Thursday , October 28 2021
Patna: Heart of Bihar
Patna: Heart of Bihar

Patna: Heart of Bihar

Patna, earlier known as Patliputra stretches its boundaries over the south basin of river Ganga, falling under North-East India. Being the state capital of Bihar, Patna is enriched with great cultural heritage and history, ageing back to the Magadh dynasty. The warm hospitality and rich culture of this place attracts plethora of travellers thereby making Patna a major tourist spot.

Brief History

  • Patna, earlier Patliputra has many other names such as Patligram, Kusumpur and Azimabad.
  • The city of Patliputra was founded by Ajatashatru, the king of Magadh(now South Bihar) in the 5th century BCE who made it his capital.
  • Throughout the reign of the Mauryan and Shunga dynasty over Bihar, Patliputra remained an important centre for education and learning and in the 4th Century, it became the capital of the Gupta dynasty.
  • Eventually, it lost the importance and the rule declined. The city was then again founded and rose to power under the Mughal Empire. The city prospered under the Afgan rulers as it became the major centre for trade and commerce.
  • In 1765, along with other kingdoms, the city of Patliputra was transferred into the hands of the British East India Company.
  • Patliputra and Champaran were the major centres where the want for freedom had sparked. Numerous freedom fighters emerged from these places thereby winning back their country.
  • After Independence, Patna has remained to serve as the state capital, making it an important site for administration, trade and tourism.

State/District/Capital

Situated on the southern banks of Ganges, Patna is the largest city of Bihar with population of about 2.5 lakhs. Being the state capital and its significant role in preserving the culture attracts surfeit of travellers throughout the year. It has a subtropical climate with ample monsoon months making it suitable for travelling.

How to reach Patna?

By Air

  • Being the state capital, Patna has well-connected air routes to the major metropolitan cities. All the international and domestic flights take off from the Jay Prakash Narayana International airport, consisting of three terminals.
  • Jai Prakash Narayan International Airports owned by the Airport Authority of India(AAI) is situated 5 Kilometres southwest of the city.
  • The airport is well connected to the city via different means of transport like cab services and domestic auto rickshaws.

By Train

  • The city has a major railway centre consisting of 6 stations namely, Patna Junction, Rajendarnagar Terminal, Gulzarbagh station, Danapur railway station, Patliputra Junction and Patna Saheb station.
  • Patna Junction station is the major railway hub connecting major cities like Bangalore, Delhi, Jaipur, Moradabad, Konkan, Pune, Lucknow, Asansol, Kolkata and many others via different routes.
  • Rajdhani Express, Sanghamitra Express, Rajendranagar Express, Bagmati Express, CST Asansol Express are some of the major trains.

By Road

  • The state’s capital, Patna is well furnished with a network of roads connecting the major cities and some of the developing rural locations.
  • National Highway 31 (NH-31) passes through Patna connecting it to outer state areas. The intra-city network of roads is also commendable.
  • Nehru Path, commonly known as Bailey road runs through the heart of the city connecting some important landmarks like Patna High Court, Patna Women’s College, Patna Secretariat, Patna Zoo, Patna Airport and Bihar Museum.
  • Mithapur Bus Stand is the major and busiest bus stand located near Patna Junction station and connects different areas of the city.

When to visit Patna?

  • Though people can visit Patna throughout the year but it is best to visit during the winters as the summers are extremely hot and the monsoon is too humid for travelling and sightseeing.
  • The period between October-February is ideal to visit the city. The Rajgir Mahotsav is celebrated in October and the Patliputra Natya Mahotsav, the annual theatre festival takes place in March, which could be a great opportunity to know the culture prevalent there.

Official Language

The official language of Patna is Hindi but people also speak a variety of regional languages including Maithili, Bhojpuri, Bengali, Urdu, Magahi and Angika. Magadhi is the native dialect that originated during the reign of Magadh Empire. English is also spoken by a wide range or people here.

Weather

  • Summer Season: April-June
  • Average Temperature: 30°- 32°C
  • Winter Season: November-February
  • Average Temperature: 16°-19°C
  • Monsoon Season: July-October
  • Average Temperature: 27°-29°C
  • Spring Season: February- March
  • Average Temperature: 20°-25°C

Fairs & Festivals of Patna

Patna has numerous festivals like Chhath, Holi, Diwali, Ramnavami, Makar Sankranti, Raksha Bandhan, Teej, Durga Puja, Kali Puja, Chitragupta Puja and many more which is celebrated mostly throughout Bihar. Chhath is the main festival of the region celebrated all over the state with great zeal.  Fairs like Sonepur Mela and Patliputra annual theatre events are of great gaze.

