गया/बोध गया gaya/bodh gaya
‘Gayasur’s Town’ [Bodhgaya] City/District, Bihar
Gaya is named after the demon Gayasur [Skt: असुर asura ‘(evil) spirit’, ‘demon’]. It is said that Vishnu bestowed powers on him, following his thousand year long penance, to absolve sinners.
Gautama Buddha attained enlightenment at Bodh Gaya, 16 km from here, in the 6thC.
Gaya is surrounded by rocky hilltops with temples at their summit (Rama Shila, Preta Shila, Ram Gaya Pahar, and Brahmayoni). It is said that these are the embodiment of Gayasur after his death and form part of an important pilgrimage route.