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The city is bounded by three pebbly hills called Brahmajoni, Ramshila and Pretshila. Gaya is one of the most popular Hindu pilgrimage spots.
After the death of an individual, his/her children go to Gaya and ask the God to absolve the sins of their ancestors by sacrificing the “Pinda” of their ancestors. According to Hindu customs, it is believed that the departed souls get peace in this process. This process is being done in various spots of Gaya. Priests are available for the completion of the particular process. “Bharat Sebashram Sangha” takes the initiative to complete the process on behalf of the interested people. Gaya organizes a fair on a particular propitious occasion (1-15th ashwin- a month of Bengali calendar year) and the fair pulls a lot of visitors to the fair from many places.
Gaya derives its name from the mythological demon Gayasur (which literally means Gaya the demon).
Tourist attractions in Gaya, places to visit:
VishnuPad temple (30 meters) has an octagonal peak. The architecture on the eight pillars of the temple is really astonishing and attractive. It is believed that the 40 cm long footstep on the rock in the temple is of Vishnu, the Hindu Deity. This footstep is considered as a holy and sacred mark. The temple was built by Radhakanta Dev, the king of Shobhabazar, Kolkata and again it was restructured in 1787 by Ahalya Bai, the queen of Indore, India. You can hire a car to go to the temple, situated at a distance of 2.4 km from the railway station.
Pataleshwar Shiva temple can be reached climbing 1000 staircases of Brahmayoni mountain. The temple is located at a distance of 1 km towards the south-west side of VishnuPad temple. Come down from the temple to the Akshay Bot, the banyan tree. You can also sacrifice the “Pinda” of your ancestors beneath the tree. Once upon a time there was a river called Falgu here.
Ramshila and Pretshila hills are situated at the northern side of Gaya. People come here and sacrifice the “Pinda” of their ancestors who die in accidents.
Surya temple is another pilgrimage spot for Hindus, situated at the northern side of VishnuPad temple, lies at the banks of Son River. The deity is worshipped here in the month of November. Flowers, fruits and grains are dedicatedly offered to the God on that auspicious occasion. The local name of the occasion is Chott. Another nearby Surya temple in Madanpore on the G T road should also be seen.
It is believed that Kurkihar village was the Cock’s Foot Mountain, as mentioned by Huien Sang, and is situated at a distance of 5 km towards the north-east side of the city. A lot of items were found in Kurkihar village after excavation and the place has gained archeological importance.
Gandhi Mandap (the memorial of Mahatma Gandhi) and Gaya museum are the other sought after destinations of Gaya.
The caves are carved out from the Granite rocks, at the time of king Ashoka. Some were built in later periods. They are situated about 20kms from Gaya.
3 different types of caves are there in Barabar.
i. Nagarjuna cave (means big cave) - The architectural gracefulness of the cave is worthy of mention. Lomosh Hrishi and Sudama are the renowned caves of Nagarjuna. Polished and circular Hall room, Jafari curtain and mini cave are really spectacular.
ii. Panchapandav cave – The size of the cave here is small. According to the Hindu mythology, Pandav family lived solitarily in the Panchapandav cave.
iii. Kutirakar hut cave- The cave is surrounded by the rocky walls in its three sides and one side of the cave is kept open.
Siddhanath Shiva is another attraction of Barabar, situated atop the Sidheshwari hill.
The Barabar is now a place where anti social activities have been stemmed, making them suitable for tourists. On every Monday there is a fair in Barabar. The fair attracts loads of tourists every week. If you are really interested to visit Barabar caves then it is always safe to ask police of Bela police station to accompany you. No hotels have come up yet in Barabar. So, plan your trip accordingly.
How to reach: Gaya well connected by railways, from Delhi and Kolkata. Bus services are very good from Gaya to the other cities of Bihar.
Where to stay: Ajatshatru hotel, Station View hotel, Hotel Saluja, Hotel Chanakya and Bharat Sevasram Sangha. Refer to our Hotel booking link below for online hotel bookings at Gaya