Gaya, 206 kms from Patna, is an ancient place of pilgrimage for the Hindus as well as the Buddhists. The sacred footprint of Vishnu is believed to have been preserved in Vishnupad Temple. It is deemed a great opportunity by the Hindus to be able to perform the Shraddha ceremony (offering of oblation) of their forefathers there. The sacred river Phalgu, generally invisible, flows by the spot.

The town derives its name from Gayasur, a demon who was an ardent devotee of Vishnu. The gods envious of his purity and devotion, tried to bury him by sitting over him. When the demon realized their motive, he said that the gods had no need of playing any trick with him, for he would have done or given whatever they would have asked of him. The gods were both embarrassed and impressed. They offered him a boon. "Remain ever clung to my body," was the demon-devotee's wish.

So Gayasur remains buried under the earth of Gaya and the gods are obliged to remain clung to him, invisibly though. No wonder that the place is highly sacred. Gaya is on the Grand Chord line of the Eastern Railway and is connected with Patna and Mughalsarai junctions by branch lines. Places Worth visiting are the 18th century Vishnupad Temple built by Maratha Queen of Indore Ahilya Bai Holkar and the Gaya Museum. Barabar caves, cut out of hillside, are about 51 km from Gaya.

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