Bihar's antiquity is evident from its name, which is derived from the ancient word "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. 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 Buddha’s 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 as well as a terracotta urn said to contain the ashes of Lord Buddha.
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 Council.
The Buddha spent five years at Rajgir after having attained enlightenment, and many of the remains at Rajgir commemorate various incidents related to life of Buddha, 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.
This landlocked state of Bihar is surrounded by Nepal, Bengal, Orissa, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and comprises four cultural regions-Bhojpur, Mithila and Magadha and Chotanagpur. Rivers Kosi and Gandak from the north and Sone from the south join the Ganga. In the fertile plains, rice, sugarcane, oilseeds, gram, maize, jute, barley and wheat are cultivated.
|When to Visit||:||Nov to March|
|Climate||:||Summer: 30 to 40 degree celsius Winter: 15 to 30 degree celsius|
|Festivals||:||Durga Puja, Holi, Saraswati Puja, Diwali, Kali Puja, Lakshmi Puja|
odhi Tree is located about 100 km from Patna. Buddha achieved enlightenment under this tree and hence it is a pilgrim center for Buddhists who hail from all parts of the world. The place where it is situated has been declared aWorld Heritage Site by UNESCO. On your visit to Bodhi Tree, you will findMaha Bodhi Temple, which is sacred to those who follow Buddhism. The architecture of the temple goes to show the richness and grace of Indian architecture.
The ancient fort situated in Buxar along the Ganges River was constructed in 1054 AD. The carvings found in the fort offer amazing views and the construction of the fort is outstanding. While you are here, do not miss some of the tourist attractions nearby, which include Gauri Shankar Temple and Nath Baba Temple.
Griddhakuta Peak is famously known as the vulture peak. Located in Rajgir, the peak resembles the shape of vulture and it is frequented by vultures in great numbers. Buddha delivered some of his famous sermons here and hence it is considered sacred for Buddhists. The steps formed by cutting rocks lead you to two caves that are naturally formed. For those who find the trip physically challenging, chairlift facilities are available to reach the hilltop.
Built in memory of the famous Chinese scholar and traveler Hieun Tsang, the construction is rich in architecture. Hieun Tsang spent more than 12 years in this place on his visit to India. This was the place where Hieun Tsang learnt yoga under the guidance ofAcharya Shil Bhadra. The famous traveler has thrown light on medieval India and Nalanda, which are found in the memorial hall.
Jalmandir Temple is situated in the middle of a lake, which is full of lotuses. King Nandivardhan, who was the elder brother of Lord Mahavira is said to have constructed the temple. The temple is in the shape of a Vimana. The place where Lord Mahavira attained Samadhi and the place he was cremated are marked in the temple. The 600 ft long bridge made of stone connects the temple to the banks of the pond.
Muchalinda Lake acquires the name after Shesh Naga or the Snake King Muchalindawho protected Buddha during a storm while he was into the sixth week of meditation. Muchalinda protected Buddha from the rising waves and in honor of his services; the place was named after him. You could find the sculpture depicting the hood protecting Buddha who is in the state of meditation on snake coil. The green trees by the lake and the lush greenery make it the most frequented tourist spot in Bodh Gaya.
Nalanda University was established during the 5th century A.D. The university is considered the first residential university ever in the world. The university stands proof for the prominent role played by India in imparting knowledge. The university had2000 teachers who taught over 10000 students from all parts of the world. The uniqueness of the place could be gauged by the fact that Buddha himself was a teacher here and Hieun- Tsang, Chinese traveler and a great scholar, was a student of this university. Red rocks were used in the construction, which is built in Kushana style of architecture. The remains excavated from the university ruins include stupas, ornamented panels, lecture halls and stairway.
Situated in the town of Rajnagar near Madhubani in Bihar, the palace was built in the17th century A.D. by Maharaja Rameshwar Singh of Darbhangha. It suffered extensive damage caused by an earthquake in 1934, and sadly wasn’t rebuilt after. Situated near the kamala river is a marble temple of the goddess kali, and it’s still widely visited, another temple of the goddess Durga forms an integral part of the palace, and is still in operation, also known as the Rajnagar palace complex, it’s one of the major tourist attractions in Mithila and people come to visit all year round.
Patna Museum was constructed in 1917. The building is a blend of Rajput and Mughal architecture, it is one of the most popular places in Patna. The museum houses archaeological objects, paintings, sculptures and images by artists belonging to Hinduism and Buddhism. The museum also has a 200 million old fossil of a tree. At 12 noonevery day, you can view picture source associated to culture. You will find the museum to provide information on the culture and tradition of the place. The museum remains closed on Mondays.
Hot springs in Rajgir are famous tourist spots. Located at the foot of Vaibhava Hills, the springs get their water from Saptadhara, which passes behind Saptaparni Caves. The hot springs are considered to possess medicinal properties. Among the hot springs, Brahmakund spring is the hottest and has a temperature of 450 Celsius. It is believed that Lord Buddha and Mahavira had bathed in these hot springs.