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Gaya, India

Metropolitan City
Brahmayoni hill
Brahmayoni hill, where Buddha taught to Fire Sutta
Gaya is located in Bihar
Location of Gaya in Bihar
Country  India
State Bihar
Region Magadha
Division Magadh Division
District Gaya
 • Type Municipal corporation
 • Body Gaya Nagar Nigam
 • Mayor Soni Kumari
 • Total 90.17 km2 (34.81 sq mi)
Elevation 111 m (364 ft)
Population (2011)
 • Total 463,454
 • Rank 95th
 • Density 5,800/km2 (15,000/sq mi)
Demonym(s) Gayaite
 • Official Hindi, English and Urdu
Time zone IST (UTC+5:30)
PIN 823001 - 06
Telephone code 91-631
Vehicle registration BR 02
Railway Station Gaya Junction
Airport Gaya International Airport
Website .in.nic.bih.gayawww

Gaya () is a city of ancient historical and mythological significance. It is one of the major tourist attractions of Bihar. The city is the second largest city of Bihar[2] and is also the headquarters of Gaya district and Magadh division.
Gaya is 100 kilometers south of Patna, the capital city of Bihar. Situated on the banks of the Phalgu River (or Niranjana, as mentioned in Ramayana), it is a place sanctified by the Jain, Hindu, Islam and Buddhist religions. It is surrounded by small rocky hills (Mangla-Gauri, Shringa-Sthan, Ram-Shila and Brahmayoni) by three sides and the river flowing on the fourth (eastern) side. The city has a mix of natural surroundings, age old buildings, green areas and narrow bylanes.


  • Origin of name and importance to Hindu religion 1
  • Holy sites in Gaya 2
  • Jama Masjid 3
  • Fairs 4
  • History 5
    • Ancient history 5.1
    • Modern history 5.2
    • Establishment of the Gaya District 5.3
  • Climate 6
  • Economy 7
  • Demographics 8
  • Transportation 9
    • Local transport 9.1
    • Roadways 9.2
    • Railways 9.3
    • Airport 9.4
  • Cuisine 10
    • Sweets 10.1
    • Snacks 10.2
    • Malls And multiplex 10.3
  • Media 11
  • Sports 12
  • Education 13
  • References 14
  • External links 15

Origin of name and importance to Hindu religion

Gaya derives its name from the mythological demon Gayasur (which literally means Gaya the demon). According to Vayu Purana, Gaya was the name of a demon (Asura) whose body was pious after he performed rigid penance and secured blessings from Vishnu. It was said that the body of Gayasura was transformed into the series of rocky hills that make up the landscape of Gaya.[3]
Gayasura was so holy that he had the power to absolve the sins of those who touched him or looked at him; after his death many people have flocked to Gaya to perform Shraddha sacrifices on his body to absolve the sins of their ancestors. Gods and goddesses had promised to live on Gayasur's body after he died, and the hilltop protuberances of Gaya are surmounted by temples to various gods and goddesses. These hilltop temples at Rama Shila, Mangla Gauri, Shingrasthan and Brahmayoni are part of pilgrimage circuit, and grand staircases have been built up to most of them.

Holy sites in Gaya

Gaya is a holy place for Hinduism,Islam,Buddhism and Jainism. The banks of the sacred Phalgu River are lined with ghats and temples. Trees such as pipal trees and Akshayavat, the undying banyan, are especially sacred. The Mangla Gauri shrine is marked by two rounded stones that symbolize the breasts of the mythological Sati, the wife of Lord Shiva. The most popular temple today is Vishnupad Temple, a place on the bank of Phalgu river, marked by the foot impression of Lord Vishnu stamped into a block of basalt, that marks the act of Lord Vishnu subduing Gayasur by placing his foot on Gayasur's chest. Bhumihar Brahmin have been the traditional priests at Vishnupad Mandir in Gaya as Gayawal Pandas and in the adjoining districts like Hazaribagh.[4] The present-day temple was rebuilt by Devi Ahilya Bai Holkar, the ruler of Indore, in the 18th century. Buddhist tradition regards the footstep in the Vishnupad Temple as a footstep of Buddha (who is regarded as an Avatar of Vishnu by Hindus).

