States of India
Altitude: 53 metres.
Temperature (degree C): Summer- Max. 43, Min. 21. Winter - Max. 20, Min. 6.
Rainfall: 120 cms.
Clothing: Summer- Cottons, Winter- Heavy Woolens.
Best Season: October to March.
Patna once called Pataliputra the capital of Bihar, is among the world's oldest capital cities with unbroken history of many centuries as imperial metropolis. A very fertile arched stretch of land along the bank of the Ganga, the history and heritage of modern day Patna go back well over two millennia. It was Ajatshatru the Magadha king who first built a small fort in Pataligram on the bank of the Ganga in 6th century BC, which later blossomed into the ancient glory still to be seen in the neighbouring archaeological sites at Kumrahar. Bhiknapahari, Agamkuan, Bulandi Bagh.
Turning over the pages of early Indian history one comes across the name of the pre-eminent city of Pataliputra. Located at the site where Patna is today, this city saw the rise and fall of India's first major kingdoms. Its Period of glory spanned a thousand years, from 6th century B.C. to 5th century A.D. Ajastshatru, second in the line of Magadh Kings, built a fort at Pataligram on the bank of river Ganga. This later became famous mauryan metropolis of Pataliputra and was ruled by Chandragupta Maurya (a contemporary of Alexander) and his grandson Ashok, acclaimed for the spread of Buddism. Other emperors who ruled from Pataliputra were the Gupta and Pala Kings, Shershah Suri (16th Century) and Azimush-Shan (18th Century) grandson of Mughal emperor Aurangzeb, who renamed it Azeemabad. Vestiges of this ancient city can be seen at Kumhrar, Bhikhnapahari, Agamkuan, Bulandi Bag etc. Today Patna, the capital of the State of Bihar, is an important business centre of eastern India. More significantly, it is a gateway to the Buddhist and Jain pilgrim centres of Vaishali, Rajgir, Nalanda, Bodhgaya and Pawapuri.
Treasures of Patna :
This huge and impressive beehive-shaped structure was constructed in July 1786 by Captain John Garstin following a terrible famine in 1770, to serve as a state granary. A flight of steps winds round this 29m high building to the top from where one gets a fine view of the river Ganga and Patna city.
It contains metal and stone sculptures of the Maurya and Gupta Periods, terracota figurines and archaeological finds from different sites in Bihar. Among its prized exhibit are Ashes of the Buddha, image of Yakshi (3rd century B. C.), and a 16 metre long fossilized tree.
This shrine consecrates the birthplace of the tenth religious preceptor of the Sikh faith, Guru Gobind Singh. Originally built by Maharaja Ranjit Singh, a ruler of Punjab, Harmandirji is one of the holiest Sikh shrines. Standing in the Chowk area of Old Patna, this dome-dhaped structure contains Sikh scriptures and the personal belongings of the guru.
Khuda Baksh Oriental Library :
Set up at the turn of the century, the library has a distinguished collection of rare Arabic and Persian manuscripts, Rajput and Mughal paintings and oddities like an inch wide Quran. It also contains the only books rescued from the plunder of the University of Cordoba in Spain. It is one of the national libraries of India.
Kumrahar, site of the ancient city of Pataliputra, lies 5 km. from Patna Railway Station on the Kankarbagh Road. Excavations here have revealed relics of four continuous periods from 600 BC to 600 AD. The fifth period begins from 1600 AD. An important find is the 80-pillared huge hall of the Mauryan dynasty.
Martyrs Memorial :
Life-size statues in front of the old secretariat compound have been put up in memory of seven brave young men who faced bullets for the freedom of the country and sacrificed their lives in August 1942 in the historic struggle for India's independence during "Quit India" movement.
Constructed at the site of Sher Shad's fort, it preserves a rich private collection of jade, Chinese paintings and silver filigree work of the Mughal period. The museum can be visited only with prior permission, since it is a private collection.
Pathar Ki Masjid :
Situated on the bank of river Ganga, this mosque is known variously as Saif Khan's mosque, Chimni Ghat mosque or Sangi Masjid. It was built by Parwaz Shah, son of the Mughal emperor Jahangir, during his tenure as governor of Bihar.
Agam Kuan :
Agam Kuan (Unfathomable well) is one of the most important early historic archaeological remains in Patna. It is situated just close to the Gulzarbagh Railway Station, which is proposed to be associated with the Mauryan Emperor Ashok.
Other Places of Interest
Biological Park, Bihar Institute of Handicrafts and Designs, Birla Mandir, Nawab Shahid-Ka-Maqbara, Pachim Darwaza and Padri-Ki-Haveli
Some centuries ago it was situated on the confluence of the rivers Ganga and Son, and river Saryu joined it from the north. The remains of an old time fortress on the bank of the channel of the Son reminds one that Maner was a strategic point in ancient times. It appears as if it were the western gate of Patliputra in the Mauryan times. It is famous for its Bari and Choti Dargah, sacred to the memory of the Sufi Saint Hazrat Makhdoom yahya Maneri of the 13th century.
The Tomb of yahya Maneri lies in a mosque to the east of a large tank, with masonry walls and ghats, and pillared porticos, which is connected with the old bed of the Son by a tunnel, 400 feet long. The tomb is situated in an enclosure half filled with graves and ancient tress, on the north and west of which are three domed mosque and some quaint little cloisters build by Ibrahim Khan. It has been from a very early date, a place of pilgrimage being visited among others by Sikandar Lodi an Emperor Babar (1520-30).
It is one of the most popular mausoleum in eastern India for pilgrimages.
Travel Info :
By Air : Connected with Bombay, Calcutta, Delhi, Lucknow, Ranchi.
By Rail: Connected to Bombay, Calcutta, Guwahati, Ranchi, Varanasi.
By Road: Nalanda- 90 kms, Rajgir- 102 kms, Pawapuri- 90 kms, Gaya- 172 kms, Bodhgaya- 179 kms, Raxaul- 210 kms, Ranchi- 335 kms, Muzzafarpur- 72 kms, Sasaram- 152 kms, Vaishali- 56 kms, Calcutta- 653 kms, Delhi- 997 kms.