India is a land of ancient civilization. It has shown the way to the world in terms of intelligence, spiritualism, religion and depth of thought. And within this great land, there are some regions which have flowered even more in these areas. The state of Bihar is one such example. Known as Magadh in the ancient times, Bihar has a rich history. Its then capital, the city of Patliputra, was the centre of the famous Mauryan empire, led by the legendary ruler Ashoka. With such enriched background, Bihar continues to be an important centre of education, political power and cultural developments. Not to mention that Bihar is the place where Lord Buddha attained enlightenment under a Bodhi Tree. Hence a visit to Bihar is an education in culture, history and how a civilization is built. We suggest that you choose this state as your next outing, and we promise you shall experience history and culture like you have never experienced before.
Bihar occupies a place in the eastern part of the country, located between West Bengal and Uttar Pradesh. Spread over an area of almost 95,000 square kilometers, the state is divided into two halves by the sacred river Ganges. The border of the state also touches Nepal and Jharkhand, while the altitude of the state is 173 feet above sea level.
With its diverse and deep historical and cultural associations, Bihar offers a rich collection of tourist attractions spread all over its lands. A few important ones of those are as below.
Patna : The erstwhile Patliputra, this city has seen many a change in terms of culture and development. One of the seats of culture and political action in ancient India, Patna has a history very few places in the country can boast of. It is only natural that the city today offers many places of interest for its tourists. For one, Shershah Masjid is the oldest mosque in India. The architectural wonder was built by the Afghan ruler, Sher Shah in 1545. The Patna Sahib, or Har mandir temple, is known as a great pilgrimage for Sikh Devotees, next only to the world famous Golden Temple of Amritsar. Its spotless white marbles make for an absolutely stunning imagery. Other places offered by Patna include the Sanjay Gandhi zoological park, Golghar and Gandhi Sethu, Asiaâ€™s longest roadway bridge.
Nalanda : The first thing which comes to most minds upon hearing Nalanda is the world famous and ancient center of learning, the great Nalanda University. One can still visit the worldâ€™s oldest university and be awed at the imposing structures. The lofty walls, the great gates, the massive meditation halls, the vast lakes, all combine to create a lost world of mystique and learning. Other important attractions of the great city are the Hiuen Tsang Memorial Hall, the Surya Mandir, the Nalanda museum, and the Nav Nalanda Vihar.
Bodhgaya : This is the city of Bihar which is the stage for one of the significant events of history â€“ Lord Buddha attaining enlightenment. Located on the banks of river Niranjana, this city is the holiest site for followers of Buddhism and a place of great history and culture for even those who are not. Bodhi Tree, which is said to be tree which provided the shade as Lord Buddha underwent the great experience, stands flourishing in this city and attracts hordes of visitors every year. The mahabodhi temple is another attraction which manages to draw many visitors. Other attractions of Bodhgaya are an 80 ft Statue of the Buddha, Lotus Tank, Buddha Kund, Rajayatana, Brahm Yoni, Chinese Temple & Monastery, Burmese Temple and the Buddhist Monastery of Bhutan amongst others.
Patna Museum : A trip to this museum at the capital of Bihar is like taking a walk through the bygone eras of India and its civilizations. With over 50,000 rare art objects, Patna Museum is one of the most extensive museums in the country. We highly recommend this museum during your visit to Bihar. Some of the most memorable articles of this museum are the Holy Relic Casket, which contains the ashes of Lord Buddha and the impressive statue of Yakshani, a character in Hindu Mythology.
Paththar ki Masjid : As its hindi name suggests, this is a mosque which is located on the banks of Ganges in Patna, the capital of Bihar. The historical monument was built by Pervez, the elder brother of Shah Jahan. This Masjid is also known by various names such as Saif Khan's Mosque, Chimni Ghat Mosque and Sangi Masjid.
Sudama Cave : Located in the significant city of Gaya, the cave is famous for its highly polished and remarkable stones and also the highly Egyptian style of its entrance. Itâ€™s name stems from the theory that Sudama, Lord Krishnaâ€™s best friend stayed in the cave. The cave has a very peculiar shape which resembles a beehive hut with double chambered halls and hemispherical roofs. The cave was excavated during the 12th regal year of the great king Ashoka.
Darbhanga : A city which is placed in the northern part of Bihar, Darbhanga is famous for its royal family â€“ The Darbhangas, one of the richest landowners of India during the British Raj. This city is also known as the cultural capital of Bihar with age old traditions and heritage across art, music, dance and literature. However, the city has languished with time and is also one of the poorest areas of the country as per social studies. On the whole, this city in Bihar makes for fascinating study of the society and the changes in it with time.
It is extremely easy and convenient for anyone to reach Bihar and even travel to any part of the state considering its strong connectivity with other parts of the country via the media of air, rail and road linking Bihar to other regions.
By Air: The capital city of Patna boasts of an Airport which is connected to all the major cities of the country. All the major airlines of India such as Jet Airways, Air India and Kingfisher operate their aircrafts between Patna and other places. The city of Gaya has an airport too, also known as the Bodhgaya airport. The airport is connected via international as well as domestic flights.
By Rail: Bihar can be reached using any of the superfast trains such as Shatabdi express and the Rajdhani express. Apart from these, a number of other trains run very regularly connecting the state to other states as well inter connecting the cities within Bihar.
By Road: A network of national and state highways criss cross the land of Bihar and adjoining regions to ensure one can travel with ease to the state and within it. You can use any of the public and private operators to travel on this road network.
With a host of cultural and historical attractions spread over vast geographical lands, you should expect your visit to be full of delight and travel. From marveling at the ancient centers of learning like the Nalanda University, to feeling humbled before the great Bodhi Tree, you can experience a variety of emotions in this land. We suggest you explore the lands with an open mind and you are sure to come back as a rejuvenated soul.
Bihar experiences tropical climatic conditions with the temperatures dropping low during the winters and climbing to scorching levels during the summers. Considering this, the months between October and March are most suitable for a visit to Bihar.
With strong and impactful influences from the Buddhist philosophy and the cultural reminders from the era of Magadh and Patliputra, history is one aspect Bihar abounds in. Considered as one of the greatest centers of learning ever, Bihar has witnessed the golden chapter of Indian History very closely. Maharishi Valmiki, who scripted the great epic Ramayana also lived in Bihar and the state also finds an important place in the same epic. One can imagine the history of the place where the great Maurya empire flourished, a land where the great ruler Ashoka reigned, a state where the intelligent Chanakya made his moves, a region where the great Lord Buddha attained truth. In more modern times also, Bihar played a monumental role during the Indian Struggle for freedom. It was Bihar where Mahatma Gandhi launched the Champaran Satyagraha movement. The peasant movements which originated from Bihar led the freedom struggle and were the most intense centers of unrest during that time. And to underline the continuing contribution to the nation, Bihar gave India its first president in 1950, Dr. Rajendra Prasad.
With tropical climate prevailing in the state of Bihar, the temperatures in the state tend to be towards the extreme ends. Winters extend from November to March, while the summers are experienced from March to June. Monsoons pour in the state from July till September end. The mean temperatures during the winters range between 4 degree Celsius and 20 degree Celsius while the summers experience scorching temperatures in excess of 40 degree Celsius. The months of May and June are also known for creating frequent dust storms in the region.