Siddhartha's Intent India
Design Matrix & Be lit Design
The temple of Mahabodhi (of the Great Enlightenment) was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2002. It is one of the four sacred sites linked to the life of Lord Buddha and in particular to the attainment of Enlightenment: it is so called because it is said to be the place where Buddha received enlightenment under the sacred tree (what is now called the Bodhi tree) in 623 B.C. and is one of the most important pilgrimage destinations for both Hindus and Buddhists.
The first temple was built by Emperor Asoka in the third century B.C., while the main part of the temple dates back to around the 5th-6th century A.D., but has since undergone several repairs and renovations. After a long period of neglect (13th - 18th century A.D.), it was extensively restored in the 19th century A.D. and further work was carried out in the second half of the 20th century A.D. Nevertheless, the temple is considered the oldest and best preserved example of brick architecture in India of this particular period.
The entire complex is surrounded by an ornate wall that is evenly illuminated using Light Up Orbit, avoiding an overly dramatic effect.
The present Mahabodhi Temple complex at Bodh Gaya includes the large 50-metre high Temple, the sacred Bodhi Tree and six other sacred sites of Buddha enlightenment, surrounded by numerous ancient votive stupas, well maintained and protected by inner, middle and outer circular boundaries. A seventh sacred site, the Lotus Pond, is located outside the south enclosure. Both the temple area and the Lotus Pond are surrounded by circulation passages at two or three levels and the area of the whole is 5 m below the surrounding ground level.
The wall of the main temple, the Vajrasana, has an average height of 11 m and is built in the classical style of Indian temple architecture. It has entrances from the east and north and has a low plinth with mouldings decorated with honeysuckle and geese designs. Above it is a series of niches containing Buddha images that are precisely accentuated thanks to Palco InOut floodlights mounted on poles outside the temple area. Higher up are mouldings and chaitya niches, in which Trick lights have been placed to make the sculptures perceived in silhouette.
Elsewhere around the shrine, Twilight Bilbao post-tops have been deployed that create a layer of ambient lighting with a high degree of visual comfort.
Colour temperatures of 2700 K and 3000 K were chosen, which have very different results depending on the type of material on which they are applied and help emphasise the idea of variation, both for ambience and decoration that characterise the temple.
All conservation and restoration work is carried out under the guidance of experts from the Archaeological Survey of India. The main source of funding is donations from devotees.
The sustained operation of the management system enables the temple complex to be well maintained and the flow of visitors to be properly managed.
The Bodhgaya Temple Management Committee also tries to adopt a sustainable approach to the upkeep of the property, e.g. by using solar energy and reducing pollution.