It was known as Magadh and has been home to great dynasties of the past. The two religions of Buddhism and jainism originated from Bihar. Lord Buddha attained enlightenment in Bodh Gaya and Mahavir was born in Pawapuri. Its capital Patna, earlier known as Pataliputra, was an important center of Indian civilization.
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.
Mahabodhi Temple, a Buddhist shrine and UNESCO World Heritage Site is also situated in Bihar. Mahatma Gandhi Setu, Patna, is the longest river bridge in the world.
Best time to visit Bihar
November to March is the winter months and is the best time to visit. The temp ranges around 8 to 10 degrees at this time. March to June are the summer months whereas March to June are the rainy months.
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The BSTDC (Bihar State Tourism Development Corporation) runs speed boats, hi speed jet skiing, water boat rides in the Gandhi ghat. The 10ft waterball which is oxygen filled and can accomodate 2 people. The ball rolls through the waves and is pinned to one point. This service is available from 9 am to 6 pm daily.
Fishing & Angling
In the Ganga fishing and angling can be done. The endangered dolphins can be seen in the early mornings. The Kosi river has mahseer, some big ones can weigh as much as 60 kgs.
Trekking and Rock climbing
Hire a guide to trek the hills of Bihar. Combine it with visits to the ancient temples and hot water springs around the hills of Rajgir. Rohtas and Gaya alos has rock climbing. Trek the Rohtasgarh fort 1,500ft above and have a view of the plains below.
The main waterfalls are Telharkund and Karkat waterfalls in kaimur. Kakolat falls are 30 kms from Nawada. The Rohtas plateau is also a beautiful place to see.
Madhubani paintings, decorative pieces and widely exported are folk paintings of Mithila (the northern part of Bihar). This art with a tradition going back many centuries, is today an exclusive monopoly of women artists. Being a communal activity girls assist the elders and learn the special skills required to draw and paint this ethnic art.
Earlier Madhubani paintings chiefly depicted mythological themes, religious deities and flora and fauna of the region. However now they incorporate tantric symbolism in the basic design. Amongst commonly features divinities are Krishna, Rama, Vishnu and the femals goddesses like Kali and Durga. These figures are placed centrally and in the background their consorts, mounts, floral motifs etc are placed.
Vastness is also conveyed through juxtaposing figures of human beings, animals and birds with towering forms. The small gaps are filled with birds and flowers. The Madhubani paintings thus depict the artist's understanding of peaceful coexistence of man, bird and beast.
Sonepur cattle fair is organised on the banks of the river Ganga in Saran district in November every year. It is one of the biggest animal fairs in Asia and it is organised for a fortnight. There is trade of cattle, camels, birds, elephants and also cultural performances.
Chhath is dedicated to the sun god and is one of the grandest and most popular festival of Bihar. Celebrated in the month of October-November, the four day puja is done to the Sun godwhich is accompanied by fasting. At least one member fasts for the well being of the entire household.
The rituals of the festival are rigorous and are observed over a period of four days. They include holy bathing, fasting and abstaining from drinking water (Vratta), standing in water for long periods of time, and offering prashad (prayer offerings) and aragh to the setting and rising sun
How to reach Bihar
By Air : Bihar has three operational airports : Lok Nayak Jayaprakash Airport, Patna, Gaya Airport, Gaya and Purnea Airport, Purnea. The Patna airport is connected to Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Lucknow, Bangaluru, Hyderabad, Chennai, Pune, Ranchi and Kathmandu. Airport at Purnea serves two flight a week to Patna & Kolkata. The Gaya Airport is an international airport connected to Colombo, Singapore, Bangkok, Paro and more.
By Rail : Bihar is well-connected by railway lines to the rest of India
By Road : The state has a vast network of National and State highways. East-West corridor goes through the cities of Bihar
The Rohtas Fort is one of the most ancient forts of India built in the 10th century in the Sone valley, in a small town of Rohtas in Bihar. 175 kms from Patna, Sahasram is the near rail head and it takes around two hours from Sasaram to reach the foot of the hill. There is an hours walk to reach the fort. It is a huge one with many secret passages. The fort has steel rising sides with steps ascending the fort. The soil is quiet fertile here so the inhabitants could hold for months against enemy attacks and the thick forests around also helped them.
Spread across 880 sq. km. (approx), the Valmiki Wildlife Sanctuary is the safe home for the tigers, one of the threatened species of the world. Located at the cradle of Himalayan outermost ranges Shivalik range, the region has a very undulating landscape comprising of steep rise and deep ridges with the lush green forest around.
The leopards and tigers along with the fishing cats, chitals, sambar, black bucks, langur, sloth bears, gaurs make the jungle an adventuring destination. The deep wood of Sal, Asan, Karama, Semal, Cane etc. is a pleasant getaway that offers a breathing space to the soul.
Nearest Railway Station: Valmiki Nagar Road/10Km
Nearest Airport: Patna/260Km
Stay: Hotel Valmiki Vihar, Valmiki Nagar, West Champaran.
The name Nalanda resonates as an inspiration to anybody who heard about this place as the nurturing ground of the first residential international university of the world for great learning during the era when most of the other countries of the world were at the very nascent stage of development. Today, even as the ruins of that glorious past continue to mesmerise the present.
Nearest Airport: Patna/110Kms
Nearest Railway Station: Rajgir/1Km
Name: Gautam Vihar, Nalanda-803 152.
Types of Rooms: AC Room, Deluxe Room, Dormitory Beds.
Bhagalpur is 106 kms from Patna the capital city. The tussar silk which is as paper light and thin can be brought in metres or cut pieces. Pick up stoles, sarees, bedsheets and more
The Bihari cuisine
Have the Bihari litti chokha from one of roadside piping hot with tea.
Assam Bengal Navigation Cruise in Sonepur mela
The company provides cruise around the fair ground. During the mela time which lasts for a month, enjoy the gathering of pilgrims and sadhus, see cattle being traded here, bihari delicacies and other forms of art. The cattle and the crowd lasts for a week so make it in the first week itself although being a month long program.
Performed by: Men only
Themes: Based on Nature & Mythology
The Martial Dance depicting immense vitality and virility, Chhau is the most vibrant and popular dance form of Bihar. The word 'Chhau' comes from the Sanskrit root 'Chhaya' meaning shade. As masks form an important feature of this dance it is called 'Chhau', which means mask. The technique of the dance, in fact, draws on steps and gait, which have stemmed from the `Pharikhanda System', which is a system of exercise.
This dance of the Mithila region is performed by the Harijans where one person performs the role of Jat (the husband) and Jatin (the wife) wearing masks and goes through the story of their life. Bidesia, a form of dance drama is extremely popular in the Bhojpuri-speaking region of Bihar.
Known as the marriage mela, it takes place in Saurath village in Madhubani district. The Panjikars or the genealogical registrars helps the bride and grooms families to match horoscopes and register marriages which take place in the mela.
The other festivals are Sitamarhi mahotsav, Munger mahotsav, Vikramshila Mahotsav and Sufi Mahotsav in Jehnabad.