Pind Daan history in Bodhgaya
Gaya finds mention in the great epics, Ramayana and Mahabharata. Rama along with Sita and Lakshmana visited Gaya for offering PIND-DAAN to their
father Dasharath. In Mahabharata, the place has been identified as Gayapuri. About the origin of the name ‘Gaya' as referred to in Vayu Purana is that
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
Gayasura's body would continue to be known as Gaya Kshetra.
Gaya is a world famous place and has many important places from the aspects of Hinduism confined in its distances.
Some of the holy sites at Gaya include:
where there is a 40 cm long footprint of Lord Vishnu. The temple was established along the Falgu River and is the place where lord Vishnu subdued Gayasur by placing his foot on his chest. These big footprints of lord Vishnu can be seen inside the temple and are imprinted in hard rock. Being located at centre part of Gaya, the temple has Gold Flag and Gold Dome at the Top.
Mangla Gauri shrine is has two rounded stones that symbolize breasts of mythological Sati (first wife of Lord Shiva). An old and sacred temple, it is located in Chand Chaura area of Gaya town and is visited by hundreds of devotees.
The Pind Dan starts from Falgu River. It has an interesting story that when Lord Ram came to Gaya with Sita for Pind Daan, Sita cursed Falgu River due to disobedience on its part and due to the curse Falgu River lost its water and was replaced by vast stretch of sand dunes. However, water can found all round the year by digging in its dry sandy riverbed and thus is also called “Antah Saliya”.
This is the last important place where pinda dan is done. It has been given a boon by Sita that it cannot die or be destroyed. As per Ved Puran, Lord Krishna will stay under its shadow when whole world drowns in water. Those who do their Pind Daan here, their ancestors go straight to Dev Lok.
Preth Shila Hill:
It is around 8-kms from Gaya and means hill of ghosts. With the place being sacred to Yama, Hindu god of hell, the place is one of sacred places of pilgrimage. All visitors can also see a small temple on top of hill dedicated to Yama. At the foothill are three tanks called Sati, Nigra and Sukha with fourth tank 'Ramkund' present on summit near temple of Yama where it is said that Lord Ram took bath. It is believed that whoever takes bath in this tank and does shradha and Pind Daan here is ridden from his all sins.
The hill is situated on north of Gaya town and is around 715-ft high. On the top there is old temple called Rameshwara or Mahadev temple where there is a pavilion where Pindas can be offered.
It’s the highest hill in Gaya and contains small temple at top of Lord Brahma. There is small natural fissure in rocks at the hill top through which one person can just manage to crawl. It is believed that whoever does the crawling is saved from the process of rebirth.
Importance of Gaya for Pind Daan
As per the narration Gaya Mahatam in Vayupuran, at the time when mankind was being created, Lord Brahma created demon named Gayasur who did deep meditation at Kolahal mountain. Pleased with his devotion, Lord Vishnu asked him to seek one blessing. Gayasur desired that whoever comes in touch with him (angel or demon, insect, sinner, saint or sage, evil spirit) should find salvation and thus purified of all sins can then proceed to vaikunth (abode of Lord Vishnu). The Pind Daan done at Gaya is also considered a personal way to make offerings on foot prints of Lord Vishnu, thus ensuring all departed souls of our ancestors rest in peace permanently.