Vishnupada Mandir has been visited by several well known saints such as Madhvacharya, Ramanujacharya, Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and Sankaradeva. People believe that Lord Vishnu killed Gayasura by placing his foot on Gayasura’s chest. Legend says that Lord Rama had come to Gaya to pay homage to his ancestors and Sita had accompanied him on his way. It is also said that Lord Buddha meditated here for 6 years.
Legends of Vishnupada Mandir
According to a legend, once Gayasura, a demon practised penance and was blessed with a boon by Lord Vishnu that one who perceives him will achieve moksha. People thus, easily achieved salvation by seeing him. To resist this, Lord Vishnu advised Gayasura to descend underneath the earth and placed his right foot on the demon’s head. When the demon requested for food, the lord blessed him that he would be served food everyday by some devotee.
The upper portion of the Vishnupada Mandir is adorned with a gold flag and a couple of gold made kalash. According to a story once two thieves attempted to steal the gold kalash and the flag by climbing atop the temple. However, it is said that one of them turned into stone and the other too became a stone after falling down from the top. The stone images of the thieves have been preserved by the temple.
Architecture of Vishnupada Mandir
Vishnupada Mandir is an ancient shrine that had been rebuilt by the ruler of Indore, Devi Ahilya Bai Holkar in 1787. The temple is 30 meters in height and is decked with 8 artistically carved pillars that extend support to the pavilion. Huge grey granite blocks fastened by iron clamps have been used for construction of the temple. The octagonal shrine facing the eastern side has a pyramidal tower that is almost 100 feet in height. The sloping sides of the temple has indented and plain segments. These have been built in a way so as to generate a chain of peaks connected at the top. It is said that the temple was constructed keeping the footprints of Lord Vishnu in the middle. Devotees can see the 40 cm footprint of Lord Vishnu marked on solid rock. A silver plated basin surrounds it. A banyan tree ‘Akshayavat’ can be seen within the temple complex.
Visiting Information of Vishnupada Mandir
Devotees visiting the temple need to climb almost 1000 stone steps to reach the Brahmajuni Hill. It is located at a distance of almost 1 km on the south-western side of the Vishnupad Mandir. Tourists can get a glimpse of the imposing sight of the temple from the top of the hill. Several small temples have been built in the vicinity of the main temple.