Bihar is situated in the eastern part of India with the Himalayan Kingdom of Nepal to its north and the states of Orissa, West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh flanking its sides. It is today home of more than 90 million Indians. The state is endowed with an enviable mineral resources base, has some of the finest industries, is country’s one of the largest producers of fruit and the second largest producer of vegetables. However, this rich state in terms of natural and human resources and the second most populous in the country has been slow to harness its natural and human resources for the development of the state and its people.
In ancient time Bihar was known as Magadha. Its capital Patna, then called Patiliputra, was the capital of the Mauryan Empire which ruled over much of the India-Subcontinent and extended as far as Iran and Afghanistan to the West.
The history of Bihar is lost as the major events and happening were not documented but with the advent of Jain and Buddhist texts documentation of events began. Vaishali, Anga, Rajgriha, Pataliputra, Nalanda, and Mithila are just a few of the places in Bihar that knit the history of ancient India.Vaishali in northern Bihar, the centre of the Lichchavi kingdom is rated as the most ancient and credited as the world’s first republic. It got its aura of sanctity with the birth of Lord Mahavira here. The legends of the courtesan Ambapali’s exquisite beauty added to the glory and charm of Vaishali.During the medieval period, except for the brief twinkle of Sher Shah’s reign that rose from his base in Bihar to the sultanate of Delhi that ruled over the entire country, the province of Bihar rarely enjoyed the status of an independent state; rather it swayed with the fortunes of Delhi, Jaunpur and Bengal. Various sultans of Delhi and later the Mughals, as well as emperors and princes, criss-crossed Bihar in order to crush the rebellions in distant Bengal.After the coming of the British to India, Bihar again played an important role in deciding the future course of the country and Buxar become the place where the final battle for supremacy in north India was fought between the East India Company and the combined forces of the Mughals, and Nawabs of Bengal and Awadh in 1764.Bihar was part of the Bengal presidency till 1911, when a separate province comprising Bihar and Orissa was created. In 1936, Bihar was made an independent province.Apart from the documented history, Bihar finds mention in the legends and tales related to the Ramayana. It is believe that the Goddess Sita, the wife of Lord Ram, was born in Mithila to King Janak, the ruler of the region.
Fairs & Festivals
Every state has different festivals according to their region or culture. Though Bihar celebrates almost all the north India festivals, it has a festival that is unique to the state. Chhath is the most important festival in Bihar, celebrated six days after Diwali, when people from all castes can stand together in the river for the worship the god sun.Another unique ritual confined to Bihar is the Pind-daan performed by the Gayawals in Gaya. Though the pind-daan can be performed almost any time of the year, people prefer to do it during Pitrapaksha, which is the period just before Navratri.Sonepur is the venue of a grand cattle fair held in the month of November. The fair is ranked as the worlds largest and it is not simply confined to animal trade but numerous shows and performances are also a part of the fair.
Patna is a city abounding in the relics of the bygone ages. Takht Harmandir Saheb is of religious important to the Sikhs and is believed to be the place of birth of the last Sikh guru, Govind Singh. The Jalan Museum with a rare collection of curios. Sher Shah’s mosque in the heart of the city is a splendid example of Afghan architecture. Among the numerous mosque in Patna, Begum Hajjam’s mosque stand as the oldest.Thirty km from Patna is Maner, a medieval stronghold of the Turks and the site of the shrines of Hazrat Makhdum Yahya Maneri and his son Shafruddin Ahmed Maneri.Rajmahal is a medieval settlement on the eastern fringe of Bihar. It is believed to have been founded by Raja Man Singh, the Rajput general of Emperor Akbar. It was earlier a strategic place for the Bengal sultans who pitched their advance tent here before moving on to any military campaign.
Best time to Visit
The climate of the Bihar is mostly very hot summer and in winter is cold. Monsoon bring medium to high rainfall and floods several areas in north Bihar. Humidity levels remain high in north and central Bihar throughout the summer and monsoon season, making them quite uncomfortable. The best time to visit the state is from October to March.
How to Reach
By Air- Bihar has two airports at Patna and Ranchi connected to Delhi, Mumbai, Lucknow, Calcutta, as well as Kathmandu, the capital of Nepal. Indian Airlines and Sahara Airway have direct flights between Patna and Delhi.
By Rail- the state has a well-developed railway network with almost all the major and minor places connected through good trains. Major railway stations like Patna, Dhanbad, Muzaffarpur, Gaya and Rachi are connected to all the major cities of India by regular trains.
By Road- There is good network of roads connecting all the major parts of the state with Patna, the state capital. National Highways like 2, 23, 28, 30, 31, and 33 connect the state to places all over India. The distance of some of the major places in the state from Patna are Sonepur 25km, Vaishali 55km, Nalanda 90km, Gaya 97km, Bodhgaya 110 km, and Ranchi 289km.