"Kakolat" the wonderful cold water falls in Bihar, India
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Bihar is a state in the northeast of India and is the third most populous state in the country.
Ancient Bihar was a centre of power, learning and culture in ancient and classical India. From Magadha arose India's first and greatest empire, the Maurya empire as well as one of the world's most widely adhered-to religions, Buddhism. Magadha empires, notably under the Maurya and Gupta dynasties, unified large parts of South Asia under a central rule. Its capital Patna, earlier known as Pataliputra, was an important centre of Indian civilisation. Close to Patna, Nalanda and Vikramshila centres of learning were established in the 5th and 8th century respectively in Bihar, and are counted amongst the oldest and truly international universities of the time. Bihar has distinction of giving the world its first democracy through Lichchivi (modern days Vaishali) during ancient era.
Bihar covers almost 100,000 square kilometres and borders Nepal to the north and Jharkhand to the south.
- Patna - the capital and largest city
- Muzaffarpur - the second largest city, famous for its Litchis
- Bhagalpur - famous for its silk industry
- Darbhanga - largest city in North Bihar, gateway to the Maithili Culture
- Gaya - an ancient city and an important pilgirmage for Hindus, Jains and Buddhists
Sights and Activities
Kumhrar - Ruins of the Mauryan court of Emperor Ashoka are seen here. Also present is an Ashokan pillar with Mauryan edicts.
Patna Museum - The museum of Patna has a priceless collection of Mauryan and Gupta artifacts, fossils, Tibetan Thanka paintings and Deedarganj Yakhini, one of the most remarkable sculptures in the world
Khudabaksh Library - The Khudabaksh Library has a precious collections of books and manuscripts dating back to centuries
Golghar - A famous landmark of Patna. This dome shaped granary was built in the earkly 18th century to save the state from a famine.
Takth Harmandir Sahib - A revered pilgrimage of Sikhs, this Gurudwara is built at the sight where the 10th Guru of the Sikhs, Guru Govind Singh was born
- Indra Gandhi Planetarium is among one of the most visited tourist sites in Patna and is also considered as one of the largest and best planetariums in Asia
The ancient capital of Magadh. Rajgir has been closely related to Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism and has played host to Lord Buddha and Mahavira, thus has many archeolgical sites related to Buddhism and Jainism.
Japanese World Peace Stupa - Built with Japanese contribution, this stupa at Gridha Kuta is dedicated to World peace. A ropeway leads to the monument.
Gridhakuta - The place is atop a small hill and believed to be a meditating place of Lord Buddha.
Venuvana - A bamboo grove gifted to Lord Buddha by Bimbisara, the then king of Magadh.
Saptaparni Caves - These caves hosted the First Buddhist Council and were used by early Buddhist monks as resting places as well as centers of debates. Also referred as the cave of Magadh emperor Jarasandha.
Bimbisara's jail - Believed to be the jail in which King Ajatshatru had imprisoned his father Bimbisara. From his prison cell, Bimbisara could see Buddha meditating on the Gridhakuta.
Nalanda University - Ruins of the Nalanda university, one of the oldest universities in the world
Nalanda Archaeological Museum - A wide collection of artifacts from the Pala and Gupta periods.
The Mahabodhi Temple and Bodhi Tree - The Bodhi Tree is said to be the successor of the Banyan tree under which Buddha attained knowledge. The Mahabodhi Temple, first built by Ashoka, is built around this tree
Tibetan Temple and Monastary - Tibetan Temple and Monastary
Japanese Monestary - Japanese Monestary
Thai Monestary - Thai Monestary
Events and Festivals
- Holi is quite popular in the Indian sub-continent and is traditionally celebrated on the day after the full moon in the month of Phalguna (early March), according to Hindu calender. Holi is a thanksgiving festival, where people offer prayer to God for good harvest and fertility of the land. Holi is a festival of freedom from social norms and caste inhibitions are shed for a day as people indulge in fun and merry-making. Colors and 'gulal' are showered on the people dressed up for the occasion and the whole community seems to merge into one big family under the guise of colors, without any distinction whatsoever. Children with face smeared with colors run around with 'pichkaris' (big syringes to splash colored water) and play amongst themselves. People exchange good wishes, sweets and gifts. Holi is also marked by vibrant processions which are accompanied by folk songs, dances and drum beating. Parties are also organized where snacks and the traditional milk-based drink “Thandai” is served which is often intoxicated with “Bhang”. Of late, lots of foreigners have started taking interest in this festival and they even enjoy the colors and the intoxicating drink. It is advised to cover your hair with a cap and eyes with sunglasses to avoid the colors splashing the eyes and damaging the hair.
- Republic Day - Republic Day is a national holiday in India every January 26 to commemorate the adoption of the Constitution in 1950 and the declaration of independence in 1930. The capital of New Delhi is the focus of the celebrations, including a flag raising ceremony, wreath laying, 21-gun salute, Presidential speech, and presentation of awards for selflessness and bravery. A massive military parade includes elephants ridden by children who have received national accolades.
- Gandhi Jayanti - Gandhi Jayanti is a national public holiday commemorating the birth of the peaceful activist, Mohandas Gandhi on October 2, 1869. The celebration coincides with the United Nations’ International Day of Non-Violence. In India, Gandhi is remembered through statues, flower and candle offerings, prayers and singing the devotional hymn Raghupati Raghava Raja Ram. The Indian government issues special mint rupees and postage stamps bearing his picture.
- Diwali - Diwali is the five-day festival of lights held in India in late October or early November each year. The widely celebrated Hindu event marks Lord Rama’s victory over the demon Ravan. Homes and streets are decorated with lights, candles and small clay lamps, and new clothes are worn and sweets are exchanged.
- Bihar Diwas - The annual celebration of the creation of the state from the former state of Bengal. Occurs every year on 22nd March.
- Sonepur Fair - World's largest cattle fair which occurs every year in the month of November at Sonepur, Bihar.
November to February is the coolest and driest time of the year, with generally nice and warm weather and sunny conditions. Temperatures at night can drop well below 10 °C though during this time, so take a warm sweater when travelling during this time. From late February onwards temperatures start to rise and March to May is the hot season with rising humidity as well. Temperatures can hit 45 °C during these months. It gets a little less hot from June to October though this is the rainy season, though monsoons don't tend to hit this part of the country as severe as along the coast.
Lok Nayak Jayaprakash Airport (PAT) near Patna offers flights to/from Pune, Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Kolkata, Lucknow and Ranchi.
Gaya Airport (GAY), or Bodhgaya Airport as it is called as well, offers flights to Paro (Bhutan), Yangon, Kolkata, Bangkok and Colombo.
Patna Junction (PNBE) is the largest Railway Station in the state connected with railroute to the major parts of the country. One can also get the connecting trains to the other parts of the state from here
Major National Highways which connect Bihar with other areas in the country are as the NH 2, 19, 28, 30 and 31.
Deluxe bus services are available to/from Ranchi, Jamshedpur, Kolkata, Siliguri and the Nepalese border, among other places.