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Gaya the place of Buddha's attainment of Enlightenment

  • Gaya the place of Buddha's attainment of Enlightenment

Highlights

  • The main tourist attraction of Gaya is the Vishnupad tempel...
  • There are a number of small shrines near Gaya and pilgrims usually visit them to complete the ritual circuit.

 

Bodhgaya or Bodh Gaya is a city in Gaya district in the Indian state of Bihar. It is famous for being the place of Buddha's attainment of Enlightenment. Gaya is one of the important holy places for Hindus and thousands of devotees throng this small town every year for pilgrimage. The main pilgrim center in Gaya is the Vishnu temple. Legend has it that this temple was built on Lord Vishn's footsteps and is thus considered very sacred by the devotees. It is also believed by Hindus that if the final rights are performed in Gaya, the departed soul goes to heaven.  Historically, it was known as the Bodhimanda (ground round the Bodhi-tree), and there was a large monastic settlement there. The main monastery of Bodhgaya used to be called the Bodhimanda-vihara (Pali). Now it is called the Mahabodhi Temple. For Buddhists, Bodh Gaya is the most important of the main four pilgrimage sites related to the life of Gautama Buddha, the other three being Kushinagar, Lumbini, and Sarnath. In 2002, Mahabodhi Temple, located in Bodh Gaya, became a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The best time to visit the Gaya is during winter. 

Places of Interest in Gaya
Gaya is a religious center and it is believed that the principal Hindu God, Vishnu has bestowed upon Gaya the power to absolve the sin of the sinners, who come here for pilgrimage. Pilgrims also come to offer funerary offerings (or pinds) at the ghats along the river and pray for the souls of their ancestors. The main tourist attraction of Gaya is the Vishnupad temple. This temple was built in the Hindu Shikhar style of architecture and is located on the west bank of Falgu River at the southeastern edge of the town.

There is a small archeological museum in Gaya.
The Brahmajuni hill 1 km southwest of the Vishnupad temple is an important spot. One thousand stone steps lead the travelers to the top of this hill, from where one can have a full view of Gaya. 
 
Sites Nearby
There are a number of small shrines near Gaya and pilgrims usually visit them to complete the ritual circuit. Thirty-six km north of Gaya are the ancient caves of Barabar, which belong to the 3rd century bc. These caves are famous for their inscriptions dating back to the time of King Ashok, the great Mauryan ruler. The town of Bodhgaya is 13 km south of Gaya. As Gaya is an important place for Hindu pilgrims, Bodhgaya is one the four holiest places of Buddhism, as Lord Gautam Buddha is said to have attained enlightenment here. The historic town of Rajgir is 50 km east of Gaya. 

How To Reach
Gaya does not have an airport of its own. There is a small railway station, which is located on the northern part of the town. As Gaya is on the main Delhi?Calcutta railway line, there are a number of trains to Delhi, Calcutta, Varanasi, Puri and Patna. 

There are two bus stands in Gaya, on either side of the Falgu River. The Gandhi Maidan bus station is on the west side of the Falgu River and there are a number of buses to Patna (4 hours) and Ranchi (7 hours), from here. One can catch buses for Rajgir (3 hours) from the Gaurakshini bus station to the east of the Falgu River. There is good bus service for the holy towns of Bodhgaya and Varanasi. Auto-rickshaws ply between Gaya and Bodhgaya, but they are overcrowded, most of the time. 

 

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