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location_onSTATES AND CITIES

bihar

Bihar is a state in eastern India. It is the third-largest state by population and twelfth-largest by area. It is the state where Gautam Buddha who founded Buddhism, is said to have attained enlightenment.

Almost 58% of the population in Bihar is below the age of 25, which makes Bihar the state with the highest number of young people in the country.

History

During the time of British rule in India (from 19th century to mid-20th century), the country was divided into Provinces and princely states. The region of today’s Bihar was a part of one such Provinces (the Bengal Province) of British India until 1912, after which “Bihar and Orissa” was separated from Bengal Province and declared a separate province. Again, in March 1912, through The Bengal, Bihar and Orissa and Assam Laws Act, 1912, Bihar was carved out of this province and made a separate province in British India.

Bihar was a larger state with Patna as its official capital, until 2000, when its southern part of carved out and declared a separate state named “Jharkhand”. Patna remains Bihar’s capital to this day while Ranchi, another city in the separated state was made Jharkhand’s capital.

Cities

Bihar state has about 139 statutory towns (officially notified, with their own municipality and boards), 60 smaller census towns and 14 urban cities, all divided into 38 districts.

Some cities and towns in Bihar include: Patna (the capital), Gaya, Darbhanga, Munger, Buxar, Nalanda, Kishanganj, Chapra, Hajipur, Rajgir, Saharsa.

People

The state of Bihar has a population of about 12.85 Crore (as of 2020). The religious people here mostly follow either Hinduism and Islam, which are major religions in the state. Bihar has more than 82% of Hindus and around 17% of the population are Muslims.

Apart from these, a small portion of people follow Christianity, Sikhism or Jainism. People of Bihar are known as “Biharis”, and these people group themselves into three main Indo-Aryan ethnolinguistic groups - Bhojpuris, Maithils and Magadhis. These are further divided into other ethnic groups and castes.

Culture

Bihar has a rich cultural heritage and ancient history. Hinduism is predominant here since centuries, and to this day. This is followed by Buddhism, which is also practiced by a large percentage of the population.

Bihar also has an impressive art scene. Drama, theatrics, dance, music, art and literature are prevalent in Bihar and the state is filled with art lovers.

Some of the state’s famous kinds of paintings include: Maithili paintings (more popularly known as Madhubani art), Manjusha painting, and Tikuli Paintings (which is done on a canvas made by melting glass, blowing it into a thin sheet and adding traced drawing patterns on it using natural colours, after which it is sometimes embellished with gold foils or jewels).

Indian classical music is largely loved, appreciated and practised in Bihar, and the state has produced many famous classical musicians. A dance festival in Rajgir is held regularly where Bihari traditional dances are performed and enjoyed.

Most festivals celebrated in Bihar are Hindu festivals such as:

  • Chhath puja (The main festival of Bihari Hindus)
  • Makar Sankranti (A harvest festival, celebrated in January)
  • Buddha Jayanthi
  • Sonepur Cattle fair
  • Pitrapaksha Mela (Fair)
  • Rajgir Mahotsav (The Grand fair/festival of Rajgir)

Language

Bhojpuri, Hindi are the most-widely spoken languages across Bihar. Besides these, many other regional languages and dialects are spoken in the state such as: Maithili, Angika, Magahi, Bajjika, Kudmali, Khortha.

Food

Bihari cuisine includes many vegetarian delicacies mostly along with some non-vegetarian dishes. The staple grains are rice, Bengal gram, chickpeas, and different kinds of pulses and flatbreads (roti).

Some regular dishes in Bihari cuisine are:

  • Litti – Powdered gram pulses mixed with spices, lemon juice, and coriander leaves, and baked or fried; and usually served with Chokha – a soupy preparation with mashed dal (pulses).
  • Ghugni – A curry/dish made with soaked black grams (in water), sautéed in mustard oil in a wok, mixed with spices and Chana (chickpea) paste and water to make it gravy-like.
  • Pittha – A steamed rice-flour dumpling filled with a cooked chana dal (Bengal gram) mix that can be sweet (with jaggery, cardamom) or savoury (with chillies and other spices).
  • Sattu ka Paratha – A stuffed flatbread (with vegetables or pulses) made with baby chickpea flour (high in protein).
  • Dhuska – A deep-fried flattened mixture of powdered rice and ghee, and salt.

