Winners of the Mahabodhi Temple Light Art Design Competition

Golden Buddha statue in the center with warm red light projected above.

Siddhartha’s Intent India and Khyentse Foundation are pleased to announce the winners of the international competition for the design of a light sculpture/light art installation in the outer and inner sanctums of the Mahabodhi Temple in Bodhgaya. The light sculpture/installation will be the final step in the Lighting the Mahabodhi project, initiated by Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche in 2019. The new installation will replace the existing chandeliers in the two sanctums.

The joint winners of the competition are Atelier Xi from China and Jyotir-Sangha from India. The successful candidates were selected from nine qualified applicants from six different countries.

Atelier Xi’s design represents a spatial mandala. A “layered lighting experience,” the design draws on the graded lighting of the temple’s exterior, leading progressively from cooler colours in the entryway to warmer tones when approaching the inner sanctum.

Looking up at delicate metal filigree chandelier
Jyotir-Sangha’s lighting design proposal for the inner sanctum of the Mahabodhi Temple.

Jyotir-Sangha conceives of the outer hall as “the body” and the inner hall as “the mind.” Lit by two sets of luminaires, in their design the outer hall will feature an art installation called The Drape, celebrating the timeless Indian tradition of woven textiles and the uniquely Indian idea of the unstitched garment. Composed of silver filigree, Benares brocade, and zardozi (metal embroidery on fabric), the piece will be suspended from branches evoking the Bodhi tree. The inner hall will feature artworks in gold-plated copper inspired by the Buddha’s ushnisha, up-lit from suspended central sources.

The final installation will draw on the richness of both design proposals, aspiring to represent the vast spectrum of form and formlessness.

View the winning proposals.

Jyotir-Sangha’s design concept.

Atelier Xi’s design concept.

Siddhartha’s Intent India and Khyentse Foundation are immensely grateful to all the applicants, who put so much thought, effort, and heart into the competition, and to the international jury for their professional recommendations. We are confident that the new lighting design will inspire countless pilgrims for generations to come.