In the Vishnupad Temple, the saffron footprints are adorned with blood sandalwood. Mace, chakra, and conch are inscribed on it. The Vishnupad Temple is said to have been built in 1787 by Devi Ahilya Bai Holkar, the queen of Indore. It is believed that Lord Vishnu killed the demon Gayasur by putting his feet on his chest at this place. When Lord Vishnu pushed Gayasur inside the earth with his feet, his footprints were made on this rock.
The stone on which the footprints of Lord Vishnu are inscribed in the sanctum sanctorum of Vishnupad temple is called Dharmashila. As stated in Gaya Mahatmya, this stone was brought from heaven. According to the Puranas, Lord Vishnu performed a yajna here on the body of a demon named Gayasura. Since then, its worship started. Legend has it that when the gods were worried about the boon he got after Gayasur’s penance, he tricked his body into performing a holy sacrifice. Gayasur readily accepted it. Due to his fickle nature, he was not staying steady during the Yagya.
After this Lord Vishnu was called and a huge rock was brought. Vishnu placed his foot on Gayasur’s chest by placing that rock on Gayasur’s chest. Since then, the footprints are on the stone. Gayasur asked the Lord for a boon that the ground on which he is lying (the body) should be considered the most sacred. By giving pinda on it, the ancestors get salvation. Gave such a boon from God. Since then, Pinda Daan became famous in Gaya.
Apart from the sixteen altars here, there is a law to donate Pinda from Kheer on Rudrapad, Brahmapad, and Vishnupad. Devotees also recite Mahamatunjaya by offering Tulsi leaves on Vishnucharan. Here Vishnucharan adorned and worshiped in a grand manner every night.
The Vishnupad Temple built with a gold-strengthening stone criterion. A 50 kg gold urn and a 50 kg gold flag placed on the top of the temple. The sanctum has 50 kg silver chhatra and 50 kg silver ashtapahal. The entrance of the sanctum sanctorum of the temple made of silver. The height of this temple is about a hundred feet. There are 44 pillars in the Sabha Mandap. Out of 54 altars, 19 altars are in Vishnupud itself, where Pinda Daan done for the liberation of the ancestors.
Puja and Rituals
On the occasion of Pitru Paksha, devotees from all over the country come here for tarpan. During this time there are a lot of crowds here. It is said that seeing the feet of Lord Vishnu after performing the tarpan here destroys all sorrows and the ancestors attain salvation. There are many more small temples in the temple complex. There are also many Jain temples here. Foreign tourists also come here in large numbers.
Situated on the banks of the holy river Falgu, this city said to be where Lord Rama performed Pinda Daan for the peace of the souls of his ancestors. That is why devotees of Hinduism come here for Pinda Daan. According to a popular legend about the Falgu River, Lord Rama, Mata Janaki, and Lakshmana rested here in the course of their exile. During that time, as it was the time of Pinda Daan, Lord Ram went to arrange the necessary items.
Mata Sita was sitting waiting for him when his ancestors including Maharaj Dasaratha appeared and asked to do PindaDaan. At that time Mata Sita had nothing for PindaDaan, so she picked up sand from the river bank and donated it to PindaDaan. A cow present there, the fire of the yajna, a tree, the river Falgu, and a Brahmin became the witness of this action. But when Lord Rama came, in the greed of the object of Pinda Daan, all except the tree turned away from the matter of giving Pinda Daan.
Mother Sita got angry about this and cursed everyone except the tree. After the curse of Mata Sita, the stream of river Falgu flows inside. The water of Falgu seen flowing only in the rainy season. Mother Sita had offered a panda from the sand of the Falgu river to Maharaj Dasaratha here, since then there is a sign of giving sand made here. When the people who come here for Pinda Daan remove the sand of the river with their hands, water comes out. Pinda Daan held here throughout the year.
Sita Kund situated where Sita Mata did Pinda Daan. It said that Sita Mata took a bath here. There is also a small temple here. Devotees who come here take bath in this pool. The tree which Sita Mata did not curse is still present here in the form of Akshay Vat. It said that Mata Sita gave the boon of immortality to this Akshay Vat and said that not a single leaf will be shed in any season. Local people say about this Akshay-Vat is located near Vishnupad temple and that it is the oldest living tree on earth. It believed that worshiping here fulfills all the wishes.
There are many places of interest around Gaya
Lord Rama had donated the body of his ancestors here, hence the name Ramshila. The temple located here known by the name ‘Pataleshwar’ or ‘Rameshwar’. There are statues of Lord Rama, Mata Sita, and Lakshman ji in this temple. A Shiva temple built here has a one-foot-high Shivling made of crystal and an idol of Ganesha made of coral stone.
Pretshila hill is about 10 km away from Ramshila hill. Devotees make Pinda-Daan after taking a bath in the Brahma Kund located here. Here is the temple of Yama, the god of death. There is Ram Kund near the temple. It is said that Lord Rama took a bath here.
Mangala Gauri Temple
This temple is dedicated to Goddess Sati that is, Shakti. This temple is one of the 18 Mahashaktipeeths of the country.
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