Vishnupadh Temple

Gaya is significant to Hindus from the point of view of salvation for the souls of ancestors (a ritual called pinda daan. According to Ramayana, Lord Rama came to Gaya along with Sita for pitripaksha (or to perform pindadana). While Lord Rama had gone to bathe before performing pinddana, his father King Dasharath's hands appeared to her and a voice asked her to offer the pindam herself, as the King was very hungry. Moved by this, Sita prepared pindams from sand, and offered them herself to the hands that appeared to receive them. After some time, Lord Rama came back and started performing the rites. When it was time to give the pindadanam, he was surprised and pained to see his father's not receiving it. Sita then explained what had occurred. She called the witness of river Phalgu, a Brahman standing nearby, a cow, and a banyan tree to testify the miraculous occurrence. Except for the banyan tree, rest of the witnesses denied the story - Brahman greed for more money as offerings, river Phalgu desire of receiving offerings from Lord Rama, and the cow's awe of the Lord were to blame. Thus Sita cursed the three liars. Ramayana states that on account of this curse, Phalgu River lost its water, and the river is simply a vast stretch of sand dunes. At the same time Sita blessed a banyan tree to be immortal. This tree is known as Akshyavat. Akshyavat is combination of two words Akshya (which never decay) and Vat (Banyan tree). Once a year banyan trees shed leaves, but this particular tree never sheds its leaves which keeps it green even in times of drought.

For Jainism, Gaya is an important place where it has many Jain temples and it has nearest airport to reach Jain Pilgrimage Pawapuri from where Lord Mahavira attained Nirvana (Moksha). In Gaya Jain Temple is near Clock Tower. This temple is very neat and clean on the first floor where idols of different Tirthankras are placed. The idol of Bhagwan Chandraprabhu is specifically miraculous. For pilgrims, residential facility is available in Jain Bhawan near the temple.

Parasnath hill is a pilgrim destination located in Gaya. Jain religious scriptures reveal that out of 24 Jain Tirthankars, 22 attained salvation at this place and for this simple reason the place is considered the most sacred for Jain followers. Jain devotees flock in large number every year to Parasnath hill.

For Buddhists, Gaya is an important pilgrimage place because it was at Brahmayoni hill that Buddha preached the Fire Sermon (Adittapariyaya Sutta) to a thousand former fire-worshipping ascetics, who all became enlightened while listening to this discourse. At that time, the hill was called Gayasisa.

For Islam,Gaya is the only city in Bihar from where,every year Hajis(Annual Pilgrimage of Muslims to Makkah) from whole Bihar travel to holy city of Makkah and Madina. Bihar government has also proposed to built a Haj Bhavan in Gaya city. Gaya is sacred for Muslims because, it is only the connecting city in Bihar to Makkah and Madina. Gaya has also many famous dargah, where people of all faiths visit there throughout the year. Gaya Jama Masjid is the largest mosque in Bihar and it is the centre of Tablig in Gaya.

Jama Masjid

Jama Masjid of Gaya is the largest mosque of Bihar. It was constructed around 180 years ago by Royal Family of Muzaffarpur. Thousand of peoples can offer Namaz together. It is a big of centre of Tabligh in Bihar. Now-a-days, this mosque is being shown as a historical place to tourists.


There are many fairs organised in Gaya − some on the basis of business or some on the basis of extending its culture. Here a fair of animals is organised twice in a year at the bank of river Phalgu just opposite to the Vishnu pad.

Every year Pind Daan पिंड दान is offered at the river bank Of Falgu, फल्गु नदी ,during PITRI PAKSH पित्री पक्ष (Pitri-paksh).Pitripaksha, the fortnight-long festival of souls, is a world event staged in Gaya every year. Last year it was organised from 8 September 2014 to 24 September 2014.Now from this year Pitri paksh, [ " 14 days festival of souls " ] is declared as a State Fair,राजकीय मेला ,in the year 2014, by the, Government of Bihar.


