Bihar consists of many ancient Hindu, Buddhist and Jain Bihar temples making Bihar one of the most sought after pilgrimage centers in India.
Mahabodhi Temple dates back to 7th century and is one of the highlights of the religious township. Constructed around the original Bodhi Tree, the history of this temple dates back to 2,500 years.
Built by Burmese King, the shrine is identical to the stupa, which was constructed by Emperor Ashoka. The temple is dedicated to Lord Buddha who is considered as the ninth incarnation of Lord Vishnu, houses his statue, which is established in a cross-legged seating position and earth touching.
Bawan Pokhar Temple is an old temple of Vaishali. It is situated on the northern banks of Bawan Pokhar. It was built during the Pala period and comprises some significant images of several Hindu Gods.
Patan Devi Temple is a magnificent temple, located in the Chowk area of Patna. The temple comprises into two temples, Bari (big) Patan Devi Temple and Chhoti (small) Patan Devi Temple. It widely believed that the name of this district has been inspired by the name of the Patan Devi Temples.
The small or the Chhoti Patan Devi Temple stands in the Chowk area of Patna. This temple is more popular in comparison to the Bari Patan Devi Temple. The temple consists of various idols of Lord Ganesh, Surya and Lord Vishnu.
On the other hand, Bari Patan Devi Temple is near the Ganga River and faces the northern side. The main attraction of the temple is that of the idols at the entrance of goddesses Mahakali, Maha Lakshmi, Maha Saraswati and Bhairav made in black stones.
Mahavir Mandir is one of the most prominent and well-renowned temples in Bihar, which is enshrined with the deity of Lord Hanuman. The initiation of this temple is unknown, however according to historical facts, this temple is said to be established by Swami Balanand, who was a disciplinary of Ramanandi Sect during 1730 AD.
This is the only temple of the country, where the donation made to the priest while performing ceremonies also goes to the temple’s trust. It is definitely the first temple in the northern India to utilise its entire donation in religious projects or programmes that involve helping and aiding the poor.
Vishnupad Temple dedicated to Lord Vishnu, is one of the major highlights of the destination. Built in Shikhara style, the temple was reconstructed by Ahilya Bai Holkar of Indore in 1787.
Located on the bank of River Falgu, the temple has footprint of Lord Vishnu, which is 40 centimetres long and enclosed by a basin made of silver plates.
Inside the courtyard of this temple, there is another important temple of Lord Narasimha. Adjoining this temple is another temple, which is the Vishnu temple located on the northern side.
On the other hand, the eastern side of this temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva, who resides here in the form of Phalgwisvara.
Ratnaghara Temple The entire seven weeks of Buddha’s meditation were done in different locations within the complex and one of them is the Ratnaghara, a charming and roofless temple. In one of those seven weeks, Indradev and Lord Brahma created a marvelous hall studded with the seven valuable elements for the Lord to meditate. During his meditation, the Buddha’s body radiated rays of five colors and illuminated the close by Bodhi tree.
Brahmayoni Temple located at a distance of one kilometre to the south-west of the Vishnupad Temple, is one of the major attractions of Gaya. For those visiting the temple need to climb up 424 high stone steps so as to reach the top of the hill.
On the hill where this temple is located, there are two caves, namely, Brahmayoni and Matreyoni along with an a ancient temple of Astabhujadevi.
Cankamana Shrine is one of the revered shrines positioned along the Bodhi Temple. The shrine features various articles that were purified by the presence of Lord Buddha.
Lord Buddha’s feet have been carved into black stone lotuses towards the northern fringe of the temple.
Indosan Nippon Japanese Temple, located at a distance of 15 km from the heart of the city, is one of the most famous temples of Bodh Gaya. Carved with Buddhist preaching, the temple reflects Japanese architecture and is beautifully carved out of wood.
Vietnamese Temple In 2002, the Vietnam Government decided to construct a temple dedicated to the Buddha near Bodhi temple. The construction has taken the best of latest technology and architecture to produce a stunning shrine along with the serene and lovely surroundings. A wonderful serene looking and smiling Buddha idol known as the Avalokiteswara statue (the peaceful Buddha) has been erected within the temple.
Chinese Temple in Gaya , is located in the vicinity of the Bodhi temple, is a beautiful Buddha temple erected by Chinese Buddhist monks. Decorated with Chinese designs, the exteriors of this temple reflect the Chinese architecture. The Buddha statue instated at this temple dates back to around 200 years, which is believed to have been brought from China.
Sun Temple at Nalanda is situated near the University of Nalanda. The temple also houses other Hindu and Buddhist deities. The main attraction of the temple is a five-feet idol of Goddess Parvati.
Dungeshwari Cave Temples also known as Mahakala Caves, is situated 12 km north-east of Bodhgaya, Bihar. There are three caves containing Buddhist shrines, where the Buddha is believed to have meditated.
The Prapitaamaheshwara Temple is situated in Gaya District, Bihar. This temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva and is a famous site for giving offerings (pindas)to dead relatives. It is one of the oldest temples in Gaya and dates back to the 11th century. The temple is adjacent to the two sacred hills of Bhramayoni and Vasmakuta.
The Mangalagowri Temple, dating back to 1459, is in Gaya District of Bihar. This temple is dedicated to Shakti or the Mother Goddess Mangala Gowri. Goddess Mangalagowri is worshipped as the Goddess of benevolence in the form of a breast symbol, a symbol of nourishment. It is a small brick temple facing east, built on top of the Mangalagowri hill.
Lakshmi Narayan Temple in Rajgir of Nalanda District in Bihar, is devoted to Lord Vishnu and his consort, Goddess Lakshmi. Painted in pink, this sacred temple stands beside the Saptadhara—a group of seven hot springs.
Durga Mandir is situated at Bettiah, in West Champaran District, Bihar. The temple enshrines Goddess Durga as the presiding deity. Durga Puja, held in remembrance of the victory of Durga over Mahishasura, is celebrated with great pomp and festivity.
Stupa Sita III Temple is an ancient shrine situated in Nalanda, Bihar. The temple is a rectangular structure with its lofty sanctum is approached by flight of steps with parapet walls decorated with figures of lions. It has four, stupa-like corner towers, which are beautifully decorated with niches containing Buddhist stucco images.
Harikatora Temple is located in Vaishali of Bihar. It is believed to have been built during the Gupta period. The highlight here is an image of Lord Kartikeya, which is in a sitting posture on a peacock.
Shyama Temple , in Darbhanga. This temple, devoted to Goddess Kali, is one of the most prominent temples built upon the private graveyard of the Darbhanga royal family. The temple is famed for its beauty.
(Inputs from Bihar Tourism)