image

GILDING OF THE MAHABODHI TEMPLE SPIRE

In the spring of 2010, Light of Buddhadharma Foundation International in collaboration with the Tibetan Nyingma Meditation Centre, became aware that some of the decorative elements on the spire of the Mahabodhi Mahavihara were coming loose and were a potential danger to pilgrims visiting the temple. The Bodhgaya Temple management committee immediately approached UNESCO and the ASI and no objections were raised to a project to repair and renovate the spire of the temple. Accordingly in September of 2010 LBDFI sponsored the erection of a scaffold tower on the west face of the temple to allow access to the spire itself, which rises 198 feet above the surrounding area.

A team of experienced metalworkers from Kathamandu were invited to undertake the renovation and began work in October 2010. New copper plates were fabricated to repair missing or damaged elements, new leaf and triratna ornaments were constructed and mounted on the outer rings, and the entire structure was gold gilded to protect from acid rain damage in the traditional manner. Judging from the age and condition of the spire structure, it is possible that this was the first full gilding program carried out on the spire since medieval times, although repairs to the copper itself were made when the spire was re-erected in the nineteenth century. The new spire was opened on October 29th, the great offering day of Buddha’s descent from the heavenly realms, to great rejoicing by all of the monastic institutions located in Bodhgaya. A ceremony attended by hundreds of Theravadin and Tibetan monks greeted the opening, and new floodlighting lit the newly golden spire for the first time.