The 94 ft. tall Vishal Buddha Mandir, Bodh Gaya.

Ancient history

Documented history of Gaya dates back to the enlightenment of Gautam Buddha. About 11 km from Gaya town is Bodh Gaya, the place where Gautam Buddha attained enlightenment. Since then the places around Gaya (Rajgir, Nalanda, Vaishali, Pataliputra) had been the citadel of knowledge for the ancient world. These centers of knowledge further flourished under the rule of dynasties like the Mauryans who ruled from Pataliputra (modern Patna) and covered the area beyond the boundaries of the Indian subcontinent. During this period, Gaya was a part of the Magadh region.

Modern history

The town of Gaya, in about 1810 AD, consisted of two parts : one the residence of the priests, which properly was called Gaya ; and the other the residence of lawyers and tradesmen, which was originally called Elahabad, but later on,as developed by a renowned collector "Saheb"- Mr.Thomas Law, it was called Sahebgunj.It is the birthplace of eminent nationalist Bihar Vibhuti Dr Anugrah Narain Sinha;Bihar's first deputy Chief Minister cum Finance Minister.The last great ruler of Magadha was maharaja of Tekari. Great nationalist and leader of Kisan Andolan, Swami Sahajanand Saraswati established an ashram at Neyamatpur, Gaya (Bihar) which later became the centre of freedom struggle in Bihar. His close associate was Vir Keshwar Singh of Parihas. All the prominent leaders of Indian National Congress visited there frequently to meet Yadunandan (Jadunandan) Sharma, the leader of Kisan Andolan who resided in the ashram set up by Swamiji. Yadunandan Sharma became the undisputed leader of peasants in the Gaya district and second in command to the legendary freedom fighter and peasant leader Swami Sahajanand Saraswati.[5] Gaya has also immensely contributed in the Indian Independence Movement. During the independence movement, the All India session of the Congress was held under the presidency of Deshbandhu Chittaranjan Das in 1922, which was attended by great illumanaries and prominent leaders of the Indian Independence Movement, such as Mohandas K. Gandhi, Dr. Rajendra Prasad,Dr Anugrah Narayan Sinha, Sardar Patel, Maulana Azad, Jawaharlal Nehru and Sri Krishna Sinha.
The current Chief Minister of Bihar, Jeetan Ram Manjhi also hails from Gaya district & former Bihar Chief Minister Late Satyendra Narain also hailed from Gaya. Shri Ishwar Chaudhary was a member of Fifth, Sixth and Ninth Lok Sabha during 1971-79 and 1989-91 representing Gaya constituency of Bihar.

Establishment of the Gaya District

Gaya was established in the year 1865. Earlier Gaya was a part of the district of erstwhile Behar of Ramgarh (now in Jharkhand state) till 1864. It was given the status of independent district on 3 October 1865. Subsequently, in May 1981, Magadh division was created by the Bihar state government with the districts of Gaya, Nawada, Aurangabad and Jehanabad. All these district were at the level of sub-division, when the Gaya district was created. Gaya has seen three district partitioned off from its territory, Aurangabad and Nawada in 1976; and Jehanabad in 1988. Gaya district occupies an area of 4,976 km2 (1,921 mile2) comparatively equivalent to the island of Trinidad.


As Gaya is surrounded by hills from three sides and one side by rivers so the climate of Gaya is seasonable (means in winter it is too cold and in summer it is too hot). Climate is characterized by relatively high temperatures and evenly distributed precipitation throughout the year. The Köppen Climate Classification sub-type for this climate is "Cfa" (Humid Subtropical Climate).[6]
Climate data for Gaya, India
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 24
Average low °C (°F) 10
Average precipitation mm (inches) 20
Source: Weatherbase[7]


