Bihar occupies a unique position in the history of the Indian subcontinent, featuring as it does as a prime spot for much of India’s rich cultural, political and spiritual heritage. The state tourism initiative is also gaining ground and stepping up the effort to preserve some of the country’s most important historical monuments. Noted historian Romila Thapar has described India’s ancient history as the history of ancient Bihar. The many accolades heaped on ancient ‘India’, in the realms of trade, economic activity within and beyond the subcontinent, has strong roots in the activities that took place in this area.
The earliest myths and legends of Hinduism are associated with Bihar. Sita, the consort of Lord Ram and daughter of King Janak, was born in Sitamarhi The ancient kingdom of Janak called Videha consisted of the present-day districts of Sitamarhi, Samastipur, Muzaffarpur, Madhubani, and Darbhanga. The purported original author of the Ramayana, MaharishiValmiki lived in Valmikinagar, atown in West Champaran. It was in this region, in Bodh Gaya that Prince Gautama attained supreme knowledge under a banyan tree and became Buddha, the Enlightened One. Several major events in the Buddha’s life, including his enlightenment,last sermon, and attainment of nirvana took place within this region. Suffice it to say that, for all practical purposes, Buddhism was born here, and Bodh Gaya is considered one of the most important and sacred Buddhist pilgrimage sites in the world. Mahavira, the founder of Jainism, was born at Vaishali and attained nirvana at Pawapuri . The tenth and last guru of the Sikhs, Guru Gobind Singh was born in 1666 in Patna and the fantastic Patna Sahib Gurudwara was built to commemorate his memory and is now one
of the holiest places of worship for Sikhs.
Madhubani painting is one of the many famous Indian art forms. As it is practiced in the Mithila region of Bihar and Nepal, it is called Mithila or Madhubani art. Often characterized by complex geometrical patterns, these paintings are known for representing ritual content for particular occasions, including festivals, religious rituals, etc. The colors used in Madhubani paintings are usually derived from plants and other natural sources. These colors are often bright and pigments like lampblack and ochre are used to create black and brown respectively. Instead of contemporary brushes, objects like twigs, matchsticks and even fingers are used to create the paintings
Location: In West Bihar, at the confluence of the rivers Gandak and Ganga, close to Patna, the state capital
Distance: 30 km NW of Patna
Route: from Patna NH77 to Hajipur via Gandhi Setu; NH19 to Sonepur
Bihar is famous for the fair. Known as the largest cattle fair of Asia, it attracts visitors from every continent each year. The event formally begins at dawn with the offering of obeisance to Lord Harihar Nath (Lord Shiva) by a large number of visitors after a holy bath at the confluence of the Ganges and Gandak rivers The sale of elephants is the main attraction at the fair. Trading of a large number of camels, horses, goats, dogs, cats and different species of birds also takes place in this Mela.