Travel/Transportation

Trains, Planes and Buses are major modes of inter-city transportation within Andhra Pradesh. For travel within cities, there are many other modes such as taxi/cabs, buses, and private vehicles like 2-wheelers and cars, or even walking and cycling.

Airports – Bihar has 6 domestic airports connecting to other states and cities in the country, and 2 International airports connecting to cities within the state as well as other parts of the country.

  • Jay Prakash Narayan Airport, Patna
  • Gaya Airport, Gaya
  • Bhagalpur Airport, Bhagalpur
  • Forbesganj Airport, Jogbani
  • Munger Airport, Munger
  • Darbhanga Airport, Darbhanga
  • Raxaul Airport, Raxaul
  • Muzaffarpur Airport, Saharsa

Railway Stations – Bihar has a total of 688 train terminals/railway stations (at least one for each city/town, and more than 1 in some cities) that connect to other cities and towns within the state as well as those in other states in the country. Some of the major train terminals and junctions in the state are:

  • Patna Junction, Patna city
  • Patliputra Junction, Patliputra
  • Bhagalpur Railway Station, Bhagalpur
  • Gaya Junction, Gaya
  • Katihar Junction, Katihar
  • Muzaffarpur Junction, Muzaffarpur
  • Buxar Railway Station, Buxar

Bus Terminals – Bihar has its own line of state-run BSRTC (Bihar State Road Transport Corporation) buses which provide the connection between all the cities and towns within the state and also neighbouring states. These buses can be boarded at BSRTC stops/terminals that are available in every division and town in the state. The prominent town/city bus terminals in the state are located in almost every city and town in Bihar - they can be easily found and are conveniently accessible.

Attractions

Bihar has a rich heritage that is thousands of years old. Its ancient history is deep rooted into every part of the state in the form of temples, museums, forts, etc. along with its lakes, national parks and so on.

Some places worth visiting in Bihar are:

  • Nalanda University – This is said to be one of the oldest residential universities ever established in the world. It was built in 5th century AD. It is said that Gautam Buddha himself was a teacher here. The building has a beautiful architecture with an ancient but well-maintained look.
  • Bodhi Tree – An ancient banyan tree under which Gautam Buddha used to meditate.
  • Griddhakuta Peak
  • Gaya and Bodhgaya (Well-known pilgrimage centers for Buddhists)
  • Hot springs of Rajgir – Natural hot springs flowing from caves; situated under the Vaibhava Hills near the city of Rajgir.
  • Munger – An ancient city lying on the holy River Ganges, having a glorious history. A must-visit for history enthusiasts.

WEEKEND GETAWAYS

Some great places in Bihar for a weekend getaway or short vacation are –

  • Bodh Gaya
  • Motihari (pilgrim and heritage spot – peaceful destination, away from city buzz)
  • Griddhakuta Peak
  • Bhagalpur
  • Darbhanga
  • Gaya (historic temples, monuments and caves – a great city to explore)

HISTORICAL PLACES

Bihar has a deep history and rich heritage which is manifested through the incredible monuments and artefacts of historical significance and natural/architectural beauty in the state, such as –

  • Bodhi Tree – an ancient banyan tree under which Gautam Buddha used to meditate.
  • Munger – an ancient city lying on the holy River Ganges, having a glorious history. A must-visit for history enthusiasts.
  • Nalanda University – This is said to be one of the oldest residential universities ever established in the world. It was built in 5th century AD. It is said that Gautam Buddha himself was a teacher here. The building has a beautiful architecture with an ancient but well-maintained look.
  • Golghar – Located in Patna; It is a building built in 1786 by Captain John Garstin (an engineer from the British East India Company) for the purpose of using as a storehouse. Has a pretty round shape to it, through which it got its name, literally translating to “round house”.