India is a large country with religious and historical values. Gaya is a city located in Bihar, known as the second largest city in the state which is 116km south of Patna. The city is surrounded by three small, rocky hills with the Phalgu river on its eastern side.
It is one of the most famous religious sites in India, attracting Hindus, Jains, and Buddhists. Gaya has its significance in the great epics, the Ramayana and the Mahabharata. In Ramayana, this is the place where Ram, with Sita and Lakshmana.’
Offered pind-daan for their father, Dasharath. After this, it became a Hindu pilgrimage site for the pind-daan ritual. Bodhgaya is a religious site in Bihar where Gautama Buddha attained Enlightenment under the Bodhi Tree on the day of Buddha Purnima.
History says that Gaya is named after the demon Gayasura who visited the place during the Treta Yuga. According to Vayu Purana, the body of the demon- Gayasura became pious after securing blessings from Lord Vishnu by performing strict penance.
It was said that the hills surrounding the city are the body of Gayasura after his body transformed into rocky hills making up the landscape of Gaya. Tourists come from across the world to visit this place.
Prominent places like Bodhi Tree, Thai Monastery, Great Buddha, and others. Read below to know more places to visit in Gaya.
Table of Contents
Best Places To Visit In Gaya
- Mahabodhi Temple
- Sujata Stupa
- The Great Buddha Statue
- Dungeshwari Cave Temple
- Vishnupad Temple
- Bodh Gaya’s Monasteries and Temples
- Pretshila Temple
- Surya Kund
- Brahmayoni Hill Temple
- Mangla Gauri Mandir
1. Mahabodhi Temple
The most famous place to visit in Gaya is Mahabodhi Temple, a UNESCO Heritage site. The place is an ancient but rebuilt site in Bodh Gaya, where the Buddha is said to have attained Enlightenment.
Bodh Gaya is at a distance of 15 km from Gaya. The site is mainly famous because of a descendant of the Bodhi Tree and has been a major pilgrimage place for Buddhists for more than two thousand years.
The archaeological evidence says that the site has been used since the period of Ashoka. There is the sacred Bodhi Tree, left to the Mahabodhi Temple where Gautama Buddha used to meditate.
2. Sujata Stupa
The archaeological evidence shows that the Sujata Stupa was built in the 2nd century BCE. It is located across the Phalgu river in Bakraur village. The stupa was named after the milkmaid Sujata, who, according to popular belief.
Ended seven years of fasting and asceticism Gautama Buddha by feeding him milk and rice.
3. Great Buddha Statue
The great Buddha Statue is the most visited place in the Gaya. The statue of Lord Buddha is the tallest in India and was established by the XIV Dalai Lama in 1989. The statue is a replica of a meditating Buddha resting on a giant lotus.
It is constructed from intricately carved sandstone and red granite. The structure is one of the most beautiful statues.
4. Dungeshwari Cave Temple
Dungeshwari Caves aka Mahakala caves is a place believed to generate sheer energy because of its special association with Lord Buddha, which attracts people to find peace. It is just at the beginning of Bodh Gaya.
It is known that this is the same cave where Lord Buddha resided for six years. He stayed there before moving to Bodh Gaya to attain Enlightenment. There are many temples in these caves which are visited by pilgrims.
5. Vishnupad Temple
The Vishnupad Temple is dedicated to Lord Vishnu. The sacred place was built in 1787 by Queen Ahilyabai.
The temple is beautiful and situated on the banks of the Phalgu river.
6. Bodhgaya Monasteries And Temples
There are many Buddhist monasteries and temples, but some of them are the Thai Monastery and Royal Bhutan Monastery. Royal Bhutan Monastery is located in Bodhgaya, around 16 km away from Gaya.
The King of Bhutan got this monastery established in honor of Lord Buddha. The monastery attracts tourists, specifically Buddhist tourists across the world because of the carvings of important events from the life of Gautam Buddha in the form of clay carvings.
Next is the Thai Monastery, which was built in 1956 by the then Thailand Monarch. The monastery has a sloping roof curved at the corners adorned with golden tiles.
7. Pretshila Temple
Pretshila Temple is 8 km away from Gaya in the northwest direction. It is a major place for Hindus to perform Pind daan and as per the beliefs, the soul attains salvation after worshipping at this place.
The Pretshila temple dedicated to Lord Yama is the most attractive place here. It was built by Ahilya Bai, the queen of Indore, in 1787 at the top of the hills. Nearby, there is a pond known as Ramakund Pond, where Lord Rama once bathed, according to Hindu mythology.
8. Surya Kund
Surya Kund is a pond in which one holy dip sets a person free from all the sins committed, as per popular belief.
It is one of the most attractive and prominent tourist sites in Gaya and is located on the west side of the Vishnupad temple.
9. Brahmayoni Hill Temple
The temple is located south of Gaya at Brahmayoni Hill, the highest hill in the city, which is believed to represent the feminine energy of God Brahma. A five-headed image is worshipped as his female energy.
Devotees have to climb 424 stone steps to reach the top of the hill for the temple.
10. Mangla Gauri Mandir
Mangala Gauri is worshiped as the Goddess of this temple and is among the eighteen maha shaktipeeth, and it is believed that a part of the body (breast) of Sati fell according to mythology. This shrine is dedicated to Sati and Mangala Gauri is being worshiped here.
The temple was built in the 15th century facing east on top of the Mangalagauri hill. There are a flight of steps and a motorable road as a way to the temple.
How To Reach Gaya?
Gaya International Airport has direct flights from cities like Kolkata and Varanasi. And it is also well-linked to countries like Thailand, Japan, Bhutan, Myanmar, and Sri Lanka. The nearest airport to Gaya is Patna, around 120 km away from Gaya.
If you want to travel by train then there is a direct rail route from Patna, Delhi, Kolkata, and other major cities. There is also a special train Mahaparinirvan Express operated by Indian Railway, which gives tours across major Buddhist sites.
By car, it is around a 5.5-hour drive from Varanasi and a 3-hour drive from Patna. And there are direct buses available from Patna, Rajgir, and Varanasi. If you want to visit Bodh Gaya then November to February is the best time as the weather is moderate during this time.
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