Tourism in Bihar

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Patna Secretariate, Patna
Patna Secretariate

Shaheed Smarak, PatnaThe Tourism in Bihar offers Patna as one of the important tourist destinations and a fast expanding modern city. The ancient city of Patliputra has a heritage that goes back to two millennia. Each ruler ascended with a new name for this seat of governance thus Kusumpura became Pushpapura, Patliputra, Azeemabad and now Patna with a continuous history from 6 BC. Patliputra dominated the political fortunes of the whole of north India between 6th century BC and 5th century AD a fact established by archaeological excavations. Governor House, PatnaBihar’s capital Patna is on the southern bank of the Ganges a holy river for Indians; joined by three major tributaries in its journey from Varanasi. The Mahatma Gandhi Setu one of the longest bridges in the world at 7.5 km crosses the Ganges 5km west of the city. The city has an illustrious history over the centuries. Ajatshatru shifted his capital of the Magadha empire from Rajgir to Patna.The remains of his ancient city of Pataliputra can still be seen in Kumrahar, a southern district of Patna .Patna was the capital of an enormous empire spanning most of the ancient India-Chandragupta Maurya and Ashoka ruled from here and for almost 1000 years it maintained its status as India’s one of the most important cities.

The city stretches along the southern bank of the Ganges for about 15km. The hub of the city is at Gandhi Maiden and the main market area is Ashok Raj Path. The older area to the east is Patna city.

For a first hand view of what Patna is all about, take a trip to the historic Gandhi Maidan. A huge expanse of green in the heart of the city, the Maidan wakes up every six months or so with amazing regularity whenever a political rally is held. On the fringes of the Maidan is St Xavier’s school alma mater of Patna’s rich and famous. Besides it is one of its kind in the world granary, the Golghar and right next to that is the Ganges. Once a busy riverside with passenger steamers and boats, it had fallen on bad times. However there are plans to revive its ancient glory.

Patna incidentally is home to some of the best libraries in the country. Near St Xavier’s is the British library. Once part of the British Council, it is an independent library and perhaps the only source of intellectual sustenance of the people of the city. Not far away right next to the Patna Medical College and the Patna University both on the banks of the Ganges is the Khuda Baksh Oriental library with its distinguished collection of rare Arabic and Persian manuscipts, Rajput and Mughal paintings and even an inch-wide Quran.

There are other places to see in and around the city. There is the Patna Museum with its metal and stone sculptures from the Maurya and Gupta periods, the Harmandirji at Patna Sahib, a shrine consecrating the birthplace of Guru Gobind Singh the privately held Jalan Museum with its rich collection of jade, Chinese paintings and Louis XIV chairs, the Martyrs’ Memorial at the Old Secretariat and Kumar, the site of the ancient city of Pataliputra as Patna was known in the days of the old.

Patna boasts of clutch of clubs-Bankipore club, Patna club and spanking new exclusive Country club International apart from the bars and restaurants of up market Maurya and Chanakya hotels. As darkness falls the city’s famous Dak Bungalow Chowk comes alive with rickshaws and crowds.

Dak Bungalow chowk is where the action is. Close to the railway station and now centre of most business activity in the city, the four point crossing that makes up the chowk boasts of a number of small hotels and eating places in addition to offices. Brimming with activity for most part of the day, the chowk is quite the opposite of the area around the Bihar Secretariat, which looks sleepy and deserted even though that is where the fortunes of the state are made and unmade.

How to reach Patna:

The easiest way to get to Bihar’s capital is by air.Indian,Jet Airways and Air Sahara connect Patna to rest of the country. There are flights to and from Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata. Patna Junction is connected by rail and is on the route of the Rajdhani Express between Delhi and Kolkata. In addition there are a number of trains linking the city with Delhi,Mumbai and even Guwahati in Assam.

Being the take-off point for the Buddhist circuit, Patna is connected with Kathmandu, Gaya, Bodhgaya,Rajgir and Nalanda besides other places in the region. By road also Patna is well connected with other towns and cities of Bihar.

Tourist Attractions in Patna