Chhath Pooja

Chhath is the main festival of Bihar. In this festival, people fast for complete three days and offer prayers to the Sun God. Biharis from all over India visit their homeland to celebrate Chhath together. It is a divine festival that brings families and people together. Early morning and evening Arag at the Ganga ghat seems greatly mesmerising.

Makar Sankranti/Kite Festival

Makar Sankranti is celebrated on the 14th of January every year. People fly kites and organise competitions for it and so it is also called the Kite festival. On this day people especially eat dahi, Chura and sweets made from sesame seeds.

Sonepur Mela

Sonepur is situated 25 Kms from Patna on the junction of the Ganga and Gadak rivers. It hosts an annual cattle fair which is the oldest in Asia. It is held on Kartik Purnima, generally falling in the month of November. This fair facilitates the trade of animals like cattle’s, horses, camels, goats, elephants, donkeys and birds. Hanthi Bazar is always in the limelight of the fair that attracts major tourists from different parts of India.

Patna Saheb Mahotsav

The tourism department of Bihar hosts the Patna Saheb Mahotsav, a two-day cultural event on the eve of Baisakhi. The venue of the event changes every time, though it is always near Takht Shri Patna Saheb, which is the birthplace of the tenth Sikh guru, Guru Govind Singh.

Transportation/Stay to prefer

Buses

Patna has well-developed bus routes and administration. Mithapur bus stand and Rajendranagar terminal bus stand runs the maximum buses to almost every region of the city making transportation easy.

Cabs

Cabs are always an evergreen option to consider. Ola and Uber along with general rickshaws are presented at every street, so there is no need to worry. One can easilybrent those and go round the city.

Inns

Patna hoards plenty of stay inns with a comfortable environment and top facilities. You can easily book an inn for you online or you may visit the place in person.

Places to visit in Patna

Natural Places

Patna Zoo

Patna Zoo is a very famous zoo of Bihar giving shelter to more than 1100 animals including the famous Bengal Tigers. Zoo is located near Bailey road and also known as Sanjay Gandhi Biological Park.

Buddha Smriti Park

The park is located just beside the Patna Junction station and is a popular evening site for tourists. As the name suggests, the park is built up and decorated accordingly to pay tribute to Buddha. The park also has a Buddha museum and a water lighting event is organised every evening.

Eco Park

Eco Park or Ecological park is located at Jawaharlal Nehru Road in Patna. This is more commonly known as Rajdhani Vatika. The place is a perfect chilling spot with various rides, boating and an aura of wonderful fauna.

Spiritual Places

Mahavir Mandir

Just near the Patna railway station, there is a largely built temple dedicated to God Hanuman. Generally, the temple is more crowded on Tuesdays due to its religious significance.

Takht Shri Patna Saheb Gurudwara

It was built was Maharaja Ranjit Singh dedicated to the tenth Sikh guru, Guru Govind Singh, who was born here. The place bolds major significance for the Sikhs and a good place to visit.

Jain Temple

Jain Temple located at Pawapuri, Patna is a holy site for followers of Jainism. According to the relics, it is believed that Mahavira, the 24th Tirthankara attained nirvana here.

Chhoti Dargah

Chhoti Dargah is one of the finest but underrated structures built by the Mughals. The dargah is built into three storeys covered by dome-shaped roofs dedicated to the Sufi saint, Makhdoom Shah Daulat, whose body is buried here.

Historical Places

Gol Ghar

Golghar is basically a giant granary which was built by Captain John Garstin for the British Army in 1786. It is a beehive shaped immensely build bold structure that amuses quiet a number of tourists. The dome shaped structure has a height of 29 metres and 125 metres in diameter. The striking feature about the Golghar is that, the giant structure is constructed without any pillar holding the weight.

Nalanda Mahavihara

Nalanda is one of the most ancient universities in the country. In the past, it attracted students from Tibet, Korea, China and Central Asia. University is situated 95Kms from Patna city. The ruins of the University still is a source of amusement for a large number of audience. The Nalanda University has been marked as the world heritage site by UNESCO. Eminent Chinese scholar and traveller Huien Tsang visited the university in about 685 AD and studied the Buddhist theologies, Vedas and logic. The University consisted of three huge libraries hoarding thousands of books. These libraries were burnt into ashes by Aurangzeb when India was taken up by the Islamic invaders. The glorious past still makes it a significant spot to visit.

