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Places to visit in Gaya District


The most attractive destination in Gaya is Vishnupad Temple. The temple is located on the bank of river Falgu River and has footprint of Vishnu incised into a block of basalt. People believe that Lord Vishnu killed Gayasur by placing his foot on Gayasur’s chest.The old temple of Vishnupad was later renovated by the queen of Indore, Devi Ahilyabai in eighteenth century. While Hindus claim that footprints in Vishunpad temple are of Lord Vishnu, Buddhists consider them the footprints of Lord Buddha. The temple is nevertheless a major pilgrim destination.

Nomenclature of Gaya is based on the myth of demon Gayasur who Lord Vishnu had killed in a dual. The place is so sacred for Hindus that even Lord Ram had performed Pindadanam here for his ancestors. Legend says that Lord Ram had come to Gaya to pay homage to his ancestors and Sita had accompanied him on his way. Gaya is equally important for Buddhists as this was the place where Lord Buddha preached the Fire Sermon i.e. Adittapariyaya Sutta to around 1000 agriculture workers who were fire-worshipers. The influence of Buddha’s discourse was so enormous that all of them converted to Buddhism.


Bodhgaya is one of the most important and sacred Buddhist pilgrimage center in the world. It was here under a banyan tree, the Bodhi Tree, Gautama attained supreme knowledge to become Buddha,the Enlightened One. Born; in the foothills of the Himalayas as a Sakya prince of Kapilvastu (now in Nepal), most of the major events of his life, like enlightenment and last sermon, happened in Bihar. Buddhism as a religion was really born in Bihar and evolved here through his preaching and the example of his lifestyle of great simplicity, renunciation and empathy for everything living. Significantly, the state’s name of ‘Bihar’ originated from ‘Vihara’ meaning monasteries which abounded in Bihar. Several centuries after Buddha’s passing away, the Maurya Emperor Ashoka (234-198 BC) contributed tremendously towards the revival, consolidation and spread of the original religion. It is the monasteries, Ashoka built for the Buddhist monks and the pillars known as Ashokan Pillars erected to commemorate innumerable historical sites associated with the Buddha’s life, mostly intact to this day, that helped scholars and pilgrims alike to trace the life events and preaching of a truly extraordinary man. There is a magnificent Mahabodhi temple and the Tree from the original sapling still stands in the temple premises. The temple is an architectural amalgamation of many centuries, cultures and heritages. While its architecture has a distinct stamp of the Gupta era, it has later ages inscriptions describing visits of pilgrims from Sri Lanka, Myanmar and China between 7th and 10th century AD. It is perhaps still the same temple Hieuen Tsang visited in 7th century.

Mahabodhi Temple

he temple stands in the east to the Bodhi Tree. Its architectural effect is superb. Its basement is 48 square feet and it rises in the form of a slender Pyramid till it reaches its neck, which is cylindrical in shape. The total height of the temple is 170 ft. and on the top of the temple are Chatras which symbolize sovereignty of religion. Four towers on its corners rise gracefully giving the holy structure a poise balance. This sacred edifice is like a grand banner unfurled by time to proclaim to the world the pious efforts of the Buddha to solve the knots of human miseries, to ascend above worldly problems and to attain transcendental peace through wisdom, good conduct and disciplined life.
Inside the temple, in the main sanctum, there is a colossal image of the Buddha in sitting posture touching the earth by his right hand. In this posture the Buddha accomplished the supreme enlightenment. The statue is of black stone but it has been guilder by the devotees. The entire courtyard of the temple is studded with large number of votive stupas. These stupas are of all sizes built during the past 2500 years ago. Most of them are extremely elegant in structural beauty. The ancient railings, which surround the temple, are of the first century BC and are among the very interesting monuments of the century.

Thai Monastery

One of the oldest foreign monasteries built in the ornamental regal Thai architectural style. The grandeur of the exterior as well as the interior is utterly awe-inspiring. The temple reflects like a red and golden gem over a calm pool at the front patio. The splendid Buddha idol along with the mural paintings depicting Buddha’s life and some modern events like importance of planting trees painted in a stylized manner are utterly marvelous.

Baba Koteshwarnath Temple

ba Koteshwarnath Temple is situated in Village Main, Block Belaganj, District Gaya. The temple is situated on the confluence of the river Morhar & Dargha in Gaya, is famous for highly sacred Lord Shiva Temple. Located 90km south of Patna, Koteshwarnath temple is believed to have been build around 8th century AD.
Koteshwarnath temple’s sanctum is carved in a single piece of red stone and within it is installed a large sized Shivalinga with around 1,008 miniature Shivlingas around 1200 years back.It says that Vanasur’s Main & DevKund was situated in a deep forest. Usha used to visit the temple to offer prayers during which Lord Shiva appeared & told her to establish a Sahashtra Linga to get her wish full filled. After that Usha established the Shiva Linga. In result of that Lord Shiva granted her wish and she got married with Aniruddha, grandson of Lord Krishna her husband with whom she went on to live her life.
The place is known as “Shiv Nagar” in ancient times. There is a reference that Sahastra Shiv Ling idol was established at the end of Dwapar Yuga. This Shiv Ling was established by Usha, daughter of King Vanasur of Sonitpur. It’s a belief that a pilgrimage to this place is powerful enough to full fill all the wishes and desires of the one who comes here. Quite Evidently, Every year In the month of Saawan devotees throng this temple to offer prayers.It says that Vanasur’s Main & Dev Kund was situated in a deep forest. Usha used to visit the temple to offer prayers during which Lord Shiva appeared & told her to establish a Sahashtra Linga to get her wish full filled. After that Usha established the Shiva Linga. In result of that Lord Shiva granted her wish and she got married with Aniruddha, grandson of Lord Krishna her husband with whom she went on to live her life.Usually all the holy places of Lord Shiva have large number of devotes coming all the year round but during the holy months of Saawan this increases. It is well connected through Pitch road from the sides of Makhdumpur, Shakurabad-Ghejan, Tekari and Bela Rampur.

Dungeshwari Temple / Dungeshwari Hill

Dungeshwari Cave Temples, also known as Mahakala caves, is situated 12 km north-east of Bodhgaya, Bihar. There are three caves containing Buddhist shrines, where the Buddha is believed to have meditated. Dungeshwari Cave Temples are the ancient caves. These are caves Lord Buddha underwent years of self-mortification before descending to Bodhgaya. Three main caves contain several shrines for Buddhists and one for Hindus. Dungeshwari cave temples are also popular as Sujata Sthan to local people. An interesting story is being famous on this temple. It is believed that when Buddha was doing his self-mortification, he became frail, feeble and starved. When he rested under a Banayan tree, a doomed village woman named Sujata offered him food. Buddha accepted her offerings and consumed the food, his explicit approval presented him with a divine truth that neither extreme self indulgence nor self-abasement is the right way to attain enlightenment. Buddha attained the knowledge that folow the middle path was require to attain the supreme nirvana. Sujata Sthan or Dungeshwari Temple stands as a symbol commemorating this event.

Source : https://gaya.nic.in/places-of-interest/

Last Modified : 4/9/2024

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