Gaya is a city of ancient historical and mythological significance, and is one of the major tourist attractions of the state of Bihar. Gaya is 100 kilometres (62 mi) south of Patna, the capital city of Bihar. It is the state's second largest city, with a population of 470,839, and is the headquarters of Gaya district and Magadh division. The city is surrounded on three sides by small, rocky hills (Mangla-Gauri, Shringa-Sthan, Ram-Shila, and Brahmayoni), with the Phalgu River on its fourth (eastern) side.
Gaya is sanctified in the Jain, Hindu, and Buddhist religions. Gaya district is mentioned in the great epics, the Ramayana and the Mahabharata. It is the place where Rama, with Sita and Lakshmana, came to offer pind-daan for their father, Dasharath, and remains a major Hindu pilgrimage site for the pind-daan ritual. Bodh Gaya, where the Buddha is said to have reached enlightenment, is one of the four holy sites of Buddhism. The Mahabodhi Temple complex at Bodh Gaya is a World ...