VISHNUPADA – TEMPLE AND OTHER IMPORTANT AT GAYA TEMPLES GAYA
VISHNUPADA – TEMPLE AND OTHER IMPORTANT AT GAYA TEMPLES GAYA:
The Eternal City Gaya, located in south Bihar, stands on the banks of river Falgu and is girdled by seven hills. The city is well connected with all important centres of India by railways and bus routes. The holy land of Gaya has been the earliest centre of various religious doctrines and civilisations of the pre-Aryan tribes of Vraryas Kikatas and Asuras, as well as, of the Aryans, Buddhists, Jainas and neo Brahmanical Hindus. The Vedic name of the Gaya-region was Kikata afterwards, Magadha. The city of Gaya or Gayapuri has derived its name from the Rajarshi Gaya (Mahabharata, Vana-Parva,) and the Siddha demon, Gaya-Asura, lent his name to Gaya-Kshetra (Vayu Purana,)., “There is hardly any city in the world that can claim greater antiquity, greater sanctity and greater veneration than Gaya.” (History of Dharmasastra,).
The Temple City “Our temples and centres of religious pilgrimage are our heritage and give the configuration of India’s personality. Under the patronage of benevolent kings and generous persons, hundreds of temples have been built and re-built in the ancient and renowned Gaya-Tirtha, since the time of the great Vaishnava Gupta Emperors of Magadha (4th/5th century A.D.). The ruins of Hindu Gaya bear sufficient evidence of the ruthless destruction of numerous shrines at the hands of the iconoclast Moslem rulers. But with the rise of the Maratha power, early in the 18th century. Gaya again resumed its religious activities and glory, as it is seen today.
The Vedic Vishnu is a prominent god of the Hindu Trinity. He is responsible for preservation and prosperity. Yaska giving an explanation of a Rig Vedic verse states that Trivikrama-Vishnu set his foot on Vishnupada and Gayasuras. Both of them form holy spots of Gaya, where Pindas are offered to the manes by the pilgrims. The existence of the Vishnupada temple at Gaya in the time of the great Vaishnava Gupta Emperors of Magadha is evident from the discovery at Vaishali of a terracotta seal containing Vishnu’s emblems “sankha, chakra and gadha” with the legend ‘Vishnupada Swami Narayana’ and this seal must have come from the famous Vishnupada-temple of Gaya.