Bihar – The Silk City of India

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80-foot Gautam Buddha, Bodh Gaya, Bihar
80-foot Gautam Buddha, Bodh Gaya, Bihar

Explore the charismatic state of India which lies along the eastern Gangetic Plains in North India – Bihar. Encompassing Buddhist Pilgrimage sites, Bihar becomes one of the famous destinations on Indian map. A land that has been the passing of many dynasties of ancient India, Bihar has also been the birthplace of two treat theologies -Buddhism and Jainism. Explore the land, people, festivals, crafts, flora which epitomes diversity of the state, and enchant as well as thrill tourists. Travel to Bihar and experience the magic beheld in the state.

Bihar, today, is a quaint interface of the old and new. The state boasts of an incredible range of mineral resources. The coal belt in Bihar is the mainstay of thermal energy in India. Bihar’s modern visage sports some of India’s largest steel and mining industries. Like in all ancient civilizations, the earliest human settlements in India sprung up around its magnificent rivers. Few rivers of the world have molded the culture, economy, and personality of the people dwelling on their banks as the river Ganga has. Cutting straight across Bihar from west to east, the bounteous Ganga nurtured a veritable fountainhead of political and cultural civilizations, on its shores, down the millennia.

Getting There :

  1. By Air: Bihar has two airports – Patna, a domestic airport connected directly to Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Lucknow, and Ranchi and Gaya airport, a small international airport connected by Indian airlines to Kolkata and Bangkok.
  2. By Rail: Bihar is very well connected by rail lines to the rest of India. Most of the towns are interconnected and also directly connected to Kolkata, Delhi, and Mumbai. Patna and Gaya are the best-connected towns.

Fast Facts :

  1. Area: 173,877 sq km
  2. Religion: Hinduism (82.42%), Islam (14.80%), Others (2.78%)
  3. Capital: Patna
  4. Languages: Hindi, Maithili, Bhojpuri
  5. Best time to visit: October to March
  6. Major Cities: Bodh Gaya, Nalanda, Pawapuri, Rajgir, Vaishali, Patna, Gaya, Takht Sri Patna Sahib.

Tourist Attractions :

Bodhgaya 

Bodhgaya is where the Buddha attained enlightenment and gave the world a great religion like Buddhism. Gautama Buddha is said to have obtained Enlightenment under what became known as the Bodhi Tree. It is very near the capital city of Patna. At a distance of around 125 km, one can easily drive down from Patna. The Mahabodhi Temple is where Buddha attained enlightenment. It has a Peepal tree that is said to have been grown from the branches of the famed tree. The townhouses an Archaeological Museum and monasteries built by people of many Buddhist countries.

Rajgir 

Rajgir, meaning “The Royal Palace“, (Raja Griha) lays 90 km South of Patna, and it was the capital of Magadha Kingdom. Rajgir is a site of great sanctity and significance for Buddhists. The Gridhakuta Hill, in Rajgir, was the seat from where Buddha delivered many of his sermons. It was here that the teachings of Buddha were recorded in writing for the first time in the First Buddhist Council held at Rajgir after the demise of Lord Buddha. Many sites of historical and archaeological significance surround the Holy city of Rajgir. Bimbisara Jail reminds one of the devoted Mauryan King Bimbisara being a Buddhist, was imprisoned by his son Ajatashtru at this place where he spent his last days. From here he could see Buddha climbing up the Gridhakuta Hill to do his meditation.

Gaya 

Gaya is one of the most important pilgrimage places for the Hindus. It is believed that a Hindu will reach heaven if his last rites are offered under the celebrated ‘Akshayabat‘ or immortal banyan tree, standing in the yard of Vishnupad temple. Believed to be built on the footsteps of Vishnu, the grand temple was renovated by Ahalyabai, queen of Indore. Bihar has some of the most sacred Buddhist and Hindu shrines

Vaishali 

It is held that the town derives its name from King Vishal, whose heroic deeds are narrated in the Hindu epic Ramayana. However, history records that around the time Pataliputra was the center of political activity in the Gangetic plains, Vaishali came into existence as the center of the Ganga, it was the seat of the Republic of Vajji. Vaishali is credited with being the World’s First Republic to have a duly elected assembly of representatives and efficient administration.

Nalanda 

Once a famous Buddhist university, Nalanda came into prominence about the 5th century A.D. and was a great center of learning for about 700 years. There is an array of
monasteries in the east and a row of temples on the west. Nearby is a museum which has an interesting collection of Antiquities recovered from the site.

Takht Sri Patna Sahib

Takht Sri Patna Sahib is a Gurdwara (Sikh place of worship) in the neighborhood of Patna Sahib, India. It was built in remembrance of the birthplace of Guru Gobind Singh Ji, the tenth Guru of the Sikhs on 22 December 1666. Patna Sahib, the birthplace of the tenth Sikh Guru, the founder of Khalsa is considered one of the holiest places by Sikhs around the world and is a major tourist attraction mainly among Sikh.

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