It is not unusual for Bihar to be judged as a backward place due to linguistic divergence from the surrounding states. However, none is more important than the history, heritage and culture that adorns the state. It is located in the northeastern part of India. At the foot of the Himalayan mountains, surrounded by Nepal in the north and Uttar Pradesh in the west. The state is spread over 94,163 sq km of land and is divided by the river Ganges which flows from west to east.
Due to its vast cultural background and natural beauty, it is a major tourist destination visited by people from all over the world. Following are 10 must-visit places in Bihar:
Situated on the southern bank of the Ganges River, Patna is a city that has seen the rise and fall of many empires. It has a glorious past, which determines the history of India from forgotten times. It is also the capital of Bihar and one of the oldest cities in India, probably the world. Rivers like Son, Gandak and Punpun flow through the city. It holds great spiritual and religious significance for Hindus, Sikhs and Jains. There are few places to visit for religious people like Patna Sahib Gurdwara.
Patna is also known as the birthplace of many astronomers and scholars like Aryabhata, Vatsalya and Chanakya. Other places to visit in Patna include Bihar Museum, Golghar, Revolving Restaurant, Shri Krishna Vigyan Kendra and Gandhi Ghat.
The city is also known as the most important monastery of ancient times. It is an important Buddhist place of academic importance and is also a major pilgrimage site. The city is a changing mix of spirituality, academics, architecture and tourism.
It is one of the oldest and greatest residential universities which is an architectural wonder in itself. Although in ruins, the complex is visited by a large number of tourists every day. The district is believed to be home to religions in their early stage and is important to Jainism, Buddhism, Hinduism and Sufism. It is a hot tourist destination due to its rich cultural background and historical importance. Places to visit in Nalanda include but are not limited to Nalanda University, Hiuen Tsang Memorial Hall, The Great Stupa, Nalanda Archaeological Museum, Kundalpur etc.
Rajgir is a valley town surrounded by beautiful rocky hills surrounded by clouds. It is a city full of spirituality, filled with forests, caves and waterfalls – a mix of adventure and spiritual learning. It is said that both Lord Buddha and Lord Mahavira are said to have spent time here spreading their spiritual lessons. It has combined history with Buddhism and Jainism. Ideal places to visit in Rajgir include Bimbisara’s Jail, Venuvana, Japanese Stupa, Vulture’s Peak, Rajgir Ropeway and Mahadam Kund.
Vaishali is a small worship village located in the interior of Bihar and is considered to be of importance to Jainism, Buddhism and Hinduism. It is the birthplace of Lord Mahavira and the place where Lord Buddha gave his last sermon. To mark this event, King Ashoka, who embraced Buddhism, erected a famous pillar in the city of Vaishali. It is named after King Vishal of Mahabharata.
Historians claim that it is one of the first republics in the world. Vaishali is also said to be a major trade center of the time when Patna was called Pataliputra. The places to visit in Vaishali are Ashoka Pillar, Vishwa Shanti Stupa and Archaeological Museum, Stupa of Buddha, Bawan Pokhar Temple.
Bodh Gaya is said to be a major tourist destination for Buddhists for its religious importance. It is famous for its Mahabodhi Temple, which houses the Bodhi tree where Gautama Buddha attained enlightenment. It is now marked as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and brings in tourists from all over the world. Bodh Gaya is also called the land of Enlightenment, Buddhism and Nirvana.
It is situated near the Nerjana River and was earlier known as Uruvela. It is one of the four Buddhist pilgrimages. The places to visit in Bodh Gaya are Mahabodhi Temple, Great Buddha Statue, Bodhi Tree, Tibetan Refugee Market, Thai Monastery etc.
Madhubani is an ancient city of Bihar, which is known for its rich cultural and artistic heritage, for which the district strives. It emerged from the Darbhanga district of Bihar in 1972 and is mentioned in Ramayana. The city is known for its world-famous Madhubani paintings and has absorbed an artistic community.
It has many temples which are the main attraction for the locals and tourists alike. Places of interest include Kapleshwar Sthan, Nagar Fort, Uchaita, Saurath and Bhawanipur.
Muzaffarpur is also known as the Litchi Kingdom. Situated in the north of Bihar, it is situated along the banks of the Budhi Gandak River along the Bagmati and Lakhandai rivers. It is a hub for educational and commercial establishments. The city is said to have been named after a revenue official – Muzaffar Khan. It is known for being a place where the Vajakka language is spoken while Hindi is used for official purposes.
The city is situated at a distance of 75 km to the north of Patna. Its cultural influence comes from Hinduism, Islam and Nepal and the cuisine is a mixture of Bihari cuisine and North India. Some of the traditional and famous dishes are Kadhi Bari, Ghugni, Chura, Dhuska, Litti, Pitta. The city holds political, historical and national importance. Some of the places of interest in Muzaffarpur are Litchi Garden, Garib Sthan Temple, Jubba Sahni Park, Devi Mandir, Khudiram Bose Memorial etc.
Bhagalpur is known as the silk city of Bihar. Situated on the southern bank of the River Ganges. It is also the third-largest city of Bihar. It is known for being a major educational center apart from being a major business center. It is home to the national aquatic animal of India, a species of Ganges dolphin that lives in the Vikramshila Ganga Dolphin Sanctuary. Bhagalpur is located 250 km east of Patna and the languages spoken are Angika and Hindi. It is said to be one of the fastest developments to become a smart city.
Places to visit include Vikramshila, Budhanath Temple, Vikramshila Ganges Dolphin Sanctuary, Mandar Parvat, Ajgaivinath Temple etc.
Pawapuri is one of the most sacred places for Jains and is located in the Nalanda district. Historically, this Mall was the twin capital of Mahajanapada which later became part of Magadha rule. It is considered particularly sacred as it is the place where Lord Mahavir was cremated.
For this reason, this city was also named Apapuri which means the city without sin. There is a lotus pond in the town, which has a religious significance for Jains as it was built where he was cremated. The removal of the top layer of soil led to the formation of a lotus pond, where a marble temple was built, called the Jalmandir.
The traditional festivals celebrated here are Rajgir Dance Festival and Chhath Puja. Different classical dances are performed in the Rajgir Dance Festival. Places to visit in Pawapuri include Nalanda Archaeological Museum, Kundalpur, Sun Temple, Nava Nalanda Mahavihara.
Hajipur is a city that has associated itself with a seamless transition between past and future. Its importance in history is rare but scattered, being mentioned in the lives of Lord Buddha and Lord Mahavira. Hajipur is the largest city in the Vaishali district. And is known for the place which was chosen by Lord Buddha as the place of his eternal rest – Nirvana.
It is dotted with temples of both Vaishnavism and Shaivism and banana plantations spread across the city of Hajipur. It is also known for housing the longest bridge in South Asia which is 5.75 km long over the Ganges River. Places to visit in Hajipur include Kaun Hara Ghat, Deep Narayan Singh Museum, Ram Chaura Temple, Mahatma Gandhi Setu, etc.
Along with this you also see Places to Visit in India’s First Heritage City Ahmedabad.