The imperial city of Patna sprawling on the banks of the sacred river Ganga is among the world’s oldest capital cities, with a continuous history of over two millennia. It remained the seat of power for many dynasties and was known by different names like, Kusumpura, Pushpapura, Pataliputra and Azeemabad. Ajatshatru, the Magadha king first built a small fort in Pataligram, on the banks of ganga in 6th century BC. Patliputra, one of the greatest cities of Asia dominated the political fortunes of the whole of north India between 6th century BC and 5th century AD. The city regained its lost glory in 16thcentury, under the Afghan king Sher Shah Suri, who is said to have established the present day Patna. With the decline of the Mughal power, the region fell into the hands of British, who made Patna a regional capital and built a modern extension to this ancient city known as Bankipore.
Today, Patna is a fine blend of ancient traditions and modernity and is an important business centre in eastern India. It is also the gateway to the Buddhist and Jain pilgrim centres of Budhgaya, nalanda, Vaishali, Rajgir and Pawapuri.
Patna is hot, humid in summer and cold in winters. The temperature varies from a maximum of 43°C in summer to a minimum of around 5°C in winters. The relative humidity can up to 100% during summer. It receives a medium to heavy rainfall in the monsoon season.
The history of Patna dates back from the year, 493 BC when Ajatshatru, the king of Magadha, fortified a small village, Pataligrama, which later came to be known as Pataliputra. Located on the high bank of the river, Ganges, the city was established by the son of Ajatshatru, Udayi. In the years that followed, the city saw many dynasties that ruled the Indian subcontinent from there. Pataliputra reached its pinnacle of glory under the Mauryas, and became one of the most important capital cities. Patna became the capital of Bihar when India attained independence in 1947.
Patna Tourism Information
Situated on the southern bank of the holy river, Ganges, Patna is a large city with a considerable population and quite a few places of interest. A typical tropical city o northern India, Patna is famous for its glorious past, especially the period of Magadha and he Mauryan rule. The historical monuments and beautiful countryside make it an interesting place to visit. It is the capital city of the Indian state of Bihar.
This huge beehive shaped granary is the ‘icon’ of Patna and was built in 1786, by Captain John Garstin for the British army after the famine of 1770. The massive structure is 125 metres wide at the base and gradually tapers up to a height of 29 metres. Its walls are 3.6m wide at the base and have two external stairways that spiral upwards around the monument. The top of the dome affords fien view of the city and the river Ganga flowing nearby. Built for storing grains to be used in the times of famines, this round building was completed in 1786 though never used. The construction of Golghar was necessitated following famines like athe one that took place in the region in 1770. The base of the building is 125m in width, and the walls are about 3.6m thick.
It commemorates the seven freedom fighters, who sacrificed their lives during the Quit India movement of August 1942.
Har Mandir Takht
The sacred Sikh shrine (gurudwara) is regarded as one of the five ‘Akal Takhts’ of Sikhism. Guru Gobind Singh, the tenth Guru of the Sikhs, was born here in 1660. The original structure was built by Maharaja Ranjit Singh of Punjab. The second most important gurudwara in India, the Takht Harmandir was built by Guru Gobind Singh, the 10th guru of the Sikhs. The gurudwara built in white marble with kiosks on the terraces consecrates the birthplace of Guru Gobind Singh. It is an important gurudwara for the Sikhs across the globe. The gurdwara is situated in the Chowk area of Patna city, and has a museum on its third floor.
It exhibits splendid metal and stone sculptures dating back to the Maurya and Gupta periods as well as archaeological finds recovered from Nalanda.
Pathar Ki Masjid
The beautiful mosque near har mandir Takht was built by Parwez Shah, the son of Mughal emperor Jehangir.
Khuda Baksh Oriental Library
This magnificent library was established in 1900 and is one of the national libraries in India. It has an excellent one man collection of rare Arabic and Persian manuscripts, Rajput and Mughal paintings, 25mm wide Koran and books from the Moorish University of Cordoba, Spain.
Jalan Museum, Qila House
The museum is situated over the ruins of the Qila House, the site of Sher Shah's fort. It is a private collection containing Chinese paintings and an invaluable collection of silver and jade filigree work of the Mughal period.
Sher Shah Suri Masjid
This is a mosque built by the Afghan ruler, Sher Shah, who defeated Mughal Emperor Humanyun to rule Delhi. Locally known as Shershahi, the mosque was built in 1545, making it the oldest mosque in Patna.
It is the headquarters of Bihar Vidyapeeth, a national university. Dr. Rajendra Prasad, the first President of India, resided here after his retirement. A small museum here exhibits some of his personal belongings.
Agam Kuan or the Unfathomable well
This important archaeological relic is believed to be associated with Mauryan emperor Ashoka, the great.
The 7.5km long bridge over river Ganga, is one of the longest roadway bridges in the world.
Sanjay Gandhi Biological Park
It was established in 1969 and is now one of the 16 largest zoos in the country, housing more than 70 species of animals.
This excellent planetarium at Indira Gandhi Science complex is one of the most important attractions of Patna.
The archaeological site has relics of Patliputra, the glorious capital of Ajatastru, Chandragupta and Ashoka. Excavations have revealed the rich historical legacy of Patna, dating between 600 BC to 600 AD. Other worth visiting sites are Bihar Institute of Handicrafts & Designs, Brila Mandir, Mahaveer mandir, Nawab Shahid- ka – Maqbara, Pachim Darwaza etc. Kumhrar is the remains of the architecture of the region during the Mauryan times, and are impressive though not much could have been unearthed. According to the archaeologists, most of the structures built by the Mauryans were in wood, and they could not survive the high water concentration in the soil in this region. Some of the structures unearthed are remains of a large pillared assembly hall of the Mauryan times, a Buddhist monastery, parts of Anand Bihar, and some clay figures and wooden beams found at the site.
Patna Tour Information
This home of ancient Jain temples is also known as the ‘Jain City’.
The beautiful site is well known for the dargah of the 13th century sufi saint Hazrat Makhdoom Yahiya Maneri. The tomb of his disciple is located nearby. A large number of devotees visit the shrine during the annual Urs celebrations.
Fair & Festival
Chhath Festival (October / November)
It is one of the most important festivals of Bihar and a good harvest of paddy is celebrated during this time. Offerings are made to Sun God and a daylong fast is observed as thanks giving to the Lord of Crop and the creator of the seasons. Devotees walk barefoot in the penance to the venue of the colourful celebrations. Illuminated earthen lamps floating down the river at evening time is a visual spectacle. A week after the festival of lights, i.e., Diwali, is the festival of Chhath. For one night and day, the people of Bihar literally live on the banks of the river, Ganga when a ritual offering is made to the Sun God. The word, chhath denotes the number six and thus, the name itself serves as a remainder of this auspicious day on the festival almanac.
Sonepur Mela (October / November)
The cattle fair held at Sonepur, about 22 km from Patna during the kartik Purnima (October / November), is one of the largest in Asia. The fair lasts for a fortnight and all kinds of domestic and farm animals are bought and sold during this time. Bihar State Tourism Development Corporation Provides accommodation facilities in traditional huts for the visitors. Legend apart, the famous Sonepur fair is more of a cattle trading centre where incredible number of birds and cattle are brought from different parts of the country. Besides, the bewildering array fo wares are on sale, and in addition to this, there are numerous folk shows about which the BBC once remarked, "there's nothing like the Sonepur Cabaret."