Capital: Patna Largest city: Patna
Bihar is the 13th largest state of India that has 3000 years of glorious history. In other words, the past of Bihar has been the stronghold of its imminence in the whole of India with vibrant economic activities, cultural exchanges, originating place for Buddhism and of conquest and expansion and sites of learning and scholarships. The land has history unlike anything any other states in India has seen. Bihar has abundance of mineral resources.
Bihar is a state in East India and has an area of 94,163 square kilometers and is the 3rd largest populated state of India. The political map of Bihar would show it being bordered by Uttar Pradesh on its west, Nepal at its north, on the east by Northern part of West Bengal and Jharkhand in the south.
Region where Bihar is situated is among the oldest inhabited places by man on the planet and this is primarily due to the River Ganges that flows through it making both sides of its banks very fertile. Apart from that the state is very rich in sources of natural minerals so essential for the development of industries in the whole country.
Bihar has 85% of population living in its numerous villages where subsistence is mainly agriculture. However, of late apart from other industrial development that has staged a comeback; the government of Bihar has laid out greater emphasis on the development of tourist centers in the State both for domestic and foreign travelers.
Notable parts of Bihar’s History
It is quite a common knowledge among archeologists and scholars that in India Bihar was the center of power for learning and culture in the ancient and classical India. Two prominent ruling dynasties and the most powerful India had ever produced on its soil came from Bihar. These were commonly known as the Magadha Empire which was ruled by the Mauryas and the Guptas dynasties. These dynasties together were very successful in keeping within its fold through conquests and co-operation a sizeable part of South Asia under their firm centralized power.
The state capital nowadays known as Patna has a very ancient history and was earlier known as Pataliputra. Near to Patna were the important centers of learning and these were known as Nalanda and Vikramshila. Archeological studies have revealed that these were established in Bihar in the 5th and 8th centuries.
It was here on this land that Buddha got enlightenment and introduced Buddhism to the whole world. In other words, India became a well known mystic land with untold wealth and was soon to be plundered and attacked by foreign invaders which led to the establishment of the Mughal Empire and later under British colonial rulers.
Climate and Geography
Bihar has a subtropical climate in general and yet is notable for its hot summers and cold winters. The banks of the Ganges River keep the temperature of the towns and cities near to it quite hospitable and support one of the largest population bases in the world. You will also see that most ancient monuments and architectures not too far away from the banks of this flowing river.
The Ganges has several tributaries and the most famous of them are Son, Budhi Gandak, Chandan, Orhani and Phalgu. The climate of the state is also greatly affected by the Himalayas although the latter falls in Nepal. You will also find the Rajagiri Hills in Central Bihar although this may affect the climate only mildly. If you proceed further south then you will come across Chota Nagpur Plateau that lies in the new state of Jharkhand.
The climate of Bihar is quite comfortable for average tourists entering the state from other states while for foreigners it would be better to avoid the extreme heat of the summer. Yet there are good affordable and star hotels and the state has good turnover of tourists as it is estimated that around 24 million tourists visit Bihar every year.
For those whom the climate is very important aspect for taking tours then Bihar’s temperature may range between 0 to 10 degrees C in the cold season while during hot season the mercury may sore to 40 degree C.
Tourist Spots of Ancient Wonder
One of the most important tourist center and that can keep you wondering about the learning culture that was predominant of the region’s past is the Nalanda University. This is a must see place as you will be astonished beyond words that this university was in existence in Bihar in India when the whole world had not even thought of a concept called university.
It was well planned structure with an entrance where they used to conduct what one would call an entrance exam and the most distinguished of the pupils would get a chance to enroll for further studies. There were about 2000 teaches who taught around 10000 student from all parts of the world. It is here that Buddha himself taught and the famous Chinese traveler Hein-Tsang was also a student.
If you have visited Nalanda then the next most important place would be the Bodhi Tree where Buddha got his enlightenment. This place is about 100 kilometers from Patna. You may also visit the Maha Bodhi Temple which is also situated quite close to it.
True, a larger part of Bihar tourism revolve around religious as well as learning centers yet for those who knows the ancient and medieval history of this region then this wouldn’t be a surprise. Hence, while visiting religious centers think that these are not simply religious ones, but are part of a greater understanding and revelation of different cultures that was predominantly sculpted out through religious dogmas and practices.
Hence, no tour to Bihar is complete without touring Machalinda Lake and Griddhakuta Peak. The beauty of the Machalinda Lake is that it is named after the serpent called Sesh Naga or the Snake King Machalinda. It is said that Gautama Buddha during his sixth week of meditation was threatened by a storm and it was this Snake King who protected him by providing shelter with its enormous hood. You will find a sculpted form of the Snake King with its hood open and on its coils resting in meditation Lord Buddha himself. The place is more popularly known as Bodh Gaya.
When you reach Griddhakuta Peak then you will be astonished that the whole rocky peak in its natural formation resembles a gigantic vulture. This is quite a marvel by nature itself and even more fantastic scene is that real vultures from the sky and that too in large numbers descend upon the rocks or fly around it.
The Rajgir Hot springs is yet another wonderful spot for tourists and nestles at the foot of the Vaibhava Hills. These hot springs get their water from Saptadhara which flows just behind the Saptaparni Caves. It is said that the hot water in the springs contain medicinal properties that can cure several ailments. Among these hot springs the Brahmakund spring is the hottest and its temperature may reach up to 450 C. It is established that both Buddha and Mahavira frequently bathed in these pools.
You may then visit Buxar Fort which is something quite different from the usual religious monuments. This fort is situated along the Ganga River and offers excellent views of the surrounding landscape. The next must see monument is the Hein-Tsang Memorial Hall which gives you the details about the lifestyles of the people then and the different kinds of cultures, art and crafts.
You may also see the Patna Museum which contains a lot of artifacts and items and also images and sculptor works. You will be amazed to hear that the museum was constructed in 1917.
Not much frequented tourist places
You may find it quite difficult to locate tourist spots that are not quite frequented in Bihar. However, you may visit the wild life sanctuaries which are quite remote and may need special permission from the forest department. These wild areas are great fun if you are touring in groups and have vast numbers of flora and fauna. Some like Bhimbandhu Wildlife Sanctuary is surrounded by thick human populations around its borders.
You may also locate a few good not much known places in Bihar by putting a query with your agents or online websites. In some place it is always better to travel in groups for safety reasons. The Cyclopean Walls which is around 2500 years old and stretches about 40 kilometers long is a mysterious fortification that you may find as something strange.