Bihar, situated in the eastern part of the country, the place that gave birth to Buddhism and Jainism and helped in the growth of Sikhism and Hinduism, has a past that is unmatched anywhere in the world. It was the center of first republic in the world at Vaishali. The city of Patliputra was largest and grandest in the world at the height of its glory. To Bihar's north is the Kingdom of Nepal. On its other three sides Bihar is surrounded by the Indian states of Uttar Pradesh to the west, Jharkhand to the south and West Bengal to the east. Patna is the capital of Bihar. Bihar was called Magadha in ancient times. Its capital Patna, then known as Pataliputra, was the center of the Mauryan empire, which dominated the Indian subcontinent from 325 BC to 185 BC. Emperor Ashoka was the most famous ruler of this dynasty. Bihar remained an important place of power, culture and education during the next one thousand years. The Vikramshila and Nalanda Universities, were among the oldest and best centres of education in ancient India but got destroyed by wars in the medieval period.
Best Time To Visit in Bihar
The best time to visit Bihar is from October to March.
The climate of the state is tropical with hot summers and cold winters. Monsoon brings medium to high rainfall and floods several areas in north Bihar. Humidity levels remain high in north and central Bihar throughout the summer and monsoon season, making them quite uncomfortable.
Places of Tourist Interest
Bodhgaya : Bodhgaya is the place where the Prince Siddharth attained the supreme enlightenment and became 'The Buddha', the enlightened one. This the place where the saga of Buddha began and Buddhism was born here under the Peepal Tree. Bodhgaya has naturally developed into the most sacred spot for Buddhists from all over the world, especially the affluent south East Asia. It is 13 km. from Gaya town. Apart from a Budhist pilgrimage destination, Gaya is also an important Centre of Hindu Pilgrimage where people go to pray for the salvation of their ancestors.
Nalanda : Nalanda has a very ancient history. Lord Vardhamana Mahavir and Lord Buddha frequently visited it in the 6th century BC. During his sojourns, the Lord Buddha found this place prosperous, swelling, teeming with population and containing mango-groves. It is also supposed to be the birthplace of Sariputra, one of the Chief disciples of the Lord Buddha. Nalanda, where ruins of the great ancient university have been excavated, is situated at a distance of 90 km. south east of Patna by road. It falls on way to Rajgir. It is also linked by rail with Patna, Rajgir and Bakhtiyarpur (on Delhi-Howrah main track). The great stupa flanked by flights of steps and terraces, votive stupas and beautiful sculpture give the present day tourists a glimpse of the past glory that once was Nalanda. Many of the stupas were two or even three times built one over the other on the same spot. A row of monastery sites lies from south to north. By and large all of them are of the same pattern. But most important of them is site no.1, entrance of which lies in the west wall through a large portico of which the roof rested on pillars.
Patna : Patna, the capital of the State of Bihar, is an important business centre of eastern India. More significantly, it is a gateway to the Buddhist and Jain pilgrim centres of Vaishali, Rajgir, Nalanda, Bodhgaya and Pawapuri. Beneath the din and bustle of Patna, the capital of Bihar state, has a fascinating past. Some of the places of tourist attraction are Gol Ghar , Museum, Harmandirji, Khuda Baksh Oriental Library, Kumhrar, Martyrs Memorial, Jalan Museum, Pathar Ki Masjid, Agam Kuan, Biological Park, Bihar Institute of Handicrafts and Designs, Birla Mandir, Nawab Shahid-Ka-Maqbara, Pachim Darwaza and Padri-Ki-Haveli
Rajgir : Rajgir is south of Nalanda and sacred to the memory of the founder of both Buddhism and Jainism. Lord Buddha spent many months of retreat during the rainy season here, and used to meditate and preach on Griddhkuta, the 'Hill of the Vultures'. Lord Mahavir spent fourteen years of his life at Rajgir and Nalanda. It was in Rajgriha that Lord Buddha delivered some of his famous sermons and converted king Bimbisara of the Magasha Kingdom and countless others to his creed. Rajgir is located in a verdant valley surrounded by rocky hills. An aerial ropeway provides the link with a hilltop stupa "Peace Pagoda" built by the Japanese. On one of the hills in the cave of Saptparni, was held the first Buddhist Council. The Saptparni cave is also the source of the Rajgir Hot Water Springs that have curative properties and are sacred to the Hindus.
HOW TO REACH
BY AIR -Bihar has two airports at Patna and Ranchi connected to Delhi, Mumbai, Lucknow, Calcutta, as well as Kathmandu, the capital of Nepal. Indian Airlines and Sahara Airways have direct flights between Patna and Delhi.
BY RAIL - The state has a well-developed railway network with almost all the major and minor places connected through good trains. Major railway stations like Patna, Dhanbad, Muzaffarpur, Gaya, and Ranchi are connected to all the major cities of India by regular trains.
BY ROAD - There is good network of roads connecting all the major parts of the state with Patna, the state capital. National Highways like 2, 23, 28, 30, 31, and 33 connect the state to places all over India. The distance of some of the major places in the state from Patna are Sonepur 25 km, Vaishali 55 km, Nalanda 90 km, Gaya 97 km, Bodhgaya 110 km, and Ranchi 289 km.