An excellent place for rural and religious tourism, Bihar once known as Magadha, has a history to tell about. A unique amalgamation of ancient civilization, religion, history and culture that is identifiable with India.
(Clockwise from top: MahaBodhi temple, Barabar Caves, Sleeping Vishnu at Vishnupad temple, Vikramshila ruins, Mount Mandar, Ropeway at Rajgir)
An excellent place for rural and religious tourism, Bihar once known as Magadha, has a history to tell about. A unique amalgamation of ancient civilization, religion, history and culture that is identifiable with India. Here are few of the must-visit places, incase you’re planning a trip.
One of the major pilgrimage places for Buddhists, BodhGaya is the place where Buddha attained enlightenment. The magnificent Maha Bodhi temple built in the honour, is an architectural amalgamation of many centuries, cultures and heritages. Interestingly, the name of the state originated from the word ‘Vihar’ meaning monasteries. While the temple’s architecture shows a distinct work of the Gupta era, it also has inscriptions describing visits of pilgrims from Sri Lanka, Myanmar and China between 7th and 10th century AD.
Other places in and around BodhGaya like Ratnagarh, Chakramana, hold reminisces of Buddha’s enlightenment. The Barabar Caves, an important archaeological site, carved out of solid rocks are rightly considered as the origin of Indian cave architecture.
About thirteen kilometers from BodhGaya lies the Vishnupad Temple, with its huge footprint of a sleeping Lord Vishnu engraved on rock. It is believed that the ritual of Pinda Daan if performed here, liberate the souls of our deceased elders, as well as provide salvation and release from rebirth.
Known as one of the major silk producing centres in India, Bhagalpur has a history to be proud of. The tale of Samudra Manthan from Hindu mythology, speaks of churning of the ocean of milk, where the tool used to churn was a mountain ‘Mandar.’ Presently, this mountain is located on the state highway, about 40 kilometres from Bhagalpur.
There is a reason why the festival of Chhath is widely celebrated all over Bihar. Karna, a character from the epic Mahabharat, son of Kunti and the Sun god Surya, was born here- then known as Anga Pradesh.
Vikramshila, one of the largest universities of the world between 5th and 11th century, is located at a distance of fifty kilometres from Bhagalpur. Considered as one of the premier universities of the era, this place had more than hundred teachers and thousands of students.
The Jain Temple located here, is a famous destination for followers of Jainism, as the twelfth Tirthankar Vasupujya and twenty fourth tirthankar Mahavir were born there. Built of white marble, the temple has a lake full of lotuses, flowing nearby.
Known to be the first capital of Magadha, this was the origin of the magnificent Maurya empire. The hot water springs, known as Brahmakunds, are believed to cure skin diseases and are sacred to Hindus. One of the biggest attraction of the region is the ropeway that leads to Vishwa Shanti Stupa. Other tourist attractions are: Bimbisara’s jail, Ajatshatru Fort, Jarasandha Akhara.
Bihar was the centre of business and infrastructure, before Mughal rule took over India. Pilgrims belonging to a number of religions were attracted to Sufi saints, because of their liberal mindsets and preaching. The most beautifully constructed tombs of Mughal rulers in Bihar are that of Sher Shah Suri’s, built in the center of a large artificial lake at Sasaram and of Shah Daulat’s on the banks of the River Ganges in Maner.
The places are well connected by rail and road routes. Major airports are Patna and BodhGaya. Apart from the mentioned places there are a number of historical sites to visit in Bihar. Stay tuned for more!