“What is a Bodhighara or Tree Shrine?
Bodhighara is a shrine enclosing a bodhi tree. It consists of two platforms, with the tree on the upper platform. Buddhists regard the sal or ashoka tree as being sacred as Queen Mahamaya supposedly gave birth to Siddhartha Gautama or Buddha under this tree. This tree sheltered her in a garden while she was travelling to her father’s palace near Lumbini for delivery. The decorative sculptural elements found in various temple architectures is not clear whether it is a sal tree or an ashoka tree.
Archaeologists have recently uncovered what is claimed as the world’s oldest Buddhist shrine, a Bodhigara or a tree shrine. It dates back to 6th century B.C. and is located at Nepal’s Lumbini pilgrimage center, the legendary site of the Buddha’s birth.”