Friday, 17 July 2015

SarvaMangalaGowri Devi

                Mangala Gouri Temple from Gaya of Bihar state in INDIA is one another from Ashtadasa Shaktipeethas. It is believed that the body part- Breast  of Devi Sati has fallen here when Shri Mahaa Vishnu cuts the corpse of her with his Sudarshanachakra. This temple is a very old one and is built in 15th century. Devotees have to climb up a small hill rock to reach the temple. The temple is facing east, and is built on top of the Mangalagauri hill. A flight of steps and a motorable road lead to the temple. The sanctum houses the symbol of the Goddess and it also has some finely carved ancient relief sculptures. A small hall or mandap stands in front of the temple. The courtyard also houses a fire pit for the home. There are also two minor shrines dedicated to Shiva and images of Mahishasura Mardini, Durga and Dakshina Kali.

At the starting of steps route there is temple of Bhima (One of Five Pandavas). We can see his knee impression here. Here Bhima did Shraddhakarma, hence called as Bhimvedi Gaya.
After climbing around 200 steps we will reach Mangala Gowri temple campus. There are several temples in that campus. Lord Ganesh temple, Lord Shiva temple and very old temple of Lord Janardhan swamy, Kali maa temple, Breast fallen place present in the campus. A Bilwa tree also present in that temple.
Ganesh temple present in front of main temple. Beside that Lord Shiva temple also present. We can do pradakshina to temple. In the backside of temple, adjacent to temple wall there is a sacred place where Sati devi sthana fell. Beside this place Kali maa idol is there. Main temple is very small temple and only 2 to 3 members can go into the temple at a time. There is no idol in the temple. We can see Breast of Satidevi in deepa lighting. Lord Shiva also present in the form of Shivaling beside maa. Some Tantriks will offer Bali to Mother Goddess.

Importance of Gaya:
Gaya will be considered as must see place for every Hindu. This is because of its greatness for Shraddha karmas. This is the best place to do Shraddha karmas. Vishnupad temple, where Lord Vishnu stood upon Dharmavrata Shila on head of Gayasura, is the important temple in Gaya. Lord Gadadhara is the main diety here. This temple present beside Holy Phalguni river. This place is also considered as one of Sapta Mokshapuras and Pancha Gaya kshetras.
Lord Buddha also got salvation in Gaya. He started his teachings after getting Gnana in Gaya. A very famous Bodhivriksha, which is the important tourist place for Buddhists also present in Gaya. Here Lord Buddha statue is completely made up of Pure gold.

History of Gaya:-
Ancient history: Documented history of Gaya dates back to the birth of Gautam Buddha. About 15 km from Gaya town is Bodh Gaya, the place where Gautam Buddha got enlightenment. Since then the places around Gaya (Rajgir, Nalanda, Vaishali, Patliputra) 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 Patliputra (modern Patna) and covered the area beyond the boundaries of the Indian subcontinent. During this period, Gaya was a part of the Magadh region.

Medieval history:-

 In the 14th-15th century Gaya was frequently attacked by foreign Muslim invaders including other Hindu holy and sacred places. The Hindu rajputs from rajasthan moved towards north-east to defend Banaras and Gaya, the expedition of Maharana Lakha being the most important. Maharana Lakha, was the forty-fifth ruler of the Mewar Dynasty (r. 1382-1421); succeeded his father, Maharana Kshetra Singh; ruled for thirty-nine years from Chittor. He was a brave and gallant fighter throughout his life and led his life defending Gaya. The remaining army settled in parts of city of Magadha Kingdom. After the attack of the Muslim rulers these centers were severely damaged and along with them the historical city of Gaya lost its glory. But, in the medieval era under the rule of the great Sher Shah Suri (an Afghan ruler based in the Sasaram district of modern Bihar), Gaya got connected with the rest of India by the famous Grand Trunk road (passing through Sherghati) built by the ruler.

Importance to Hindu Mythology:-
Gaya derives its name from the mythological demon Gayasur (which literally means Gaya the holy demon), demon (asur, a Sanskrit word) and Gaya. Over its history dating millennia, the word asur got deleted and the name Gaya remained in currency. Lord Vishnu killed Gayasur, the holy demon by using the pressure of his foot over him. This incident transformed Gayasur into the series of rocky hills that make up the landscape of the Gaya city.

 Gaya 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, Shringa Sthan and Brahmayoni are part of the pilgrimage circuit, and grand staircases have been built up to most of them.

Vishnupad temple:-

Vishnupad Temple is marked by a footprint of Vishnu. This footprint is the significance of the act of Lord Vishnu crushing Gayasur under his foot. The temple that stands today was rebuilt by Devi Ahilya Bai Holkar in the 18th century. As per the Buddhist tradition and culture, this footstep mark is regarded that of Lord Buddha who is said to be the avatar of Vishnu.
The temples and the Ghats that are present by the River Falgu are also of great spiritual significance. Some trees are also held sacred by the Hindus and in Gaya one would find Pipal trees, Akshayavat and the undying Banyan which are also offered prayers and offerings in huge numbers by the pilgrims coming into the city.

Gaya is held as an important spiritual center by Hindus as a site which offers salvation to the souls. Buddhists hold Gaya as an important pilgrimage center because of the presence of the Brahmayoni or the Gayasia hill where Buddha preached the Fire Sermon or the Adittapariyaya Sutta.

Akshayavata (Imperishable Banyan Tree):-
It is said that as per Mythology at the time of deluge (Pralaya) when the entire earthgot submerged into water Lord Maha Vishnu slept on the leaf of Banyan Tree in the form of a child. Lord Maha Vishnu is also called by name Vatapathra Sai. Thisbanyan tree is said to be in existence since time immemorial, undecaying andperpetual. Symbolized as a link between earth and heaven where ancestral rites areperformed as a part of Gaya Shraaddha. 

Generally once in a year every banyan tree releases all its leaves, but it is said that this Akshayavat tree does not release itsleaves at all and remain green always even in draught condition. It is said that thetree has existed since Thretha Yuga when Sitadevi gave a boon that the tree wouldremain immortal. It is located in the courtyard of Vishnupada temple.

Mahabodhi temple in Bodh Gaya:
ahabodhi Temple In Bodh Gaya, Bihar The Mahabodhi Temple is a Buddhist temple in Bodh Gaya, the location where Siddhartha Gautama, the Buddha, is said to have attained enlightenment. Bodh Gaya (located in Gaya district) is located about 96 km (60 mi) from Patna, Bihar state, India. Next to the temple, to its western side, is the holy Bodhi tree. In the Pali Canon, the site is called Bodhimanda,and the monastery there the Bodhimanda Vihara. The tallest tower is 55 metres (180 ft) tall. The construction uses the styles of Dravidian Architecture, as opposed to Nagara Temple style.


sarvamangaLa mAngalyA gayA mAngalya gaurikA / 
arthadA mOkSHadA dEvi akSHayya phaladAyinI //


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