Mangla Gauri – Maha Shakti Peeth
There are eighteen locations which are treated as Maha Shakti Peeths. This is as per Adi Shankara (Ashtadasa Shakthi Peetha Stotram). Mangla Gauri temple in Gaya is one of them.
The temple faces east, and is built on top of the Mangalagauri hill. A flight of steps lead to the temple. The sanctum houses the symbol of the goddess and it also has some finely carved ancient relief sculptures. A mandap (small hall) is present at the front of the temple. The courtyard also houses a fire pit for the purpose of havans. There are also two minor shrines dedicated to Shiva and images of Mahishasura Mardini, Durga and Dakshina Kali.
The present temple dates back to 15th century. The shrine is dedicated to Shakti or the mother Goddess in the predominantly Vaishnavite pilgrimage center of Gaya.
This temple has great religious value and it is mentioned in various puranas. The name of the devi is Sarvamangala devi. Mangala gauri is worshipped as the goddess of benevolence. The Mangla Gauri temple 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.
Some information on Gaya
Gaya is located in Bihar abut 100 kilometers away from the capital city of Patna. Historically, Gaya was the part of the ancient Magadh Empire. The city is located on the bank of Falgu River and is considered among one of the most sacred cities for Hindus. Three hills Mangala-Gauri, Shringa-Sthan, Ram-Shila and Brahmayoni surround it from three sides and make at a safe and beautiful site. Gaya is an ancient place and has great heritage and history. Various modes of transportation connect Gaya with other major cities of Bihar along with rest of India.