Gaya is one of the famous holy cities of Hindus as well as
Buddhists in India.There are a number of Ghats on the banks of
Falgu river which are believed to be holy. It is believed by the
Hindus that their visit to Gaya will result in salvation of the
souls of their ancestors. There is a holy ritual, which is
performed in Gaya by Hindus, which is known as 'Pinda Dan'. This is
also one of the main reasons of Hindu visitors for planning a trip
to Gaya. Gaya city is equally important for Buddhists as well.
Gautam Buddha got enlightenment at Bodh Gaya, which is located at a
distance of 15 km from Gaya city. After this incident, places near
to Gaya have remained the citadel and hub of knowledge like Nalanda,
Vaishali, Rajgir and Patliputra. In the ancient period Gaya had
remained a part of the Magadh region.
Places of Attraction in and around ::
Vishnupad Temple is located on the banks of Falgu river. It is believed that the temple has been built on the footprints of Lord Vishnu and that is why it has been named Vishnupad. A 40 cm long foot print of Lord Vishnu can be seen inside the temple imprinted on rock surrounded by silver plated basin. The temple was constructed by Queen Ahilya Bai in 1787 and is a must visit for those travelling Gaya.
Surya Kund is a major tourist attraction. It is located on the west side of the famous Vishnupad temple. Devotees believe that a holy dip in the pond gets rid them of their sins. The place is thronged by tourists during festival seasons. The festival is organized twice in a year, first in the months of March-April and second in the months of September-October. Surya Kund becomes most visited place on Chhath when Sun God is worshiped and people from near by places come to take a dip in the Surya Kund.
Bodhivriksha is the Banyan tree under which Gautam Buddha did meditation in the search of eternal truth. It is situated inside the Mahabodhi temple at Bodh Gaya, which is at a distance of 12 km from the Gaya city. It is one of the major attraction points for the visitors on Gaya tour.
Emperor Ashoka is believed to be the founder of Mahabodhi temple. It is a Buddhist temple and literally means 'Great Awakening Temple'. Holy Bodhi tree, under which Gautam Buddha got enlightenment, is also located next to the temple. It was constructed about 250 years after Lord Buddha attained enlightenment and attracts a large number of devotees on tour to Gaya.
Situated 25 kilometers away from Gaya, Barabar caves are great heritage of Bihar. Numbering four in total these caves go back to the second century BC and were carved during Ashoka period. Historical evidence shows that great Buddhist king Ashok built these caves for Ajivikas. Lomas Rishi cave is the most magnificent which is carved as a thatched hut and has a big chamber inside it. The chamber hall and other walls of the cave have been brightly polished. Ashoka’s grandson built other two caves Sudama and Chaupar which are equally magnificent.
Pretshila is situated 100 kilometers away from the capital city of Patna and has great religious importance. Brahma Kund is situated just bellow Pretshila hill where devotees take holy dip in the water and then move forward to perform the ritual of Pind Dan. The ritual of Pind Dan according to Brahminical writings gives peace the departed soul of the ancestors.