Gaya is the second biggest economy contributor after Patna for Bihar.It has a large number of household industries like production of agarbattis, production of tilkut and lai, stone crafting, power looms, Small Scale manufacturing industries,packing industries,plastic products industries,Scrap Industries and hand looms. Gaya functions as a service centre for the surrounding towns and villages. Commercial activities are located along the important roads of the town. The main vegetable market in the city is the Kedarnath Market. In additional the city has a large number of informal shops. On account of Gaya being an important centre for religious tourism, the city has a large number of costly and affordable Hotels and accommodations.Gaya has the highest number of hotels in Bihar & Jharkhand.One Five Star hotel is also proposed in Bodh gaya.
There is no Large Scale Industries / Public Sector undertakings in the city. The industries in the city are mainly affected by shortage of electricity power problem. Credit facility with banks. Lack of knowledge on export marketing. Lack of market network. Latest technology available to improve quality as well as product etc.[8]

Recently, Gaya has been chosen as one of the heritage cities for HRIDAY - Heritage City Development and Augmentation Yojana scheme of Government of India.Gaya city is also proposed in the list of 100 Smart City to be developed by NDA govt.and lots of new national level malls are functioning in the city like apr and amrapali and some are in upcoming stage...


As per 2011 census, Gaya Urban Agglomeration had a population of 470,839.[9] Gaya Urban Agglomeration includes Gaya (Municipal Corporation), Kaler (Out Growth) and Paharpur (Census Town).[10] Gaya Municipal Corporation had a total population of 463,454, out of which 245,764 were males and 217,690 were females. The population below 5 years was 59,015. The sex ratio was 886. The literacy rate for the 7+ population was 85.74 per cent.[11]

Religions in gaya
Religion Percent
Distribution of religions
Includes Sikhs (0.2%), Buddhists (<0.2%).


Gaya is well connected to the rest of India by roads and railways. The Grand Chord section of the Indian Railways passes through Gaya. It also has an airport which has seasonal services for some South-Asian destinations.

Local transport

City bus, taxis, tongas, auto rickshaw, cycle rickshaws ply across the city and for Bodhgaya.


Regular direct bus services run from Gaya to Patna, Bhagalpur, Munger, Nalanda, Rajgir, Varanasi, Ranchi, Jamshedpur, koderma, Kolkata and Dhanbad. In 2011, A/C Mercedez Benz Luxury services have been introduced by Bihar State Road Transport Corporation for Muzaffarpur, Patna, Munger, Bhagalpur, Motihari, Hazaribagh, Koderma, and Ramgarh.
The National Highway 2 Grand Trunk Road from Kolkata to Delhi passes about 30 km from Gaya. This connects Gaya to Patna, Ranchi, Jamshedpur, Bokaro, Rourkela, Durgapur, Kolkata (495 km), Varanasi (252 km), Allahabad, Kanpur, Delhi, Amritsar, and to the Pakistani cities of Lahore and Peshawar. Gaya is connected to Patna (105 km) by NH 83, Nawada, Rajgir (78 km) and Bihar Sharif by NH 82. Plans have been made to construct a four lane road from Gaya to Patna


Gaya Junction railway station is a junction station serving the city. Gaya junction was also proposed in the list of 66 Station to be built of International standard by Mamta Banerji in UPA II gov.Gaya junction was the only station in Bihar and Jharkhand qualify in the list of 66.Gaya falls under the jurisdiction of Mughalsarai railway division of the East Central Railway zone. Grand Chord rail-line that connects Howrah and New Delhi passes through Gaya. It lies between Mughalsarai Junction on the Delhi side and Dhanbad Junction on the Howrah side. It is located at .[12] It has an elevation of 117 metres (384 ft). Gaya is connected with most of the states through rail network. Very few trains do-not stop here . There are also two other broad gauge train lines from Gaya, one to Patna and the other to Kiul Junction. The city has major two railway station Gaya Junction & Manpur Junction. Gaya is well connected with Patna, Jehanabad, Biharsharif, Rajgir, Islampur, Nawada through daily passenger and express train services.

