The Mahabodhi Pagoda within the city walls of old Bagan is a monument in a style that is unique to Bagan. The pagoda was build to resemble the Mahabodhi temple in Bodhgaya in North India, the place where the Buddha reached enlightenment some 25 centuries ago.
The temple is a two storey structure about 43 meters high. The pagoda and its square base are stuccoed and contain depictions of several animals and Nat spirit figures.
The base of the structure consists of a square block. On each of its four corners are smaller versions of the stupa. Both the base and tower contain numerous niches, in which 465 Buddha images in different postures are enshrined. On top of the base is a conical tower topped with a golden hti, an ornamental spire found most Burmese temples.
Both the lower and upper storey of the Mahabodhi temple contain a large seated Buddha image. On the inner wall is an inscription that provides information about the donation of the land where the temple was build on. The Mahabodhi temple was damaged during the earthquake of 1975, but has been restored since then.
Other structures in the temple complex
Another structure in the Mahabodhi temple complex is the gem house called Ratana Gara which contained a beautifully decorated alter piece which was badly damaged during the 1975 earthquake. The alter piece is now on display in the Bagan archaeological museum. The grounds also contain a brick circular stupa set on a square base.