Bihar is a state in eastern India. It is the 12th largest state in terms of geographical size at 38,405 sq mi (99,300km) and 3rd largest by population. Close to 85% of the population lives in villages. Bihar lies mid-way between the humid West Bengal in the east and the sub humid Uttar Pradesh in the west which provides it with a transitional position in respect of climate, economy and culture. It is bounded by the country of Nepal to the north and by Jharkhand to the south. The Bihar plain is divided into two parts by the river Ganges which flows through the middle from west to east. Bihar has notified forest area of 6,764.14 km, which is 6.8% of its geographical area. Hindi and Urdu are the official languages of the state, whilst the majority of the people speak one of these languages - Angika, Bhojpuri, Magadhi, Maithili, and Bajjika.

Bihar is one of the oldest inhabited places in the world, with a history spanning 3,000 years. The rich culture and heritage of Bihar is evident from the innumerable ancient monuments spread throughout the state. Bihar is visited by scores of tourists from all over the world, with around 6,080,072 (6.8 million) tourists visiting Bihar every year.

In earlier days, tourism in the region was purely based educational tourism, as Bihar was home of some prominent ancient universities like Nalanda University & Vikrama University.

Bihar is one of the most sacred places for various religions like Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, Sikhism and Islam.



Holding extreme religious importance to the Buddhists, Bodhgaya lies13 km south of Gaya, beside the river Phalgu. It was here, that the Lord Buddha sat under the Banyan tree and attained enlightenment, and a descendant of that original tree still flourishes there today. Bodhgaya is small and quiet town, which is the most important of all the Buddhist sites in the world. The Maha Bodhi temple of Bodh Gaya is one of the important places of worship for the Buddhists. Apart from being a vital Buddhist centre, it is also a significant archaeological site. Devout Buddhists and tourists from all over the world visit Bodhgaya, to study Buddhism and the art of meditation, or to simply absorb the aura of solemn splendor that surrounds the place.

Places of Interest:
Bodhi Tree: Towards the West of the Maha Bodhi temple, is the tree where Gautam Buddha did his meditation and attained enlightenment.

Bodhi Sarovar: Before going in for meditation, Buddha took bath in this pond. This pond is situated towards the west of Bodhi temple. The pond is situated in a very attractive place and is worth visiting.

Deo : 20 km from Gaya is located the Sun temple of Deo. In fact, this place is famous for the 'Chhat' festival, which is held in the month of October-November.

Chankamana: Towards North of the Bodhi Temple, is a platform with foot impressions of Buddha. Apart from these ponds and platforms, there are many temples built by the people of various nations like the Tibet temple, the Japanese, the Thai, the Lankan and the Bhutan temple. These temples are also a major attraction for the tourists and devotees, who visit Bodh Gaya.

Dungeswari : The place is famous for the caves where Buddha had meditated for some time. It was in these caves that he concluded that the ultimate knowledge can not be attained through mortification of the flesh. These caves are 12 km from the main town of Bodh Gaya.

Barabar Caves: 57 Km from Gaya are some earliest carved out Buddhist caves. The interior of these caves is chiseled to a wonderful polish. The carvings in the caves reflect the skill with which these caves are carved out. These caves were built some where in the 3rd century and are fine examples of the skill, which the Indian mason had attained at that time. These caves are believed to be of Mauryan period and considered to be the origin of Indian cave architecture.

Rajgir: Just 15 km from Nalanda is located the complex of temples and monasteries. The place is called Rajgir. It is one of the most important tourist places in India. Being located in a valley, Rajgir is a very scenic place.

Patna, once called Patliputra, capital of the state Bihar, is among the world's oldest capital cities, with an unbroken history of many centuries as an imperial metropolis. Ancient Patliputra, discovered through arduous excavations, was situated on the River Son. Founded by Ajatashatru, King of Magadha, in the 5th century B.C., the city dominated the whole of North India in the fourth and third centuries B.C. When the British took over Patna, they created Bankipore, on the outskirts of the old city with its bustling bazaars and narrow streets.

Bankipore today remains the central part of Patna with hotels and shopping centres, built around the Gandhi Maidan, a vast open space where Mahatma Gandhi conducted prayer meetings. Patna is sprawled along the Ganga, the river playing an important role in the city's religious, social and economic life.

Places of Interest
Kumrahar - site of the ancient city of Patliputra, excavations have revealed relics of four continuous periods from 600 B.C. to 600 A.D. The area was once known as Pataligram and legend has it the once when the Buddha was passing through, he predicted that a great city would rise in this place, 'but it shall be in danger of fire, flood and internal feud'. There is little to see in Kumrahar - some walls, vestiges of houses and palaces, the stumps of 80 pillars that once upheld a vast hall during the Mauryan period.

Sadaqat Ashram - Headquarters of the Bihar Vidyapeeth, this ashram saw the birth of the struggle for India's Independence in Bihar. India's first president, Dr. Rajendra Prasad, lived here.
Martyr's Memorial - Not far from the Gilghar, the facing the Old Secretariat buildings, stands this modern sculpture of seven brave young men, who sacrificed their lives in the struggle for independence. Patna Museum - Standing in its own gardens, the

Patna Museum is a charming old red brick and yellow plaster building. At its entrance, stands a cannon of First World War vintage framed, at a little distance, by a Ist century carved doorway. Inside, an extraordinarily rich collection of Mauryan statuary, Buddhist sculptures, terracotta artefacts, enthrall the visitior.

Pathar ki Masjid - Divided by a low wall from the Harminder Sahib is this beautiful small mosque, built by Parwez Shah, son of the Mughal Emperor, Jehangir.

Sher Shah Masjid - Standing at a busy cross road, this mosque is a splendid example of Afghan architecture. Built in 1545 by Sher Shah Suri to commemorate his reign, the heavy dome dominates the city's skyline.

Sanjay Gandhi Biological Park - A beautiful open system zoo with a large collection of animals and a splended botanical park.

Jalan Museum - A stately home built on the site of Sher Shah's fort in the Old city, the Jalan Museum houses a fascinating collection of jade, Chinese paintings, Mughal glass and filigree objects. But as this is a private collection, prior permission must be obtained to enter the house.

Harmandir Sahib - Also known as Patna Sahib, this huge gurudwara consecrates the place where Guru Gobind Singh, tenth guru of the Sikhs, was born. Originally built by Maharaja Ranjit Singh, of Punjab, the shrine was later enlarged.

Maner - 29 km from Patna, sacred to the memory of the Sufi Saint, Maneri who lived here in the 13th century. On important feast days, streams of Muslim pilgrims visit the Bari Dargah, cenotaph of the saint, and also the smaller tomb where his disciple, Shah Daulat is buried.

Sonepur - Situated 22 km from Patna, to reach Sonepur the visitor can go by surface over the Ganga Bridge. Through the year a tiny, sleepy village, Sonepur comes alive in November when it hosts India's largest animal fair.

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