There are direct trains from Gaya to important stations in India like Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai,Kamakhya - [Guwahati], Ranchi, Parasnath(Shikharji), Bokaro, Varanasi, Lucknow, Kota, Kanpur, Allahabad, Agra, Bareilly, Mathura, Jabalpur, Bhopal, Indore, Nagpur, Mumbai, Pune, Puri, Ahmedabad, Jodhpur, Amritsar, Dehradun, Kalka, Jammu, Gwalior, Dehradun, Jamshedpur(Tatanagar), Bhuvaneshwar, etc. Gaya has the highest number of Rajdhani train stoppage in Bihar and Jharkhand.It the most important railway route for West Bengal.Several frequent electrified local passenger trains also run from Gaya to Patna and other neighbouring destinations at regular intervals.[13][14]


Situated between Gaya (7 km) and Bodh Gaya (11 km), Gaya Airport is the largest (by area) and only operating international airport in Bihar and Jharkhand. It is connected to Jeddha,Saudi Arabia for carrying Hajis every year for annual pilgrimage to holy city Makkah,Saudi Arabia;Colombo, Sri Lanka through two airline operators; Bangkok, Thailand; Singapore and Paro, Bhutan. It is said to be being developed as a stand-by to the Kolkata airport.[15] Gaya Airport is served by Indian Airlines for domestic flights and Sri Lankan Airlines, Mihin Lanka, Drukair, Jet Airways, Thai Airways and Indian Airlines for international flights. Currently, there are domestic operations to New Delhi, Kolkata, Varanasi from this airport.Gaya International Airport has been also granted to facilitate e-Visa on arrival to 87 countries including European Countries, USA, Japan,Thailand and others.Visa on Arrival is the only facility available in Gaya in Eastern Part of India.


The staple food of Gaya is common to the rest of Bihar and Jharkhand. The other special preparations found in Gaya are typically traditional Bihari food. The most popular of them include Bihari Kabab,Biryani,sattu, litti-chhokha, litti, pittha, pua, marua-ka-roti, bari-dal, sattu-ki-roti, baigan-bharta, sukhaota, kopal ka kofta and also famous chat from tower chowk etc. The spicy 'Achar' is also a delicacy.


Gaya has been the origin of several sweet delicacies popular in the whole of Bihar, Jharkhand and the rest of India. Tilkut, Khaja, Kesaria Peda, Lai, Anarsa of Ramana road and tekari road are the most popular sweets that bear the trademark of Gaya.

Tilkut being the most popular of them is prepared using til or sesame seeds (Sesamum Indicum) and jaggery or sugar. It is a seasonal (winter) sweet and only the karigars (workers) from Gaya are believed to impart the real taste of Tilkut. One can find Tilkuts carrying the label "Ramna, Gaya" and "Tekari road, Gaya"even in far flung places like Kolkata and Delhi.The famous shop for Tilkut is Sri Ram Tilkut Bhandar, Tekari Road, Gaya.

Kesaria peda is yet another delicious sweet prepared from khoya (solid milk cream) and kesar (saffron). The Chowk area of the city specializes in Kesaria Peda production.

There are several varieties of Lai available in Bihar, including Lai from Gaya. The main component of this Lai is Ram dana seeds. These ram danas are processed and mixed with khoya and sugar to give rise to a disk shaped sweet.

Anarsa is also based on khoya, but is deep fried and processed with sugar. Anarsa comes in two shapes 'thin disk' and 'spherical'. The sweet is finally embedded with til (sesame) toppings.

These sweets are dry and hence easily packagable, preserved, and transported, unlike Bengali sweets, many of which are soaked in sugar syrups. There is a tradition among the residents to gift the visitors with these sweets when they depart, as a token of love. Besides this, in Gaya one must try roadside eateries like Aloo-kaChaloo & Chaat. Aloo-Kachaloo is made up of boiled potatoes sprinkled with red chilly powder and jeera powder, salt and tamarind water specially of the fammous 'Surendra',of Prem gali,Murarpur Devi Asthan, whose stall(after 6 pm) is located near PNB,tekari road,is one of the finest kachalu wala. One can easily find such joints outside schools and colleges as it is a favourite of kids and teenagers.


