Vishnupad Temple, Gaya
Vishnupad Temple, dedicated to Lord Vishnu, is one of the major highlights of the destination.Built in Shikhara style, the temple was reconstructed by Ahilya Bai Holkar of Indore in 1787. According to beliefs and religious texts, it is believed that the footprints present inside the temple are of Lord Vishnu.
Located on the bank of River Falgu, the temple has footprint of Lord Vishnu, which is 40 centimetres long and enclosed by a basin made of silver plates. The temple complex is large in size and houses images of several Gods and Goddesses. In addition, there are several other shrines present in and around the temple.
Inside the courtyard of this temple, there is another important temple of Lord Nrisimha. The temple as well as the statue are intricately carved and designed. Adjoining this temple is another temple, which is the Vishnu temple located on the northern side. This temple is constructed using stone pillars and brick walls.
On the other hand, the eastern side of this temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva, who resides here in the form of Phalgwisvara. This form of Lord Shiva is known as the lord of the River
THE IMPORTANCE OF PIND DAAN IN GAYA
To bring the salvation to departed souls, Pind-daan is a mandatory thingfor all Hindus and Hinduism followers. it is believed that no work can be successfully performed without the blessing of ancestors and doing of Pind –daan brings the blessings of the forefathers.
The performing of Pind Daan as per the specific rituals at Gaya, Haridwar, Badrinath, Kurukshetra, Allahabad are considered as auspicious.
As per scriptures, Lord Rama offered Pind Daan to his father Dashratha at this place. It is believed that Rama belonged to Treta Yuga. This yuga covered 12,96,000 mortal years. After Treta, came Dwapar yuga covering 8,64,000 mortal years. This is the Kali yuga.
The period is to cover another 4,32,000 mortal years. In such a situation Rama came to Gaya for offering oblation to his deceased father more than 12 lakh years ago. And the pind daan in Gaya practice for the salvation of a soul was in vogue since long and still continues to be an integral part of Hindu mythology.
By performing the rituals as per ancient texts and paying homage to the deceased ancestors, the dead soul attains mokhsa (salvation).
It is believed that this place has been blessed by purification powers. Hindus traditionally come here to perform pind daan to honor their parents or ancestors. Some people also come here to perform the last rites. By doing so, they help their family members to attain Moksha.
In Gaya, Pind Daan can be done all the year but it is better to perform Gaya Shradh or Gaya Pind Daan during 1st, 3rd , 5th and 7th day of Amawasya with Krishana paksh in any month and during auspicious 18days Pitri Paksh mela.The auspicious 18th day of Tripaksha sraddha or Pitripaksha mela, which is considered best days for offering oblations to the departed forefathers or any departed Family members.
And this auspicious 18th day comes in every year in the month of September or October. And an estimated 6, 00,000 to 8, 00,000 pilgrims arrive in the Gaya city during the Pitripaksh Mela for Gaya sraddha or Pind Daan.
Besides Rama, other personalities who visited Gaya for the Pind Daan purpose are the Raja Yudhistra ,Bhisma Pitamaha, Marichi(Brahma’s son) and others.It is also believed that if any person sacrifices his life by any means then he or she first of all enter the Preth yoni then enter the pitar yoni and after doing Pind Daan or Gaya sraddha they got moksha under the foot of Lord Vishnu in Gaya.
Gaya finds mention in the great epics, Ramayana and Mahabharata. In Mahabharat, the place has been identified as Gayapuri. Gaya derives its name from the demon Gayasur. Over its history dating millennia, the word asur got deleted and the name Gaya remained in currency. It is believed that if any person departed from the Earth, his soul is wandering and they will not get peace until his any family member don’t perform Gaya Sraddha or Pinda Daan for him.
Gaya being on the top of the list has much significance when it comes to Pind Daan. The soul could be freed from the agonies of hell and sent to heaven by performing Gaya-Shraddha or Pind Daan in Gaya. Apart from this, spiritual texts like Padma Puran, Garud Purana, and Shri Bhagavad Gita also shows the importance of Gaya Sraddha or Pind Daan.
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