Model of the Mahabodhi Temple

More than a replica of Mahabodhi Temple, this model symbolizes the most important event in the Buddha’s life: achieving enlightenment.

Model of the Mahabodhi Temple, eastern India, probably Bodhgaya, c. 11th century, stone (serpentinite), 17.5 x 8.9 x 10.2 cm (Rubin Museum of Art, New York). Speakers: Dr. Elena Pakhoutova, Senior Curator, Rubin Museum of Art and Dr. Beth Harris

Rubin Museum senior curator Dr. Elena Pakhoutova and Smarthistory’s Dr. Beth Harris explore a model of the most important temple in the Buddhist world. The Mahabodhi Temple, located in Bodhgaya, India, is where the Buddha attained awakening while sitting under the bodhi tree.

The Rubin Museum of Art has teamed up with Smarthistory to bring you an “up-close” look at select objects from the Rubin’s preeminent collection of Himalayan art. Featuring conversations with senior curators and close-looking at art, this video series is an accessible introduction to the art and material culture of the Tibetan, Himalayan, and Inner Asian regions. Learn about the living traditions and art-making practices of the Himalayas from the past to today.

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Images: Model of the Mahabodhi Temple; eastern India, probably Bodhgaya; ca. 11th century; stone (serpentinite); Rubin Museum of Art; purchased with funds from Ann and Matt Nimetz and Rubin Museum of Art; C2019.2.2 (HAR 68417)

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Learn more about the Mahabodhi Temple on Project Himalayan Art, a resource from the Rubin for learning about Himalayan, Tibetan, and Inner Asian art and cultures:

Representing the Sacred Site of the Buddha’s Awakening: Mahabodhi Temple Model

Mahabodhi Temple at Bodhgaya, India

Sites & Architecture

Cite this page as: Dr. Elena Pakhoutova, Senior Curator, Rubin Museum of Art and Dr. Beth Harris, "Model of the Mahabodhi Temple," in Smarthistory, April 8, 2024, accessed May 28, 2024,