|back to Buddha Trail index|
Gaya is sacred primarily to the Hindus and has a large Vishnu temple (Vishnupad) that is closed to non-Hindus. The Buddha visited here a number times and it was the headquarters of Devadatta, a cousin of the Buddha. A number of devotees were converted to Buddhism here. For Buddhists, the important site here is Brahmayoni Hill, accessed by a long stone staircase. About halfway up the staircase, a path leads to a small Buddhist shrine supposedly marking the spot where the Buddha delivered the Adittapariyaya Sutta (the Fire Sutra) to 900 monks. It is obvious that it would be impossible for so many to assemble at this spot but the figures given in the sutras about how many monks attended the Buddha's discourses are usually greatly exaggerated. The view alone is worth the effort but Gaya is not a pleasant town and it's not worth spending any length of time here.
click on photo to enlarge