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Gaya, a noted Hindu pilgrimage centre visited by ~300,000 pilgrims annually, lies along the Falgu River, a tributary of the Ganges. Most pilgrims come for pinda daan, an offering to free their ancestors from bondage to the earth. The main shrine is the Vishnu temple built by the Maratha princess Ahalya Bai of Indore in 1787, and is said to contain a footprint of Vishnu, which happens to be remarkably similar to a human one! The village of Bodh Gaya, 10 km south of Gaya, is famous as the site of the Buddha's enlightenment. [Adapted from Encyclopedia Britannica; July 06]
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