Patna Travel Guide
places to visit
places to visit
Patna has a 3,000-year history. The rich culture and heritage of Bihar is evident from the innumerable ancient monuments that dot the region. Patna is home to many tourist attractions. About 2,500,000 (2.5 million) tourists visit Patna every year.
Kumhrar, Agam Kuan is the site of the ruins of the Ashokan Patliputra. Didarganj Yakshi is a fine example of Mauryan art and may be India's most famous piece of art. The famous Hanuman Mandir has the second highest budget in North India after the famous Vaishno Devi shrine. Patan Devi is the oldest temple and Patna's name is derived from Patan , the name of the Hindu goddess of this temple.Birla Mandir and Kali Mandir are other famous Hindu temples.
Takht Sri Patna Sahib is one of the Five Takhts of Sikhism and consecrates the birthplace of the tenth Guru of the Sikhs, Gobind Singh. There are five other Gurdwaras in Patna which are related to different Sikh Gurus; these are Gurdwara Pahila Bara, Gurdwara Gobind Ghat, Gurdwara Guru ka Bagh, Gurdwara Bal Leela and Gurdwara Handi Sahib.
Phulwari Sharif, Maner Sharif, Sher Shah Suri Masjid, Pathar ki Masjid, Nagholkothi and Begu Hajjam's mosque are of great religious importance to Muslims and examples of unique Mughal architecture of the Middle Ages.
Padri Ki Haveli, High Court, Golghar and State Secretariat Building are examples of unique British architecture. Darbhanga House, Sadaqat Ashram, Kargil Chowk and Saheed Smarak are monuments and M.G Setu is one of the longest single river bridges in the world. Patna Museum, Patna Planetarium, Sri Krishna Science Centre, Jaivik Udyan, Patna and Qila House (Jalan House) are the different types of infotainment complexes.
Patna is also a gateway to famous locations like Aara, Bodh Gaya, Gaya, Vaishali, Pawapuri, Nalanda, Rajgir, Maner, Vikramshila and Muzaffarpur.
Get there and around
get there and around
Patna was among pioneer selected towns of India having horse-drawn trams as urban transport. Now days, Public transport in Patna is provided by buses, auto rickshaws and a Local trains. Auto rickshaws are the most popular means of public transportation in Patna, as they charge lower . Most run on diesel and are yellow and black in colour. Buses are also one of the popular means of public transportation in Patna.
Public transport is one area where Patna lacks quite a lot. Traffic congestion is another problem. As of now, only private buses ply on city roads and often very crowded and uncomfortable. So if you are looking at comfort, there are many car rentals in Patna that provide A/C & Non-A/C cars on hire at reasonable rates. Recently, the government has appointed a private consultant Mr. Sudeep Arun Kumar (UK based NRI) to overhaul the Traffic and public transport system. The government has also placed orders for over 50 low floor A/C and Non-A/C buses to ease congestion on city roads under JNNURM. This move will improve traffic and public transport facilities in and around Patna.
Patna is also an important transit point of Bihar for the tourists dropping in from the other states of India. Patna is well-connected by air, rail and road transport. Patna has its own airport known as Lok Nayak Jayaprakash Airport or Airport Patna. It is an national airport and it is connected to all major city of India via daily flights.
Patna is well served by a network of well maintained roads. Patna is also connected through National Highway NH 19, NH 30-NH 31 & NH 83. Road distance from other major City. from Delhi - 1,015 km North-East (by road), from Mumbai - 1,802 km North-East (by road) and From Kolkata - 556 km North-West (by road).
Railways also served as means of public transportation in Patna. However Patna is a major junction in the rail map of India. The five main railway stations are Patna Junction, Rajendranagar Terminal, Gulzarbag Station, Danapur Junction and Patna Shahib Station. Among them Patna Shahib Station is oldest one. The main line of the Eastern Railway passes through the entire length of the district running parallel to the Ganga. There are three railway lines running across the district from north to south viz., the Patna - Gaya Branch line the Fatuha - Islampur Light Railway and the Bakhtiarpur-Rajgir Branch line. Except the Light Railway, the other two are branches of the Eastern Railway. With the opening of the famous Patna-Hajipur Bridge (Mahatma Gandhi Setu), the ferry service connencting the capital with the North-Eastern Railway System has Ceased to function.
Bihar is connected by National Waterways No. 1 which established in October 1986. This National Waterways has fixed terminals at Haldia, BISN (Kolkata), Pakur, Farrakka and Patna. This National Waterways has also floating terminals facilities at Haldia, Kolkata, Diamond Harbour, Katwa, Tribeni, Baharampur, Jangipur, Bhagalpur, Semaria, Doriganj, Ballia, Ghazipur, Varanasi, Chunar and Allahabad.
patna About this sound pronunciation is the capital of the Indian state of Bihar. The modern city of Patna is situated on the southern bank of the Ganges. The city also straddles the rivers Kosi, Sone and Gandak. Patna is approximately 25 km long and 9 km to 10 km wide. Patna is 14th most populous cities in India with approximately 1.8 million and 168th most populous agglomerations in world . It's the largest city in Eastern India after Kolkata. Today, all major companies have a base in Patna reflecting the growing importance of the city. The city is growing rapidly with bouyant development in sectors including retail and property. It is also fast emerging as hub of higher education with institutes of national repute being started in Patna.
