Gaya, the “city of the ghost’s cape”. Mythologically described as the last among the three pillars in “the holy bridge to heaven”, Gaya is eulogized as the most sacred place to conduct rituals to one’s ancestors. Gaya and its surroundings record a continuity of tradition from at least the 8th century BCE as narrated in the Vayu Purana. Gaya is an important religious location and is considered the most sacred place for Hindus - particularly for the ritual of Pind Dan. According to Hindu religious scriptures, every Hindu is expected to perform Pind Dan at least once in his lifetime in order to pacify his ancestors. The ritual has been in practice since the days of the Ramayana and even Lord Ram came to Gaya, accompanied by his wife Sita, to perform Pind Dan to his ancestors.
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Bodhgaya, the scene of the Buddha’s Supreme Enlightenment, is the most hallowed location on earth to Buddhists. During the Buddha’s time, the place on the bank of the River Niranjana was known as Uruvela. King Ashoka was the first to build a temple at this sacred spot. A portrayal of the Ashokan temple and other buildings at Bodhgaya have been found in a bas-relief in the Bharhut Stupa (temple) in Madhaya Pradesh. Beginning with Asoka’s first visit in 259 BC, countless pilgrims have gravitated to what is considered the cradle of Buddhism, without interruption, for more than 1,500 years. Bodhgaya is situated 260 km from Varanasi and has various attractions to offer visitors...
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