The fertile land of Bihar has a rich and very ancient history which even goes back to the very dawn of the human civilizations. Throughout the ages and civilizations it was remained a ground which gave birth to many great men who spread the massages of love, peace, brotherhood and humanity throughout the length and breadth of the globe. The earliest history of Bihar region can be traced in Hindu epic of Ramayana. The then Mithila was the birth place of Sita, wife of Lord Ram. As far as ancient history is concerned Bihar’s journey started from the post Vedic age when there were number of Mahajanapadas or republics flourished in Bihar like Vaisali, Magadha and Videha. The first kingdom in Bihar was established by Bimbisara and his son Ajatshatru.
The great spiritual way of Buddhism originated and thrived in ancient Bihar, as Buddha attained his enlightenment in Bodh gaya. Therefore the region is full of remains of the monasteries known as Stupa. Jain leader Mahavira also belonged to this region and attained his Nirvana at Pawapuri. Among Hindu religious places Bihar has one of the most prominent pilgrimages at Gaya for imparting offerings to ancestors. Ramayana and Mahabharata, the grand epics of India which are still extremely popular and connected to Hindu religion have numerous tales associated with various places in Bihar. The author of Ramayana, Valmiki also belonged to this region.
Which is the best time to visit Bihar?
Winter season is the best time to visit Bihar. During winter season, the temperature ranges between 8°C to 10°C. The pleasing and cool weather during this time is perfect for sightseeing around the different attractions of Bihar.
Best Places to Visit In Bihar
Prospering along the southern banks of river Ganges and set in the backdrop of a glorious historical past, Patna boasts of a dominating presence in history and enjoys the distinction of being one of the oldest cities in the world. In addition to being one of the major and most popular tourist destinations in India, this capital city of Bihar also holds significant religious and spiritual importance as it is a gateway to pilgrimage sites of Hindus, Sikhs, Jains and Buddhists.
Originally called as Pataliputra, Patna is currently a hot-bed for the culminating political fortunes. One of the oldest continuously inhabited places in the world, it is the quintessential North Indian town – West of the city lies the area called Bankipur, while towards the southwest is the new area with wide roads and swanky buildings. The cultural heritage of Bihar is reflected in the many monuments housed in Patna, the most famous ones being Patna Sahib Gurudwara, Patna Planetarium, the Highcourt, Golghar, Secretariat Building and Padri ki Haveli among numerous other attractions. Typical of an Indian city, the riverside city of Patna is also known for some palatable dishes – litti chokha being the king of all!
The original name of Patna was Pataliputra or Patalipattan and its history makes a start from the century 600 B.C. The name Patna has undergone many changes at its earliest stages like Pataligram, Kusumpur, Patliputra, Azimabad etc., ultimately terminating to the present one.
Bodh Gaya is a Buddhist pilgrimage site in Gaya District of Bihar. Famous for the Mahabodhi Temple, It was here under the Bodhi tree that Gautama Buddha attained enlightenment.
It is now one of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites, and a lot of foreign countries, including Japan and China, have helped the Indian government in building facilities for the Buddhist pilgrims. The place is bustling with pilgrims all through the year from India and abroad who come to pay their homage in monasteries, temples and remnants of Bodhi Tree.
Located near the river Neranjana, Bodh Gaya was earlier known as Uruwela. It was also known as Sambodhi, Vajrasana or Mahabodhi until the 18th century CE. It is one of the four important Buddhist sites that include: Kushinagar, Lumbini and Sarnath.
Bodhgaya is one of the most important and sacred Buddhist pilgrimage center in the world. It was here under a banyan tree, the Bodhi Tree, Gautama attained supreme knowledge to become Buddha,the Enlightened One.
The most popular Mahavihara of the ancient times, a significant Buddhist seat of academic excellence and a modest pilgrim center, all wrapped in a wisp of spirituality, Nalanda continues to be an equally enriching location in the present. It offers vibrant substance of spirituality, history, culture, architecture, and tourism.
This city houses one of the world’s oldest and finest residential universities which itself was an architectural masterpiece. Although in ruins, the entire complex presents a pretty picture and is flocked by tourists day in and day out. It has “viharas” or monasteries to the east and “chaiyas” or temples to the west. In addition to this, the complex houses a charming little museum, which has a collection of several of original Buddhist stupas, Hindu and Buddhist bronzes, coins, terracotta jars, a sample of burnt rice etc. The district is believed to be a cradle of religions. Apart from Buddhism, it is an important center for Jainism, Hinduism, and Sufism as well. Considering the rich heritage and the historical importance, it is a hot tourist destination.
The highly formalized methods of Vedic learning helped inspire the establishment of large teaching institutions such as Taxila, Nalanda, and Vikramashila which are often characterised as India’s early universities. Nalanda flourished under the patronage of the Gupta Empire in the 5th and 6th centuries and later under Harsha, the emperor of Kannauj.The liberal cultural traditions inherited from the Gupta age resulted in a period of growth and prosperity until the ninth century
An ancient city, Madhubani in Bihar is known for the richness in art and culture that the district strives for. Mentioned in the Ramayana, the city is known for the world popular Madhubani paintings whose origin lie here.
Madhubani emerged from the Darbhanga district of Bihar in 1972 during the reshuffling of territorial boundaries. This small district is slowly growing as a popular tourist destination among art enthusiasts coming here for Madhubani paintings. With Nepal on the north, Darbhanga to the south, Sitamarhi and Supaul on either side, Madhubani is also an important commercial town in the Madhubani district. The town has multiple temples which are the main attraction points of the town for the locals. However, the town is not very tourist-friendly, and there isn’t much to do if you are thinking of a sightseeing tour.
Madhubani painting/Mithila painting was traditionally created by the women of various communities in Mithila region of India and Nepal. It is originated from Madhubani district of Mithila region of Bihar, and , it is popularly called Mithila painting or Madhubani painting. Madhubani is also a major export centre of these paintings.The painting was traditionally done on freshly plastered mud walls and floors of huts, but now they are also done on cloth, handmade paper and canvas.