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Gaya Holidays Overview
Gaya is a city located in the North eastern Indian state of Bihar.This perennially hot and dusty city which is characterized by old buildings and narrow crowded by lanes is situated 100 kilometers away from the capital city of Bihar, Patna and provides a rest stop for visitors who travel to the scared spot of Bodhgaya which is located 13 km away.Gaya is surrounded by hills which are dotted with temples and is widely regarded to be a place of great sanctity due to its proximity to Bodhgaya which is often considered to be one of the holiest places in the world.
Gaya which is located on the banks of the Falgu River features prominently in the Hindu faith for it is an important pilgrimage center. Hindus from all over India come to offer pindas (funeral cakes) to the souls of their departed loved ones so that they may rest in peace. This religious ceremony usually takes place during the Pitrapaksha Mela which is held annually in the month of September. These religious ceremonies are usually performed on the Ghats(hills) that line the Falgu River.
The history of Gaya can be traced back to the times of Lord Buddha according to Buddhist traditions Prince Siddharta in the year 500 BC was wandering as an ascetic on the banks of the Falgu River near Gaya. It was then that he began to meditate under a Bodhi tree. After three days and nights of meditation, he attained enlightenment and found the answers that he was seeking. He then spent seven weeks at seven different spots in the vicinity.
Legend states that during this time while he was in severe penance near Gaya, he rested under a tree for he was week, tired and hungry. He was then offered food by a condemned woman called Sujata. Buddha accepted her offerings and his countenance assumed a divine glow as he understood the Supreme truth which teaches you to follow the Middle Path. The Sujatha Sthan which is also known as the Durgeshwari Temple now commemorates this event. Soon after this incident Buddha traveled to the holy town of Sarnath where he began to instruct his followers on the teachings of Budhism.
This early history of the Bodh Gaya has been documented through the ages by many inscriptions and accounts of pilgrims, the most prominent of which are those created by Chinese pilgrims Faxian in the 5th century and Xuanzang in the 7th century
Since these times the disciples of Budhism have always visited Bodh Gaya especially during the full moon in the Hindu month of Vaisakh that typically falls in the month of April to May. Budhists all over the world celebrate the day when Buddha achieved enlightenment as Buddha Purnima.
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holidays - Top Events
The most important event to be held in Gaya is the Pitrapaksha Mela. This event is traditionally held in the month of September and features ancestor worship which is performed during the Sraddha ritual. This festival is also traced back to the times of Buddha who is believed to have performed the first sraddha ritual in Gaya. This ritual involves the offerings of pindas to the departed souls of loved ones in order to help them achieve salvation. This ritual is mentioned in several holy Hindu scriptures and texts and is the biggest annual event in Gaya which attracts Hindus from all over the country. The event also features fairs and festivities in the city of Gaya.
holidays - How to Get There
Thai airways and a combination of other airlines like Qantas; Malaysian Airlines provide air links to Gaya from Australian cities of Melbourne and Sydney. The flight time of these journeys depends on the route that you choose to take and the stops that your compelled to make.
The Australian High Commission which is located in Delhi covers the city of Gaya.