A tourist visit to the Gangetic plains of India a trip to Patna, the capital of the State of Bihar. Known earlier as Pataliputra, Kusumpura or Pushpapura, which means the city of flowers, legend ascribes its creation to a magic stroke of a mythological king, Putraka, for his queen, Patali. History, however, says that the capital of the expanding Magadh Kingdom was shifted from the hilly Rajagriha to Pataligram by Emperor Ajatashatru, a contemporary of the Buddha. The Enlightened One when passing through Pataligram had predicted that a great city would rise there. Pataliputra witnessed the rise and fall of the Mauryan and Gupta empires, the first two imperial powers of India whose reigns were considered to be the classical and the golden ages of India.
The emperors Chandragupta Maurya, Ashoka and Samudragupta ruled, unified and spread India's message from here. Its period of glory spanned about a millennium. Among the later rulers of Patna the name of the great Afghan administrator, Sher Shah Suri's. Patna also has the distinction of being the birthplace of the tenth Sikh Guru, Govind Singh, who was born in this city in 1766.
Besides being the capital of Bihar, Patna is also its cultural metropolies and a great tourist attraction. Some of its imposing building show how the aesthetic features of old architecture can be gracefully preserved even in a modern edifice.
Area: Altitude : 53 metres Population: 1,285,470
Climate: Temperature (degree C) : Summer - Max. 43, Min. 21; Winter - Max. 20, Min. 6. Rainfall : 120 cms.
Main Language(s): Hindi and English
Time Zone: GMT + 05:30
Phone Area Code: 0612
Best Time To Visit: October to March
Remains of the ancient city of Pataliputra have been found here at Kumrahar, seven kilometres from Patna. Excavations have revealed wooden ramparts and parts of the palace belonging to the Mauryas. Remnants of a massive hall, belonging to the Mauryas, supported by 80 sandstone pillars have been found here. Although they are really old (400-300 BC), they are rather esoteric and so might only interest those with a real passion for archaeology.
This gigantic egg rises over the skyline at Patna, a futile attempt at storing grain against famine. Commissioned by Warren Hastings in 1876, and built by Captain John Garstin, it could store 137,000 tonnes of grain. The two staircases on either side were meant for the labourers who would fill the granary, toiling laden up on side, unburdening themselves and then coming down the other. But it was never filled and the inscription, First filled and publicly closed by. remains incomplete. Now it offers some interesting views of the city and the river. Should you manage to sneak in, there's a rather terrifying echo. Golghar Golghar is 1 km away from Patna city. Following the famine of 1770 that ravaged the area, this massive dome shaped structure was built by Capt. John Garstin in 1786 to serve as the state granary. Steps wind around the edifice leading to the top where a fenced in terrace commands a view of the city and the river frontage.
Sadaquat Ashram is situated by the Ganga and headquarters the Bihar Vidyapeeth. India's first President, Dr. Rajendra Prasad used to frequent this place and eventually lived here after retirement. Today, Sadaquat Ashram is a memorial dedicated to him and displays his personal belongings.
The tenth and last Guru of the Sikhs,Guru Govind Singh was born here in 1666 at the Gurudwara Shri Patna Sahib. It is a major pilgrimage for the Sikhs and was originally built by Maharaj Ranjit Singh. It is located at Chowk in the old city and you can take a look at the old Sikh scriptures and relics, belonging to the last guru, here in the museum on the first floor.
Headquarters of the Bihar Vidyapeeth, a National University, established in 1921, this was the place from where the struggle for India's independence was launched in the State. It was also the retreat where Dr Rajendra Prasad, India's first President, lived after retirement. Today Rajendra Museum displays some of his personal belongings.
Pathar ki Masjid
Parwez Shah, the Mughal Emperor Jehangir's son, constructed this beautiful mosque in 1621 near the Harmandirji. It is known by other names such as Saif Khan ki Masjid, Chimmi Ghat and Sangi Masjid.
This shrine consecrates the birthplace of the tenth religious preceptor (Guru) of the Sikh faith, Guru Govind Singh. Originally built by Maharaja Ranjit Singh of Punjab, Harmandir Sahib, also known as Patna Sahib, is one of the holiest Sikh shrines. Standing in the Chowk area of Old Patna, this dome shaped Gurudwara contains Sikh scriptures and some of the relics that belonged to the last Guru who was born in Patna in 1766. Open between 0700 to 1200 hrs and 1500 to 2000 hrs. Office and Library closed on Thursday.
Fraser Rd, near the Bihar Tourist Office, has a good, recommended veg restaurant with good ice cream.
In the Hotel Swayam Siddhi, is a good vegetarian place.
The same building as Hotel Kautilya Vihara, BC Patel Path, has very good vegetarian food and good service. Recommended.
Mayfair Ice Cream Parlour
Fraser Rd, serves dosas and other snacks, and an assortment of ice cream.
Fraser Rd, serves good South Indian food and has A/C. Not pure vegetarian.
And many more such as
Chhat is a very colorful festival. New clothes are a must for the devotees. And the family also are dressed in their finest on the visit to the river. There is much music and a lot of singing of folk songs, both at home and on the river bank. In Patna, literally millions of people throng the banks of the river Ganges for miles. There is much gaiety even among so much piety. The streets are kept spotlessly clean by bands of volunteers, who also decorate all streets leading to the river with colorful festoons, ribbons, and banners. Loudspeakers blare chath songs all through the evening and early morning.
Kartik Purnima and the Sonepur Fair
The month of Kartik in the Hindu calendar is especially important. It is in this month that the major religious festivals occur, namely Dusserah (or Durga Puja), Deepavali, and Chhath. It is a month, like Lent for Christians, when penance is observed. The end of the month, Purnima (or full moon), is therefore a great joyous occasion (not much different than Mardi Gras!) On this day a ritual bath is taken in the holy river Ganges, or any other river. Sonepur, a river town and important railroad junction, situated across the river from Patna at the confluence of the rivers Gandak and Ganges, is of special importance. A huge fair is held here at this time which is the largest fair of its kind in the world, for it is a fair specially for the trade of animals. Cattle, horses, camels and elephants can be seen in large numbers. It attracts a huge number of people, not only from all over Bihar, but also from other parts of India and foreign countries. The Government of Bihar puts up special accommodations suited to the needs of foreign visitors.
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