1Enakshi Ganguly = ""The Mangalagauri temple in Gaya (Bihar) has been mentioned in Padma Purana, Vayu Purana and Agni Purana and in other scriptures and tantric works. The present temple dates back to 1459 AD. The shrine is dedicated to Shakti or the mother Goddess in the predominantly Vaishnavite pilgrimage center of Gaya. Mangalagauri is worshiped as the Goddess of benevolence. This temple constitutes an Upa-Shakti Pitha - where it is believed that a part of the body of Shakti fell - according to mythology. Here Shakti is worshiped in the form of a breast symbol, a symbol of nourishment.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 MardiniGaya is one of the most famous spiritual destinations in India. Gaya is located in Bihar and stands on the bank of Falgu River. Gaya in India is held holy and pious by both Hindu and Buddhists. The narrow by lanes with age old buildings, beautiful natural surroundings with rocky hills on the three sides and river flowing by the city on the western side makes the city look beautiful and elates the spiritual atmosphere of the place.The city derived its name from the demon, Gayasur who is said to have resided in this area. It is said that Lord Vishnu killed the demon by crushing him under his feet. On his being crushed, the demon got transformed into numerous rocky hills that form the topography of the city today. Then the deities decided to sit over the dead demon and that is the reason why one can find numerous temples over these surrounding rocky hills. It is said that any one who touched him or looked at him were fred of all sins. Mangla Gauri, Rama Shila, Brahmayoni and Shringa Sthan are the places where one can find temples on the hill tops and which comprise of the pilgrimage circuit of the city.The Mangla Gauri shrine in Gaya, one of the most holy sites has two rounded stones which symbolizes the breasts of the Goddess Sati, who is regarded as the first wife of Lord Shiva.Vishnu pad 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."Source: http://18shaktipeetasofdevi.blogspot.com/2011/04/18-shakti-peethas.html"
2Enakshi Ganguly = ""Mangala Gauri temple:It is a very old temple built in 15th century. We have to climb up a small hillock to reach the temple. The steps route is in between houses of local people. 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."Source: http://www.shaktipeethas.org/ashtadasa/topic540.html"
3Enakshi Ganguly = ""Puranic ReferenceSarvamangala Shakthi Peeth is mentioned in Padma Purana, Vayu Purana, and Agni Purana and Tantric works.According to Vayu Purana, Gayasura was a great devotee of Lord Vishnu. He performed rigorous penance and was blessed by Lord Vishnu. He had such powers that anyone who came in contact with him would be absolved of his sins. Gayasura wanted everyone to attain Mukthi. This got Indra worried. So they decided to teach Gayasura a lesson. The Trimurthis (Lord Brahma, Vishnu and Ishwar) came to Gayasura in the guise of three Brahmins. They wanted to perform Yagna and asked Gayasura for a piece of land. The Trimurthis decided to perform the Yagna on his body as no place was as sacred as his body for the Yagna. The Yagna would be completed in seven days. Gayasura agreed and started counting the days with the crowing of the cock in the morning. On the sixth day, Lord Shiva, with the intention of spoiling the Yagna crowed in the middle of the night. Gayasura mistook it for morning and began to shake his body. The Yagna could not be completed. Thus the Trimurthis made him realise that it is not possible for him to carry the sins of everybody. They granted a boon to him that this place would be as sacred as he was. Thus Gaya is considered as a very sacred place. The body got transformed into several rocky hills which form the topography of the area. The gods decided to sit on these rocks, thus there are several temples on these hill rocks in Gaya. Thus the place gets its name from the demon Gayasura.Another version is that Lord Vishnu asked Gayasura to go beneath the earth. Lord Vishnu placed his right foot on Gayasura’s head so that it could go into the earth. The imprint of the right foot of Lord Vishnu is seen in Vishnu Pada temple. When Gayasura pleaded for food, Lord Vishnu granted a boon saying that everyday some one or the other would offer him food. The day he does not get food, he will come out.According to Ramayana, Lord Rama along with Sita came to Gaya to perform the Shraddha Karma of his father, King Dasharatha. While Lord Rama was taking bath in Phalgu River, a pair of hands (that of King Dasharatha) appeared and a voice spoke asking Sita to prepare the Pindam (rice balls) herself as he was very hungry. Moved by the request, Sita Mata prepared the pindams out of sand and offered it to the pair of hands which received it. Later Lord Rama came back and began doing the Shraddha Karma. When he offered Pindam to his father, he was pained to see that his father was not receiving it. Sita Mata then explained the miracle that had occurred. She called the Phalgu river, a Brahman, a cow and the Banyan tree as witness to what had occurred. Only the Banyan tree supported her story and all the other three denied her story. Brahman denied as he had greed for money, the Phalgu River expected more offerings from Lord Rama and the cow was in awe on seeing Lord Rama. Sita Devi angered at the Brahman, the river and the cow cursed all the three and blessed the Banyan tree as Akshayavat (meaning Akashya immortal, and Vat is Banyan tree). Thus the Banyan tree which usually sheds its leaves during autumn and gets its new leaves by spring season never sheds its leaves here. The tree has evergreen leaves even during drought. Phalgu River lost its water due to the curse and the river is only a stretch of sand dunes.Gaya is an important place for Buddhists as Buddha attained enlightenment here. Brahmayoni (formerly known as Gayasisa) is the hill where Buddha preached the Fire sermon (Adittapariyaya Sutta) to a thousand fire worshipping ascetics who got enlightenment while listening to Buddha’s discourse."Source: http://www.indianscriptures.com/sacred-places/shakti-peethas/sarvamangala-devi"