Places to visit in BIHAR

| Introduction Bihar, known as the Land of Nirvana, lies along the fertile eastern Gangetic Plains in North India. The capital city, Patna is situated on the banks of the Ganga. The state got its name from the Sanskrit word Vihara. Bihar is the ninth largest state of India in terms of area and the second largest in population. This is a land of many religions, and the birthplace of two great theologies – Buddhism and Jainism. As a place of pilgrimage for centuries, Bihar has some magnificent monuments, standing testimony to Hindu and Mughal architecture. The holy river Ganga flows through the state.

y|| History

It is in Bihar, where the first experiments in both forms of governance – imperial and democratic-were initiated in the 6th century B.C. The predominant Mauryan Empire, brought the whole of India under its control, except for a small strip in South India. While Pataliputra was the first imperial city of India, Vaishali became the centre of attraction as the first democratic government of the world. In the 3rd century BC, the state under Emperor Ashoka of the Mauryan dynasty, saw the introduction of the art of writing in the form of royal edicts. These Edicts of Ashoka represent the first tangible evidence of Buddhism. Buddha began his meditation and attained enlightenment in Bodh Gaya. His missionary activities as well as the first three general assemblies of the Buddhist monks

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that allowed Buddhism to take a final shape, wereall held in Bihar.

During the British rule in India, Bihar was a part of the Bengal Presidency and was governed from Calcutta. Later it was separated from the presidency in 1912. When India got independence in August 1947, Bihar was constituted with the same geographic boundary. And, during the linguistic reorganisation of Indian states in 1956, the south-east area of Bihar known as Purulia, was bifurcated and added to West Bengal. In the year 2000, another bifurcation of Bihar, marked the birth of Jharkhand.

Geography Located in the eastern part of the country, Bihar lies mid-way between humid West Bengal in the east and sub-humid Uttar Pradesh in the west. In this landlocked state, the nearest outlet to the sea is the port of Kolkata. The Ganga flows through the middle of the Bihar plains from west to east and divides it into two halves.

 

The north Gangetic Plain consists of a flat alluvial region, and are prone to floods. The Kosi River was earlier referred to as the ‘Sorrow of Bihar,’ before the construction of artificial embankments. Bihar lies in the notorious Himalayan earthquake zone. The earthquakes of 1934 and 1988 caused extensive damages here.

Major rivers:             Budhi Gandak, Bagmati,

Ganga, Kamla-Balan, Mahananda, Saryu (Ghaghra) and Gandak.

Climate Being at a greater distance from the sea, Bihar enjoys a continental monsoon climate. The Himalayan mountains in the north affect the distribution of monsoon rainfall in Bihar. The cold season in Bihar is between December and February. Summer lasts from March to May. The average annual rainfall is 1200 mm.

Flora and Fauna: Bihar’s moist deciduous forests can be found in the sub-Himalayan foothills of Someshwar and the Dun ranges in Champaran. These forests have trees like Semal, Khair, Shisham, Cedrela Toona, and Shorea robust (sal). Bihar has many wildlife sanctuaries and reserves that forms a natural habitat for many wildlife species including sambar, gaur, elephant, tiger and the Indian wolf.

Festivals in Bihar India has had a tradition of festivals from time immemorial. Fairs and Festivals are the mirrors that reflect the tradition and culture of a region, and Bihar as a part of this ancient land is no exception.

Chatth Puja: Although most civilisations worshipped the ‘sun god,’ the worship in

 

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Bihar is unique. Chatth Puja is the only occasion where the setting sun is worshipped. The people of Bihar have immense faith in this festival. It is celebrated twice (March and November) a year. People start maintaining purity a month before this 4-day festival.

Sama-Chakeva: The Sama-Chakeva festival is associated with the migration of birds from the Himalayas towards the plains. This festival is especially celebrated in Mithila. Mithilanchal dedicates this festival to the celebration of the brother-sister relationship. Various rituals are performed and the festival merrily ends with the ‘vidai’ of sama and with a wish that these birds return the next year. Ramnavami This popular festival on the 9th day of Hindu month Chaitra (April), marks the birthday of Lord Rama and is celebrated in all parts of the country. Observing fasts and offering prayers in houses and temples is a part of this festival.

Makar Sankranti: This festival marks the beginning of summer. People believe that from this day on, the days become longer and the mercury will rise. Every year it is observed on the 14th of January.

Bihula: Bihula is one of the important festivals of eastern Bihar especially famous in the Bhagalpur district. There are many myths about this festival. People offer prayers to please Goddess Mansa.

Madhushravani: This festival is celebrated all over Mithilanchal with muchenthusiasm.lt is celebrated in the month of Sawan (Hindu calendar), which falls around August. It teaches the people how to intertwine religion and traditions in everyday life.

Besides, many other festivals including Basant Panchami, Shivratri, Raksha Bandhan, Holi, Durga Puja, Deepavali, Id, Bakrid, and Christmas are celebrated with the same level of enthusiasm as in other parts of the country.

Sffj Tourist Spots

Hill Stations: Gridhakuta, Ramshila Hill, Pratshila Hill, Pragbodhi, Gurpa Peak and Brahmajuni Hill.

 

Museums: Vaishali Museum, Nalanda Museum and Patna Museum. Pilgrim Centres: Bodh Gaya, Vaishali, Bisram and Masar.

Wildlife/Bird Sanctuaries: Sonitpur National Park, Dibru Saikhowa National Park and Orang National Park.

^ PATNA

Patna is one of the oldest inhabited places in the world and is the state capital. The city, formerly known as Pataliputra is located on the south bank of Ganges. Patna was once a powerful city. Buddha’s prophecy that a great city would arise there became true with the reign of Emperors Chandragupta Maurya and Ashoka. It has only a handful of worthwhile sights, but undisputedly, it is a major transport hub and is an important access point for visiting the Buddhist sites of Vaishali, Kesariya and Rajgir.

Patna is visited by many tourists round the year. There are ancient monuments dotted all over the town standing testimony to its glorious past. Patna is also an important stopover for pilgrims as it is home to many holy places like the Hanuman Mandir, Takht Shri Harmandir Saheb and Begum Hajjam’s Mosque.

How to get there

>»«£- By Air: The airport is in Patna. Being the capital city, Patna has excellent air connection to many important Indian cities like Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata.

By Rail: Patna is a key railway station in the Eastern Railway division. It is connected to all important places like Kolkata, Delhi, Varanasi, Siliguri (New Jalpaiguri), Bangalore and Chennai.

{ftbf By Road: An extensive road network links Patna to major cities and tourist destinations within Bihar and neighbouring states. Bodhgaya, Rajgir, Ranchi, Siliguri are conveniently connected by road to Patna.

Places of interest Hanuman Mandir: This is one of the most revered temples of Patna and is located right in front of the Patna Junction. It is a common sight to see devotees standing in long queues to offer prayers.

Kumhrar: This archaeologically important place is known for its impressive artifacts and ruins dating back to Mauryan times. The ruins found here include a huge pillared assembly hall, a Buddhist monastery, parts of Anand Bihar, clay figures and wooden beams. Takht Shri Harmandir Saheb: This is one of the most revered places for Sikhs and was constructed by the ruler of Punjab, Maharaja Ranjit Singh. It is the birthplace of Guru Gobind Singh and is also popularly known as Takht Shri Patna Sahib.’

Golghar: This granary with a stunning beehive structure was built for storing grains to be used during times of scarcity. The foundation of the building is 125 meters in width and the walls are 3.6 meters thick. Tourists can enjoy a spectacular glimpse of the town and the Ganga from its top and there are stairs outside the building.

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