"Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid." – Albert Einstein

History: Ancient!



Bihar was called Magadha in ancient times. Its capital Patna, then known as Pataliputra, was the center of the first empire built in India, that was by Nanda Dynasty, followed by Mauryan empire, which dominated the Indian subcontinent from 325 BC to 185 BC. Emperor Ashoka was the most famous ruler of this dynasty. Bihar remained an important place of power, culture and education during the next one thousand years. The Vikramshila and Nalanda Universities, were among the oldest and best centres of education in ancient India. It must be mentioned here that the boundaries of ancient Mauryan empire extended up to the present day Afghanistan which was unparelled in Indian history.
Medieval
Muhammad Bin Bakhtiar Khilji, a Pashtun and general of Muhammad Ghori, captured Bihar in 12th century. Many of the viharas and the famed universities of Nalanda and Vikramshila were destroyed in this period.

Bihar saw a brief period of glory for six years during the rule of another Pashtun Sher Shah Suri, who was from Sasaram and built the longest road of the Indian subcontinent, the Grand Trunk Road, which starts from Sonargaon in Bangladesh and ends at Peshawar in Pakistan. This road is now known as National Highway 2 (NH-2)in the Indian states of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkand, and West Bengal. Sher Shah was an economic reformer, some of which continue to this day. The introduction of a new currency called the Rupee and Custom Duties are still used in the Republic of India.

During 1557-1576, Akbar, the Mughal emperor, annexed Bihar and Bengal to his empire. With the decline of the Mughals, Bihar passed under the control of the Nawabs of Bengal. Thus, the medieval period was mostly one of anonymous provincial existence.
The 10th and the last Guru of Sikhism Guru Gobind Singh was born in Patna. The location of his birthplace known as Harmandir Sahib or as Patna Shahir has become on of the 5 Takhts, thus becoming an important pilgrimage site for Sikhs.


Bihar,
the land of Buddha, derives its name from the word Vihara, meaning monastery. Located in the central and lower Gangetic plateau in the North-eastern Sector of India, Bihar is bound by Nepal on the North, West Bengal on the east, Uttar Pradesh on the west and Jharkhand, bifurcated from Bihar in 2000, on the south.

Bihar has a very ancient and glorious history to boast with. The early history of Bihar is mostly lost as the major events and happenings were not documented. The earliest documented history of Bihar is provided by the Jain and Buddhist texts, which shed light to the sixteen Mahajanapadas those flourished during the 6th century BC. Vaishali, Anga, Rajgriha, Pataliputra, Nalanda, and Mithila are just a few of the places those knit the history of ancient India.

Vaishali in northern Bihar, the centre of the Lichchavis kingdom is rated as the most ancient and credited as the world’s first republic. By the 5th century BC, the focus of history shifted to Magadha with its capital at Rajgriha and later Pataliputra. Rajgriha witnessed the first Buddhist Council and the conversion of the Mauryan king Bimbisara to Buddhism. During the reign of Ashoka the Great, Magadha and its fabled capital Pataliputra became renowned all over the world. After the death of Ashoka, Magadha lost its glory. During the reign of the Guptas, Magadha regained its importance. The Gupta Empire in 4th century AD is considered as the golden age of Indian history.

Under the Sultans of Delhi and the Mughals, Bihar was reduced to the status of a province. When Sher Shah defeated Humayun and took over Delhi, Bihar came into limelight again. Sher Shah who hailed from Bihar founded Patna, the present state capital on the site of the ancient capital Pataliputra and gave the country an efficient administration. After Sher Shah, Bihar became part of the Mughul Empire and was peaceful and prosperous under Akbar and other Mughul Emperors.

With the decline of Mughals, Bihar fell into the hands of the Nawabs of Bengal. Under British, Bihar was part of the Bengal Presidency. In 1911, Bihar and Orissa were separated from Bengal Presidency. In 1936 they became separate states. After independence, the state of Bihar was formed with Patna as the capital. On 14th Nov. 2000, the southern Bihar consisting of 18 districts were bifurcated to create a new state named Jharkhand modifying the bounderies of the state of Bihar.


Area

94163 sq.km

Population

82,878,796 (2001 census)

Languages

Hindi, Urdu

Climate

Tropical

Summer – Mar. to May. (40+ o C)
Winter – Dec. to Feb. (5o C)
Mansoon – Jun. to Oct.


Best Time to Visit

October through April

Capital City

Patna

Airport
Patna, Gaya

Major Towns

Patna, Muzaffarpur, Samastipur, Motihari, Munger, Gopalganj, Gaya

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