Kumhrar

Patliputra is located just a little distance away from Patna city. Ajatshatru, Chandragupta and Ashoka were the legendry prominent rulers of Patliputra,  Magadh(now Bihar). Various excavations have been done at Patliputra which has brought up numerous remnants of the ancient city. Arogya Vihar, Assembly hall and Anand Vihar capture most of the limelight from the remnants.

Museums

Patna Museum

People often call the Patna Museum as Jadu Ghar, as the place never stops amazing tourists. It is one of the best places to visit in Patna. The museum is accountable for about 50,000 rare art objects with great significance. The objects date back to the middle ages, the British Colonial era and even to the ancient era.

The architectural building showcases Mughal and Rajput patterns of construction.

  • Charge: INR 15 for Indians, INR 250 for foreign tourists.
  • Timings: 10:30 AM – 4:30 PM (closed on Monday).
Bihar Museum

It is one of the most important museums in India. Being hugely built, museum consists of numerous artefact’s dating back to the ancient era. The dancing girl statue from the Indus Valley Civilization is the most important object of the museum. It is home to significant art objects for archaeological and historical studies. It is located near the Jawaharlal Nehru road in Patna and a great tourist site.

  • Charges for Indians- INR 50 for children and INR 100 for adults
  • Charges for Foreigners- INR 500
  • Timings: 10:30 AM – 5 PM
Gandhi Sanghralaya

This is an interesting museum in Patna which is popular among tourists, even from even countries. The museum exhibits the life of Mahatma Gandhi through visual representations. There are several books and audiobooks available here related to him.

  • Timings: 9:30 AM – 5:30 PM.

Cuisines to taste in Patna

Litti Chokha

If you visit Bihar, you just cannot go without tasting this delicacy. Litti is basically a ball of wheat flour stuffed with a spicy mixture of chana sattu. It is served with chokha which is prepared by boiled and mashed potatoes and brinjal. Bihar is often represented through litti chokha, making it an important part of native cuisine.

Dehati Mutton and kebabs

Mutton is a very famous cuisine of Patna, fondly eaten by people along with litti, fried chura and roti. The mutton is prepared by using all unblended garam masala and fried mutton pieces. Dehati mutton is especially made in a terracotta utensil over the fire which gives it a smoky flavour. When the mutton is cooked, desi ghee is added to it, which takes the taste to another level making it heavenly. When you visit Patna, do try dehati mutton (especially from Champaran Meat House).

Chatpata Chaat

The cuisine seems incomplete without the tint of local street food. Papri, samosa and aloo Tikki chaats from local stores are too mesmerising to be skipped. One must try spicy and tangy chaat when in Patna.

Khaja

Khaja makes up an impressing role in Bihari desserts. Khaja is basically a multi-layered crispy fried pastry. With each bite the layer unwraps in mouth with a delicate sweet taste.

Samosa Ghugni

Where the rest of India is fond of chole, Biharis have a great craze for Ghugni, which is a spicy dish made from the red gram. Ghugni is mostly eaten with samosa and fried Chura.

Things to do in Patna

  • You can book a ride and visit the famous Patna zoo and explore the fauna inhabiting there. Buddha Smriti Park is a good option for relaxing after the tour.
  • If you are interested in history, then you should visit the Bihar museum and Patna museum, which are of great importance.
  • When in Patna, once do visit the local stores and have a taste of the delicious street foods like Chaat, panipuri, Khaja, Samosa-Ghugni, litti chokha and many other things.
  • If you are looking for some adventure, you can visit Eco-park and enjoy the rides.

Souvenirs to buy in Patna

  • Patna is home to many skilled artisans and craftsmen. A large variety of Madhubani and Manjusha paintings are available in different shops which represent Bihar.
  • Another famous work of Patna is Kashida. You can buy handloom silk fabrics with intricate Kashida work done on them. They look very pretty when stitched into dresses.
  • Patna is also famous for its terracotta and wooden artefacts. Tourists can buy these from any local store.
  • You can also buy bamboo miniature works and antique showpieces from Patliputra, which are very elegant.
  • You can buy the famous Bihari dessert, Khaja.

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About Vishal Kumar

Aspire to inspire before I expire. Part-time blogger, full-time learner.

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