Here we have Buddha, adorned with a flowing robe, making the gesture of blessing with his upraised right hand.The three-layered pedestal is richly decorated, over which he is seated in padmasana - the yogic posture of meditation. The halo behind him is bordered with lotus petals. The Bodhi Tree itself spreads its magnificent foliage over him, densely laden with leaves and fruits, on which roost many birds, as if singing out in celebration of Buddha's Enlightenment.
The historical Bodhi tree is still there at the Mahabodhi Temple at Bodh Gaya (about 100 km from Patna in the Indian state of Bihar) under which Gautam Buddha arrived at Bodhi (enlightenment). The Bodhi Tree belongs to the Sacred Figs (Ficus religiosa), also known as Bo, Pipul (Peepal) or Ashwattha trees, which are sacred to Hindus, Jains and Buddhists. In religious iconography, the Bodhi tree is easily recognizable from its heart-shaped leaves, which are prominently displayed here.
The Bodhi tree at the Mahabodhi Temple is called the Sri MahaBodhi. According to Buddhism, after his Enlightenment, the Buddha spent a whole week in front of the tree, standing with unblinking eyes, gazing at it with gratitude. A shrine was later erected on the spot where he so stood.
The spot was used as a shrine even in the lifetime of the Buddha, the only shrine that could be so used. King Ashoka (ca 250 BC) was most diligent in paying homage to the Bodhi tree, and held a festival every year in its honor in the month of Karttika. His queen, Tissarakkha was jealous of the Tree, and three years after she became queen (i.e., in the nineteenth year of Asoka's reign), she caused the tree to be killed by means of mandu thorns. The tree, however, grew again, and a great monastery was attached to it called the Bodhimanda Vihara.