|History of the District|
The period of Hindu revivalism commenced with the coming of the Guptas during the 4 th and 5 th century A.D. Samudragupta of Magadh helped to bring Gaya in limelight. It was the headquarter of Bihar district during the Gupta empire.
Gaya then passed on to the Pala dynasty with Gopala as the ruler. It is believed that the present temple of Bodh Gaya was built during the reign of Dharmapala, son of Gopala.
Gaya came under the reign of Muhamaddan rulers in the 12 th century with Muhammad Bakhtiyar Khilji invading the region. For a short period thereafter, the Pathan Chief Sher Shah ruled over the place at the end of 16 th century. The place finally passed on to the Britishers after the battle of Buxar in 1764. Gaya, alongwith other parts of the country, won freedom in 1947.
Gaya finds mention in the great epics, Ramayana and Mahabharata. Rama alongwith Sita and Lakshmana visited Gaya for offering PINDDAAN to their father Dasharath. In Mahabharat, the place has been identified as Gayapuri.
Gaya formed a part of the district of Behar and Ramgarh till 1864. It was given the status of independent district in 1865. Subsequently, in May 1981, Magadh Division was created by the Bihar State Government with the districts of Gaya, Nawada, Aurangabad and Jehanabad. All these districts were at the level of sub-division when the Gaya district was created in 1865. About the origin of the name ‘Gaya' as referred to in Vayu Purana is that Gaya was the name of a demon (Asura) whose body was pious after he performed rigid penance and secured blessings from Vishnu. It was said that the Gayasura's body would continue to be known as Gaya Kshetra.