Bihar's antiquity is evident from its name, which is derived from
"VIHARA" (monastery). It is indeed a land of monasteries.
Hindu, Buddhist, Jain, Muslim and Sikh shrines abound in this ancient
land where India's first major empires rose and fell. Where the
ruins of the worlds' earliest university slumbers in the void of
time, while modern day giant steel complexes spew fire all the year
round. Forty percent of India's mineral wealth lies buried in its
boosom. The passage of Ganga, flowing wide and deep enrich the plains
of Bihar before distributing in Bengal's deltoid zone.
Among all Indian states, Bihar is the one most intimately linked
to the Buddhas life, resulting in a trail of pilgrimages which
have come to be known as the Buddhist circuit. The Buddhist trail
begins at the capital city, Patna, where a noteworthy museum contains
a collection of Hindu and Buddhist sculptures.
The Khuda Baksh Oriental Library has rare Muslim manuscripts including
some from the University of Cordoba in Spain. 40 km away, Vaishali,
was the site for the second Buddhist Council is the presence of
ruins testify. 90 km south of Patna is Nalanda which translates
as the place that confers the lotus (of spiritual knowledge).
A monastic university flourished here from the 5th to the 11th century.
It is said to have contained nine million books, with 2,000 teachers
to impart knowledge to 10,000 students who came from all over the
Buddhist world. Lord Buddha himself taught here and Hieun Tsang,
the 7th century Chinese traveler, was a student. Ongoing excavations
have uncovered temples, monasteries and lecture halls. Rajgir, the
royal palace, 12 km south, was the venue for the first Buddhist
The Buddha spent five years at Rajgir after having attained enlightenment,
and many of the remains at Rajgir commemorate various incidents,
the hill of Gridhrakuta being perhaps the most important, as this
is where the Buddha delivered most of his sermons. Bodhgaya is the
spot where Lord Buddha attained enlightenment, with the Mahabodhi
Temple marking the precise location. Bihars Buddhist circuit
has modest back-up facilities by way of accommodation, international
dining and surface transport.
Magadh rose to glory again during the Guptas(4th and 5th centuries
AD) followed by the Palas of Bangal, who ruled until 1197. Muslim
rule, which lasted from the 12th to 17th century, has left an indelible
mark on Bihar. The British acquired Bihar in 1764 in the Battle
of Buxar and ruled until India's Independence 1947. In its early
history, from the 6th century BC to 5th century AD, the region was
repeatedly the coveted seat of major empires. Ajatshatru, second
in the line of the Magadh kings, ruled from Rajgir. The 4th century
BC saw the rise of the Maurya dynasty to which Ashoka belonged.
This landlocked state is surrounded by Nepal, Bengal, Orissa, Madhya
Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and comprises four cultural regions-Bhojpur,
Mithila, Magadha and Chotanagpur. Rivers Kosi and Gandak from the
north and Sone from the south join the Ganga. River Damodar flows
through the picturesque Chotanagpur plateau and its valley is the
Rohr of India. In the fertile plains, rice, sugarcane, oilseeds,
gram, maize, jute, barley and wheat are cultivated. Under the soil,
Bihar has either ruins or minerals.
Bihar - Information on Fairs & Festivals, Wildlife, Excursion,
Adventure, Weather, Travel, Tourism, tours and Major Cities of Bihar