Know about the top 10 beautiful tourist places to visit in Gaya, Bihar. From the famous Buddhist sites of Bodhgaya to some of the most ancient Hindu temples in India, Gaya is known for its religious heritage. Let’s now discover some of the temples in Gaya and the best places to visit in Gaya District.
The land of Gautam Buddha and Lord Vishnu, Gaya is home to some of the most astonishing sites associated with the cultural and religious history of India. Situated on the banks of the sacred Phalgu River, it is one of the oldest cities in the country. Gaya is surrounded on three sides by rocky hills — Mangla-Gauri, Shringa-Sthan, Ram-Shila, and Brahmayoni, each having huge historical significance. For thousands of years, people have been visiting these beautiful places to visit in Gaya.
Named after the demon (asura) king Gayasur (a devotee of Lord Vishnu), Gaya is the place where Ram, Sita, and Lakshman came to offer pind-daan for their father, Dasharath. This ritual continues even today, with lakhs of people visiting the city every year for pind-daan. Bodh Gaya, where Gautam Buddha attained enlightenment, is also located in Gaya. The Mahabodhi Temple Complex is a UNESCO world heritage site and the holiest place for followers of Buddhism.
List of The Most Beautiful Temples in Gaya and Top Tourist Places to Visit in Gaya District
1. Vishnupad Temple
Vishnupad Temple is one of the most significant and popular Hindu temples in Bihar and India. People from all over the country come to worship in this temple, especially during the pind-daan ritual. Dedicated to Lord Vishnu, Vishnupad Mandir is a center of attraction and one of the most important places to visit in Gaya. Its history is believed to be dating back to Treta Yug, since Lord Ram, Mata Sita, and Lakshaman had visited this temple. In 1878, however, the present-day structure was rebuilt by Devi Ahilya Bai Holkar — the Maratha ruler of Indore. On the bank of the Falgu River, this mandir acts as the capital of the city’s spiritual heritage.
2. Mahabodhi Temple
A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Mahabodhi Temple is the most sacred site of worship in the Buddhism faith. People from all over the world come to pray at the temple and witness the spiritual beauty of Bodh Gaya. The temple is located approximately 10 kilometers from Gaya Airport — one of the only two International airports in Bihar. Being the most popular tourist place to visit in Gaya District, Mahabodhi Temple is a center of attraction for people from all walks of life. The Bodhi Tree (or tree of awakening), on the backside of the temple, offers a serene environment for Buddhist monks and Yogis seeking peace. Visiting the Mahabodhi Mahavihar is a pleasant experience where one can witness complete mindfulness.
3. Mangla Gauri Mandir
Gaya’s religious history is quite affluent, being the seat of Mangla Gauri Temple — one of the 18 Maha Shakti Peethas. The mandir attracts hundreds of worshippers every day and lakhs of devotees during Navratri. The mention of the temple can be found in various prominent Hindu texts such as Vayu Puran, Padma Puran, Markandeya Puran, etc. For its historical significance, Mangla Gauri Temple becomes one of the popular places to visit in Gaya. The temple in Gaya is dedicated to Goddess Durga’s Mahishasura Mardini avatar, who is worshipped in the form of her breasts — a symbol of nourishment. Mangla Gauri Mandir campus also houses temples of Lord Ganesha, Maa Kali, Lord Hanuman, and Lord Shiva.
4. The Great Buddha Statue
The Great Buddha Statue is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Bodhgaya and Gaya. The 64-ft statue of meditating Gautam Buddha attracts thousands of visitors from across the world. One of the most popular places to visit in Gaya, the statue is also a favorite photography and selfie spot in the town. Consecrated on 18 November 1989 by the 14th Dalai Lama., the Great Buddha Statue was designed by a famous sculptor from Tamil Nadu, Vaidyanatha Ganapati Sthapati. The main statue is surrounded by smaller sculptures of the ten principal disciples of Bhagwan Gautam Buddha. The greenery around the place makes your visit quite incredible.
