The only specimen of its classic structure among over 2000 surviving monuments in Bagan, Mahabodhi Temple is situated on the north of the Shwe Gu Gyi Temple within the city walls of Old Bagan. This temple is a replica of the famous Mahabodhi temple in Bodhgaya, Bihar State in India.
The temple is a two-story structure about 43 meters high. The lower section of the temple is a quadrilateral block supporting a tall pyramidal tower. The finial of the temple is a conical spire topped with a golden sacred umbrella, called hti. The sanctum facing east occupies only a portion of the quadrangle, but with the projections of the side walls towards the east, it can accommodate a spacious prayer hall in front. The structure has two tiers of vaulted corridors. In the thick wall on the southern side is a spiral stairway going up.
The whole structure is covered with niches bearing seated Buddhas and interspersed with ornamental panels and mouldings. Like the Mahabodhi temple in Bodhgaya, this temple faces east.
According to tradition, it was built by King Zeyatheinhka in 1215 A.D.