About 250 years after the Enlightenment, the Buddhist Emperor, Ashoka visited the site and is considered the founder of the Mahabodhi Temple. According to the tradition, Ashoka, as well as establishing a monastery, erected a diamond throne shrine at this spot with a canopy supported by four pillars over a stone representation of the Vajrasana, the Seat of Enlightenment.
The temple's architecture is superb but its history is shrouded in obscurity. It was constructed with the main intention of making it a monument and not a receptacle for the relics of the Buddha. On its four corners four towers gracefully rise to some height. Inside the temple there is a colossal image of the Buddha in the "touching the ground pose", bhumisparsha mudra. This image is said to be 1700 years old and is facing east exactly at the place where the Buddha in meditation with his back to the Bodhi tree was enlightened.
Idol of Buddha
The Mahabodhi temple has a huge Idol of Buddha in the 'Bhumisparsa Mudra'. The temple is surrounded by a small pillars and delicate lattice work. These are a major attraction for the tourist who visit the place. To maintain the balance of the main tower there are four smaller towers.