Location : East India
Famous As : Buddhist Pilgrimage
Temperature (°C) : summer - Max. 43, Min. 21, winter - Max. 20, Min. 6
Capital : Patna
Major Cities : Bodhgaya, Vaishali, Nalanda
Ideal Time to Visit : October to March
Steeped in history, Bihar is a medley of sorts. The 6th century BC was marked by a blazing trail of religious thoughts that rekindled the philosophical mood and mind of the populace. Buddhism and Jainism are two of the most well known orders that took off from Bihar .
The temples of Bihar have a hoary past. Some of them predate the Aryan influx, while others have been amalgamated with the Vedic pantheon. Various Puranic legends refer to Bihar as a venue for several such events. The mausoleums, minars and mosques of Bihar have served as examples for others to follow.
Bihar tourism offer an ideal escape from the restrictions of city life. It is the land of serendipity, where the unexpected seems to lie at every nook and corner.
A Tourist Destination
Bihar tourism has a staggering list of destinations worth visiting. For instance, Chotanagpur - India's oldest geological formation; Nalanda - the world's most ancient seat of learning; Rajgir - the first recorded capital in Indian history; Patliputra - the hub of ancient India; Vaishali - the world's first republic; India's earliest rock-cut caves- Barabar Hills; Sasaram - home to the mighty mausoleum of the Pathans that influenced Mughal architecture; and BodhGaya - the land of Buddha who gave us the Noble Truth.
Fairs and Festivals
The festivals of Bihar are varied and variegated and are rooted deep in the history of the place. The Sonepur Cattle Fair, believed to be the largest in the world, recreates the mythical encounter between the honest gaja (elephant) and the shrewd graha (crocodile). The fair is a massive trading center where various animals are traded. Besides the Budh Purnima and Mahavir Jyanti, Chaath is the prime festival of Bihar that honors the Sun god. Another unique fair, Saurath Sabha in Mithila, is a massive marriage market, amidst mango groves where possibilities are explored, negotiations held and marriages solemnized.
Travelling through the tribal areas of Chotanagpur is like going back to the past. Bihar tourism boasts of about 28 % of India's total tribal population and it continues to shelter the Cheros, Birhors, Santhals, Asurs, Lohars, Gonds, to name a few. Chotanagpur has monopolised the imagination of researchers as one of the most ancient sites of human habitation - and that is still inhabitated by man.
Madhubani paintings and Patna Qalam are two well-known expressions of people's sensitivity in Bihar . The ceremonial Madhubani folk paintings are the exclusive monopoly of women artists, who have maintained the tradition of painting walls to beautify their dwellings. It is believed to have survived from the period of the great epics. Patna Qalam emerged out of the native brush and the popular Mughal miniature.
Bihar tourism today boasts of two national parks and twenty one sanctuaries that are hideouts for wolves; it includes a sanctuary for dolphins; a crocodile center; a welcome jheel, receptive to lakhs of migratory birds from Central Asia, besides other surprises springing up from the priceless heritage of the wild denizens.
Bihari cusine can be traced to the civilization that flourished and waned in this part of the globe. Since rice was first cultivated in eastern India, it is believed that the Harappans took to eating rice when they came to Chotanagpur. The advent of the Aryans further enriched the palette in a state that was already the epitome of luscious delight.