The Mahabodhi Temple at Bodhgaya
Artist: Daniell, Thomas (1749-1840)
Medium: Pencil on paper
Pencil drawing by Thomas and William Daniell of the Mahabodhi Temple at Bodhgaya, dated March 1790. Inscribed on front in pencil: '52 Bramineegur. The Temple.'
Thomas Daniell (1749-1840) and his nephew William (1769-1837) travelled throughout India from 1786 to 1794 drawing and painting the landscape views and monuments they witnessed along the way. The Daniells are renowned for a collection of aquatints of views of India in six parts called 'Oriental Scenery' that was published between 1795 and 1810. The Mahabodhi Temple complex in Bodhgaya is one of the holiest sites related to the life of the Buddha as it is the place where he attained enlightenment. The present temple dates from the 7th century, with later additions, and was built on the site of a previous temple erected by Emperor Ashoka in the 3rd century BC. The temple consists of a central sanctuary with a tall pyramidal tower that is over 50 metres high and houses a large gilded image of the Buddha. The temple is built in front of the Bodhi Tree, the tree under which the Buddha obtained enlightenment, which is surrounded by a quadrangular stone railing that dates to the 2nd century BC.