi at Bodhgaya, this pagoda faces East and there is in the ground floor a Buddha image with the right hand in earth-touching posture and a similar one in upper storey. There are several niches on the faces of the Sikhara. Inside them are Buddha statues with different postures- standing, sitting, and reclining, totaling 469 statues.
Due to years of lime washing original features are concealed by layers of lime wash. Many earthquakes had hit this Pagoda and destroyed them original stupa atop. The present top stupa is a later replacement, modelled on Myanmar stupa. In the western vaulted corridor there is a trace of a circle which is believed to be that of a Bodhi tree. In the ground floor hall are original decorative artworks of plaster on the upper reaches of the wall. They are figurines and floral designs. Lime wash had spoiled their features.
Just like at Bodhgaya, there are seven sacred places in the environs of this Pagoda. With the exception of slight differences in position, the seven sacred places are similar to those at Bodhgaya. But the building which represented Ratanaghara (Bejewelled House) where the Lord Buddha contemplated Abidhamma belongs to the early period of Bagan, about two centuries earlier than the Maha Bodhi Pagoda. In this building there used to be an ornamental back-drop behind the throne of the Buddha image and a mosaic picture of green, red-brown and yellow coloured glazed bricks. The 1975 earthquake destroyed them. Only a few remain and they are preserved by the Archeology Department. Broken pieces are now on display at the museum.
Of the seven sacred places where the Lord Buddha after enlightenment had sojourned seven days at each place, the lake of Muncalinda represented in the neighbourhood of Maha Bodi Pagoda, now lies on the north-west into which rain wa¬ter coming down from the Pagoda flows. Where this lake should be is on the south.
Thirteen lines of ink inscription are found on the eastern wall of the upper vaulted corridor. The lines say that the Pagoda was built and dedicated by Nan Taung Mya, son of King Narapatisithu, that the measurement of the land he donated to religion was recorded in history, that curse may befall those who destroyed his donated properties, and that he prayed and made vow. The north, south and west sides of the main structure were decorated with plaster mouldings, which include floral designs, birds and deva figures. There are 15 birds and 35 deva figurines on the south side, 10 deva figures on the west side and 18 birds and 35 deva figures on the north side.

Mahabodhi Temple

Amongst over 2000 surviving monuments in Bagan, this Pagoda is the one which is closely identical with the Maha Bodhi Pagoda at Bodhgaya in India. It was built by King Zeya Thein Kha in A. D. 1215. This King had other names such as Nantaung Mya and Htilo Minlo Min. The Pagoda was Indeed a copy of the Maha Bodhi at Bodhgaya.

The structure has two tiers of vaulted corridors. In the thick wall on the southern side is a spiral stairway going up. Like the Maha Bodhi at Bodhgaya, this pagoda faces East and there is in the ground floor a Buddha image with the right hand in earth-touching posture and a similar one in
upper storey. There are several niches on the faces of the Sikhara. Inside them are Buddha statues with different postures- standing, sitting, and reclining, totaling 469 statues.

Due to years of lime washing original features are concealed by layers of lime wash. Many earthquakes had hit this Pagoda and destroyed them original stupa atop. The present top stupa is a later replacement, modelled on Myanmar stupa. In the western vaulted corridor there is a trace of a circle which is believed to be that of a Bodhi tree. In the ground floor hall are original decorative artworks of plaster on the upper reaches of the wall. They are figurines and floral designs. Lime wash had spoiled their features.

Just like at Bodhgaya, there are seven sacred places in the environs of this Pagoda. With the exception of slight differences in position, the seven sacred places are similar to those at Bodhgaya. But the building which represented Ratanaghara (Bejewelled House) where the Lord Buddha contemplated Abidhamma belongs to the early period of Bagan, about two centuries earlier than the Maha Bodhi Pagoda. In this building there used to be an ornamental back-drop behind the throne of the Buddha image and a mosaic picture of green, red-brown and yellow coloured glazed bricks. The 1975 earthquake destroyed them. Only a few remain and they are preserved by the Archeology Department. Broken pieces are now on display at the museum.

Of the seven sacred places where the Lord Buddha after enlightenment had sojourned seven days at each place, the lake of Muncalinda represented in the neighbourhood of Maha Bodi Pagoda, now lies on the north-west into which rain wa¬ter coming down from the Pagoda flows. Where this lake should be is on the south.

Thirteen lines of ink inscription are found on the eastern wall of the upper vaulted corridor. The lines say that the Pagoda was built and dedicated by Nan Taung Mya, son of King Narapatisithu, that the measurement of the land he donated to religion was recorded in history, that curse may befall those who destroyed his donated properties, and that he prayed and made vow. The north, south and west sides of the main structure were decorated with plaster mouldings, which include floral designs, birds and deva figures. There are 15 birds and 35 deva figurines on the south side, 10 deva figures on the west side and 18 birds and 35 deva figures on the north side.



Just like at Bodhgaya, there are seven sacred places where the Lord Buddha after enlightenment had sojourned seven days at each place.

Mahabodhi Temple (Google Map)

Reference Books:

Glimpse of Glorious Bagan, Universities Historical Research Centre, Yangon, Myanmar, The University Press, 1996

Pictorial Guide to Pagan, Ministry of Culture, Yangon, Myanmar, The Printing and Publish Corporation, Reprint 1975

The Pagodas and Monuments of Bagan, Vol. 1, Translated by Dr Khin Maung Nyunt, Ministry of Information, Yangon, Myanmar, Graphic Training Centre (G.T.C), 1995

The Pagodas and Monuments of Bagan , Vol. 2, English Text by Dr Khin Maung Nyunt, Ministry of Information, Yangon, Myanmar, Graphic Training Centre (G.T.C), 1998

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