There are many temples to visit in the Gaya region of India, but these six temples are considered to be the most mystical and beautiful. These ancient sites were constructed over 2000 years ago and date back to the era of the Magadha Empire. They were constructed in honor of Hindu gods from which they take their name. Tourists today can explore these temples while learning about both Indian culture and history.
Vishnupad Temple: Vishnupad Temple is one of the most important holy temples in Gaya, devoted to the worship of Lord Vishnu. It is located on the banks of the river Gaya. However, the Rani Ahilya Bai restored and renovated the temple in 1787, and the temple’s structure is heavily inspired by the Shikara style of building and decoration.
Let’s hear the story of this temple. The holy place Gaya is named after a demon named Gayasur. One who prayed and asked for a boon that whoever sees him will get salvation. Due to this, even after doing wrong deeds, people started getting salvation after seeing him. Unable to face it and to save humanity, Lord Vishnu appeared before him. Asking him to go to Patal, Lord Vishnu placed his right foot on Gayasur’s head and sent him to Hades, printing his footprints on the rock, which is still visible today. This is a wonderful sight that even today people come from far and wide to see. Gayasur asked Lord Vishnu for food, Vishnu then said that he will not die of hunger and whoever gives him food, his saliva will come out. This is the reason why people go there to do “pind-daan” for their loved ones.
Mangal Gauri Temple: Because it is referenced in several of Hinduism’s most holy religious texts, including the Vayu Purana, Padma Purana, and Agni Purana, as well as many other tantric scriptures, the Mangla Gauri Temple is considered to be of great significance to the Hindus. The Mangla Gauri Temple, one of the country’s 18 Maha Shakti-peeths, has stood majestically since the 15th century and is one of the country’s most important religious sites.
Chinese Temple: The Chinese Temple in Gaya, which is located next to the Mahabodhi Temple, is a magnificent Buddhist temple that was constructed by Chinese-Buddhist monks in the late 1800s. As a result, the building is a fusion of exquisite Indian and Chinese patterns, particularly on the temple façade, which is reminiscent of a Chinese monastery. The Chinese Temple and Monastery, next to the Mahabodhi Temple, is a magnificent piece of architecture constructed by Chinese monks in cooperation with the Chinese government in 1945. The temple is known for its three magnificent golden statues of Lord Buddha, which are the main attractions of the complex. Every year, the Buddhist festival of Buddha Jayanti, which commemorates the birth of Lord Buddha, is held in this city, making it one of the most significant festivals in the world. Thousands of monks and devotees of Buddha from all over the world go to this location to take part in the sacred festival. During this period, people commemorate Lord Buddha’s trip and his contribution to the advancement of human civilization. As a result, while in Bodh Gaya, be sure to pay a visit to the Chinese Temple and Monastery.
Mahabodhi Temple: The Mahabodhi Temple, also known as the Great Awakening Temple, is one of the most significant religious sites in Gaya. According to tradition, this is the exact location where Lord Buddha gained enlightenment, making it one of the most important religious monuments in the city. It is located in the city of Bodhgaya in the Indian state of Bihar, and it has been designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site because of its religious and historical importance. The temple, which stands about 180 feet tall and covers a vast area of 5 hectares, is a sight to see.
The enormous Bodhi Tree, the holiest of all the holy sites, is the most significant (Ficus religiosa ). This tree, which is located to the west of the main temple, is said to be a direct descendent of the original Bodhi Tree, beneath which the Buddha spent his First Week and received his enlightenment, and it is located to the east of the main temple. The Animeshlochan Chaitya (prayer hall), which is located to the north of the central route on an elevated platform, is where the Buddha is said to have spent the Second Week of his life. This section, known as Ratnachakrama (Jewelled Ambulatory), is located near the north wall of the main temple and is where the Buddha spent the Third Week pacing 18 paces back and forth every day of the week. Ratnaghar Chaitya is the location where he spent the Fourth Week, which is situated to the northeast of the enclosure wall and close to it. There is a pillar just after the east entry stairs on the central walkway that commemorates the location of the Ajapala Nigrodh Tree, beneath which Buddha meditated during his Fifth Week while addressing the questions of Brahmins. he spent the Sixth Week close to the Lotus Pond, which is located on the southern edge of the enclosure, and the Seventh Week beneath the Rajyatana Tree, which is now marked by a little tree in the enclosure.
Dungeshwari Cave Temples: It takes 12 kilometres to reach the historic Dungeshwari Cave Temples, which are located in the northeastern part of the city of Gaya. These cave temples are also referred to as the Mahakala Cave Temples in certain circles. Many people think that Lord Gautama Buddha meditated in these caves long before he travelled to Bodh Gaya, and as a result, it is a holy place that is held in great regard. Within the caverns are complex and magnificent Buddhist temples, collectively known as the Sujata Sthan (Sujata Sthan in English). A well-known legend surrounding these renowned caves is that when Lord Buddha followed the road of self-demolition and refused to accept food or drink, he became exhausted. Later, a woman from a nearby hamlet, named Sujata, came to his aid and gave him food and water. It was then that Lord Buddha realised that enlightenment could not be achieved by self-abasement, and he continued on his trip to reach Bodh Gaya, the ultimate goal of his journey.
Yama Temple at Pretshila hill: Pretshila Hill, often known as the Hill of Ghosts, is located about eight kilometres outside of Gaya. For Hindus, it is one of the holiest places in Gaya, where people gather to give pind-daan, a ceremony done for the serenity of a dead person’s soul, which is one of the most important ceremonies in the city. According to Hindu mythology, the temple at the summit of the hill is devoted to the devotion of Lord Yama, the God of Death, and is located at the summit of the hill.
For certain, no one knows when this religious structure was built, although it was built many years ago, according to the best information available. It is claimed that Rani Ahilyabai Holkar, the Queen of Indore, was responsible for its construction.