Gaya is an important religious place and considered the most sacred place for the Hindus, particularly for the ritual of Pind Dan. According to Hindu religious scriptures, every Hindu is expected to perform Pind Dan once in his lifetime to pacify his ancestors above in heaven. The ritual has been in practice since the days of the Ramayana and even Lord Ram came to Gaya accompanied with wife Sita to perform Pind Dan for his ancestors.
Vishnupad Temple is sacred among Hindus and is dedicated to Lord Vishnu. The city has developed around the temple. According to believers and religious texts, the footprints inside the temple are those of Lord Vishnu. The temple is built in Shikhara style and was reconstructed in the year 1787, by Ahilya Bai Holkar of Indore.
The temple complex is quite big and houses many images of different Gods and Goddesses. There are many other shrines in and around the temple. Another important temple is of Lord Nrisimha, the god which according to Hindu mythology was a man-lion incarnation of Lord Vishnu. The temple and statue is intricately carved and designed and is a major tourist attraction at Gaya.
Akshayabat is located in the compound of Vishnupad temple. Akshyavat is a banyan tree, which is believed to be blessed by Sita (wife of Lord Ram) to become immortal and remain green throughout the year.
Situated 25 kilometers away from Gaya, Barabar caves are great heritage of Bihar. Numbering four in total these caves go back to the second century BC and were carved during Ashoka period. Historical evidence shows that great Buddhist king Ashok built these caves for Ajivikas. Lomas Rishi cave is the most magnificent which is carved as a thatched hut and has a big chamber inside it. The chamber hall and other walls of the cave have been brightly polished. Ashoka’s grandson built other two caves Sudama and Chaupar which are equally magnificent.
Mahabodhi Temple standing just behind the Mahabodhi Tree where Sidhartha Gautam had attained enlightenment is situated at Bodh Gaya. The architectural superiority of the temple is marvelous and has been appreciated a lot by tourists. Mahabodhi Temple stands 170 feet tall and Chatras on the top are symbol of sovereignty of religion.
Surya Kund is a major tourist attraction. It is located on the west side of the famous Vishnupad temple. Devotees believe that a holy dip in the pond gets rid them of their sins. The place is thronged by tourists during festival seasons. The festival is organized twice in a year, first in the months of March-April and second in the months of September-October. Surya Kund becomes most visited place on Chhath when Sun God is worshiped and people from near by places come to take a dip in the Surya Kund.
Pretshila is situated 100 kilometers away from the capital city of Patna and has great religious importance. Brahma Kund is situated just bellow Pretshila hill where devotees take holy dip in the water and then move forward to perform the ritual of Pind Dan. The ritual of Pind Dan according to Brahminical writings gives peace the departed soul of the ancestors.