Gaya is sacred not only for Hindus but also for Buddhists, as the place has many Buddhist pilgrim destinations. These sacred places in Gaya correspond to physical features, most of which occur naturally. The bank sides of river Falgu and temples located on the bank are beautiful and attractive. A peepal tree standing on the bank of Falgu River called Akshayavat is considered sacred for Hindus. The tree is worshiped for its divinity
The old temple of Vishnupad was later renovated by the queen of Indore, Devi Ahilyabai in eighteenth century. While Hindus claim that footprints in Vishunpad temple are of Lord Vishnu, Buddhists consider them the footprints of Lord Buddha. The temple is nevertheless a major pilgrim destination.
Nomenclature of Gaya is based on the myth of demon Gayasur who Lord Vishnu had killed in a dual. The place is so sacred for Hindus that even Lord Ram had performed Pindadanam here for his ancestors. Legend says that Lord Ram had come to Gaya to pay homage to his ancestors and Sita had accompanied him on his way. Gaya is equally important for Buddhists as this was the place where Lord Buddha preached the Fire Sermon i.e. Adittapariyaya Sutta to around 1000 agriculture workers who were fire-worshipers. The influence of Buddha’s discourse was so enormous that all of them converted to Buddhism.