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Bihar

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Travel Guide Asia India Bihar

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Introduction

"Kakolat" the wonderful cold water falls in Bihar, India

© All Rights Reserved Harry668

Bihar is a state in the northeast of India and is the third most populous state in the country.

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History

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.

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Geography

Bihar covers almost 100,000 square kilometres and borders Nepal to the north and Jharkhand to the south.

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Cities

  • Patna - the capital and largest city
  • Mujjaffarpur - 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

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Sights and Activities

Patna

  • 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
  • Taramandal - 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

Rajgir

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

  • 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.

Pavapuri

The final resting place of Lord Mahavira.

Bodhgaya

Bodhgaya is a small town near Gaya.

  • 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

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Events and Festivals

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.

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Weather

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.

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Getting There

By Plane

Lok Nayak Jayaprakash Airport (PAT) near Patna offers flights to/from [[Pune (< ERROR: the link title is too long!), 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.

By Train

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

By Car

Major National Highways which connect Bihar with other areas in the country are as the NH 2, 19, 28, 30 and 31.

By Bus

Deluxe bus services are available to/from Ranchi, Jamshedpur, Kolkata, Siliguri and the Nepalese border, among other places.

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Contributors

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Bihar Travel Helpers

  • PuruS

    I am a native of Bihar who has traveled extensively through the state. Let me know if you have any questions about traveling to Bihar

    Ask PuruS a question about Bihar

This is version 34. Last edited at 9:46 on Sep 30, 13 by Utrecht. 5 articles link to this page.

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