The Buddha attained enlightenment in Bodhgaya, on the banks of Phalgu River, under a bodhi tree. King Ashoka, who had embraced Buddhism, erected a shrine near the bodhi tree, which in the 2nd century, was replaced by the present Mahabodhi temple.
The soaring pyramidal temple tower, rises more than 160 feet above the sanctuary, which contains a large gilded statue of Buddha, in the yogic posture signifying enlightenment. Around the temple are votive stupas.
Along the western wall is the bodhi tree, under which is the Vajrasana or the Diamond Throne – a stone slab marking where Buddha was sitting, when he attained enlightenment. Along the north side of the Mahabodhi Temple is the Chanka Ramana, a platform where the Buddha walked in meditation. Near it is the carved stone lotuses, indicating the spots where the lotuses spring from his feet. South of the temple is a statue of Buddha protected by a cobra standing in the middle of a large lotus pond.