5. Sujata Stupa
Sujata Stupa holds immense significance in the spiritual history of India. It is dedicated to the milkmaid, named Sujata, who fed Gautama Buddha milk and rice at the place. It is said that this incident marked the end of his seven years of fasting and asceticism. There is also a pillar of Ashoka in front of the stupa, brought here in 1956. Although a relatively unknown spot for many people, Sujata Stupa is one of the favorite Buddhist places to visit in the Gaya District.
6. Bodh Gaya’s Monasteries and Temples
Bodh Gaya, being the center of Buddha’s principles, is home to several monasteries and temples built by people of various countries such as Sri Lanka, Bhutan, Mongolia, Taiwan, Cambodia, Tibet, Nepal, etc., reflecting the architectural style of respective nations. For example, Japan’s Nippon temple is a pagoda-shaped building and the Thai temple is slope-shaped. Built over the course of several centuries, these architectural masterpieces are among the most beautiful tourist places to visit in Gaya. Worshippers and tourists from various countries come and adore the astonishing beauty of India and its diversity. These Buddhist monasteries and temples in Gaya District are beautiful examples of how rich Bihar’s history has been.
7. Dukh Harni Mandir
Dukh Harni Mandir, situated on the Gaya-Patna NH-83, is a center of Hindu devotion in the city. The location also acts as a symbol of unity between the city’s Hindu and Muslim population, with the Dukh Harni Dwar (gate) and the Jama Masjid of Gaya attached to the same wall. Dedicated to Goddess Durga, Dukh Harni Mandir is one of the most popular temples in Gaya town. Every day, hundreds of devotees visit the temple and seek the goddess’s blessings. During Durga Puja, the beauty of this temple is a sight to watch.
8. Dungeshwari Cave Temple
Bihar’s history and tourism heritage are certainly among the most fascinating in India. The story of Dungeshwari Cave is a testament to that. According to historical beliefs, the cave protected Gautam Buddha for about six years, before he traveled to Bodh Gaya for attaining enlightenment. For those who want to explore Buddha’s spiritual journey, the Dungeshwari Cave Temple and many other mandirs in the vicinity are important places to visit in Gaya. Along with getting acquainted with many legends associated with Lord Buddha, visiting Dungeshwari Cave will give you a feeling of immense serenity. There is also a small monsoon waterfall near the cave, called Shimpl Waterfall.
9. Pretshila Temple
An incredibly beautiful and historic temple, the Pretshila Mandir is located in the Pretshila Hills (meaning Ghost Hills) near Neazipur village. The temple is famous for pind-daan and Pitru-paksha Mela during the Hindu month of Ashwin. A revered temple in Gaya, Pret Shila holds tremendous significance in the religious history of Bihar. A temple dedicated to Lord Yama (the God of Death) lies on the hilltop. It was originally constructed by the Maratha queen Rani Ahilyabai Holkar of Indore. On the foothills, lies Ramkund (a sacred pond), where people believe, Lord Ram once took a bath.
10. Brahmayoni Hill Temple
Brahmayoni Hill Temple is one of the must-visit Hindu temples in Gaya, thanks to its location in the lap of mother nature and the beautiful story associated with it. The hill-top temple has a natural rock opening or fissure that represents the feminine energy of Lord Brahma. Brahmayoni is made of two words, Brahma (the creator god) and Yoni (the female reproductive part). One of the popular places to visit in Gaya, this mandir also showcases the magnificent representation of sexuality in the Hindu religion, demonstrating why Hinduism is unique and the best religion in the world. Devotees visit the mandir mainly to seek freedom from parental curses and liberation from forefathers’ sins.
This is our list of the most popular places to visit in Gaya, including the most famous temples in Gaya Dham which is known for its affluent history. Since there are so many temples in Gaya, it is known as the temple capital of India. Although we have listed 10 names, there are many other sites where you can go for religious tourism and holiday. If you think we have missed some names of places to visit in the Gaya District, please let us know in the comment section below.