The people of Gaya are fond of spicy-sour traditional snacks. There are certain snacks that are found only in Gaya. The most popular among them are Samosa Chat, Alu-Kachalu and Sabudana-Badam Bhoonja, aalu chaat.

Sabudana-Badam Bhoonja is a dry snack that is unique to the Gaya city. It is a mixture of fried sabudana (sago) and fried badam (groundnut) or moongfali is called badam or sometime chiniya-badam in Bihar) along with salt (both white and black), chili powder and jeera (cumin seeds) powder. The mobile bhoonja vendors shouting humorous slogans can be found in every bylane of the Gaya city during the twilight hours. Chanajor garam is one of the most spicy snacks made up of black gram and traditional(typical)masala,being served with lemon juice and typical powder. Bakarkhani and Chai Biscuit are also very famous of Chatta Masjid.

Malls And multiplex

V2 Mall (Rai kashinath More)

V Mart (Store 1 = Opposite Gandhi Maidan) (Store 2 = Peermansoor Road)

Bombay Bazar (K.P Road)

APR City Centre (Opposite Gandhi Maidan, Church Road) APR Has 2 screen multiplex with Reliance trends, reliance digital and reliance footprint also some of famous brands(Louis Phillipe, Allen solly, Pepe jeans, Van Heusen etc.) are there with a food court.

Amrapali Group Mall (Underconstruction, Railway Hospital Road)


Gaya has an All India Radio Relay station known as Akashvani Gaya. Hindustan, Dainik Jagran, Prabhat Khabar, Dainik Bhaskar etc. News Papers are regular published from Gaya.


There are several types of sports being played here. This city has its own stadium Harihar Subramaniam Stadium, which is located nearby famous ground Gandhi Maidan, Gaya.


Gaya is the most educated city of Bihar.Nowadays it is becoming one of the Educational hub in Bihar with the announcement of new IIM,Bodhgaya and Central University of Bihar(CUB).Although there is already Bihar' largest university namely Magadh University exist.Gaya has a very large numbers of CBSE/ICSE affiliated School of State ranking namely Creane Memorial,Nazrath Academy, Elegant Public School and DAV Public School, Cantt. area.There have been scholars from the city with contributions in the field of education, most of the government-run schools in Gaya are affiliated to Bihar School Examination Board say, Gaya High School. There are two Central Schools (Kendriya Vidyalaya) affiliated with the Kendriya Vidyalaya Sangathan, New Delhi. Most of the private schools are affiliated to ICSE and CBSE boards. The only university at Gaya is Magadh University (largest university of Bihar) located near Bodhgaya established by educationist and the then Education Minister S N Sinha. Gaya has several colleges with graduate and post-graduate courses offered in Sciences, Arts, Commerce, Management and Computer Applications. The well known ones include Gaya College (NAAC accredited with Grade-A), Anugrah Memorial College, Gaya College of Engineering (GCE), Jagjivan College, Mahesh Singh Yadav College, Mirza Ghalib College, Buddha Institute of Technology (B.Tech. & Diploma Engineering College). Gautam Buddha Mahila College (GBM College) is exclusively for women.

Officers Training Academy Gaya, started in July 2011, is the third pre-commission training (PCT) academy of the Indian Army with a planned training capacity of 750 cadets.

Central University of Bihar will now have its own campus in Gaya.

IIM Gaya will starts its session from magadh university campus from July - august.


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  6. ^ Climate Summary for Gaya, India
  7. ^ Retrieved on July 31, 2013.
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External links

  • Important info about Gaya
  • Gaya Info & Photo Gallery
  • Live City Map of Gaya
  • in the Buddhist Dictionary of Pali Proper NamesGayaEntry on
  • Suttas spoken by Gautama Buddha concerning Gaya: (more)
  1. Adittapariyaya Sutta – The Fire
  2. Verse from the Vatthupama Sutta – The Simile of the Cloth''
  • Gaya travel guide from Wikivoyage
  • Gaya HRIDAY city
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