Apart from being the administrative centre of the state and its historic importance, the city is also a major educational and medical centre. The Economy of patna is based on local service industry. Patna is recording the highest per capita gross district domestic product of Rs 31,441 in Bihar which better than the most of the metropolitan in India Patna is 21st fastest growing city and urban areas in world and 5th fastest growing city in India. In June 2009, The World Bank ranked Patna as the second best city in India to start a business, after Delhi.
Patna is one of oldest continuously inhabited places in the world.. Ancient Patna, known as Pataliputra, was the capital of the Magadha Empire under the Haryanka, Nanda, Mauryan, Sunga, Gupta, Pala and Suri dynasties. Pataliputra was also a famous seat of learning and fine arts. Its population during Maurya period (around 300 BCE), was about 400,000. The walled old area, called Patna City by the locals, is a major trading centre.
The Buddhist, Hindu, and Jain pilgrim centres of Vaishali, Rajgir , Nalanda, Bodhgaya, and Pawapuri are nearby and Patna is also a sacred city for Sikhs. The Sikh Guru, Founder and first Commander-in-Chief of Sikh Khalsa Army, Guru Gobind Singh, was born Here.
Legend ascribes the origin of Patna to a mythological King Putraka who created Patna by magic for his queen Patali, literally Trumpet flower, which gives it its ancient name Pataligrama. It is said that in honour of the first born to the queen, the city was named Pataliputra. Gram is the Sanskrit for village and Putra means son.
Legend also says that the Emerald Buddha was created in Patna (then Pataliputra) by Nagasena in 43 BC.
From a scientific history perspective, it would be appropriate to surmise that the history of Patna started around the year 490 BCE when Ajatashatru, the king of Magadha, wanted to shift his capital from the hilly Rajagaha to a more strategically located place to combat the Licchavis of Vaishali. He chose the site on the bank of Ganges and fortified the area. From that time, the city has had a continuous history, a record claimed by few cities in the world. When founded, it was known as "Pataligrama" and in later years it was "Pataliputra" which is today's Patna. Gautama Buddha passed through this place in the last year of his life, and he had prophesized a great future for this place, but at the same time, he predicted its ruin from flood, fire, and feud. It is said that Buddha made a halt here when he was on the last journey to his native land of Kapilavastu.
With the rise of the Mauryan empire, the place became the seat of power and nerve centre of the sub-continent. From Pataliputra, the famed emperor Chandragupta Maurya (a contemporary of Alexander) ruled a vast empire, stretching from the Bay of Bengal to Afghanistan.
View of Gai Ghat from Gandhi Setu Bridge, Patna.
Early Mauryan Patliputra was mostly built with wooden structures. Emperor Ashoka, the grandson of Chandragupta Maurya, transformed the wooden capital into a stone construction around 273 BCE. Chinese scholar Fa Hein, who visited India sometime around 399-414 CE, has given a vivid description of the stone structures in his travelogue.
Megasthenes (350-290 BCE), Greek historian and ambassador to the court of Chandragupta Maurya, gives the first written account of Patliputra. In his book Indika, he mentions that the city of Palibothra (Pataliputra, modern day Patna) was situated on the confluence of the rivers Ganges and Arennovoas (Sonabhadra - Hiranyawah) and was 9 miles (14 km) long and 1.75 miles (2.82 km) wide.. Michael Wood in The Story of India (2007) describes this city to be the greatest city on earth during its hayday.
Much later, a number of Chinese travellers came to India in pursuit of knowledge and recorded their observation about Pataliputra in their travelogues, including those of a Chinese Buddhist Fa Hien, who visited India, between 399 and 414 CE, and stayed here for many months translating Buddhist texts.
In the years that followed, the city saw many dynasties ruling the Indian subcontinent from here. It saw the rules of the Gupta empire and the Pala kings. However, it never reached the glory that it had under the Mauryas.
Harmandir Saheb, Patna City
With the disintegration of the Gupta empire, Patna passed through uncertain times. Bakhtiar Khilji captured Bihar in the 12th century AD and destroyed many ancient seats of learning, Patna lost its prestige as the political and cultural center of India.
Guru Gobind Singh (December 22, 1666 – October 7, 1708), the tenth Guru of the Sikhs was born as Gobind Rai in Patna to Teg Bahadur, the ninth Guru of the Sikhs, and his wife Gujri. His birth place Harmandir saheb is a one of most sacred pilgrimage for Sikhs.
The Mughal period was a period of unremarkable provincial administration from Delhi. The most remarkable period during these times was under Sher Shah Suri who revived Patna in the middle of the 16th century. He built a fort and found a town on the banks of Ganga. Sher Shah's fort in Patna does not survive, but the mosque, Sher Shah Suri Masjid, built in Afghan architectural style survives.
Mughal emperor Akbar came to Patna in 1574 to crush the Afghan Chief Daud Khan. Akbar's navratna and state's official historian and author of "Ain-i-Akbari" Abul Fazl refers to Patna as a flourishing centre for paper, stone and glass industries. He also refers to the high quality of numerous strains of rice grown in Patna famous as Patna rice in Europe.
By 1620 the city of Patna, which was revived by Sher Shah Suri in year 1541, was the great entrepot of Northern India - "the largest town in Bengal and the most famous for trade". This was before the founding of the city of Calcutta.
Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb acceded to the request of his favourite grandson Prince Muhammad Azim to rename Patna as Azimabad, in 1704 while Azim was in Patna as the subedar. However, very little changed during this period other than the name.
With the decline of the Mughal empire, Patna moved into the hands of the Nawabs of Bengal, who levied a heavy tax on the populace but allowed it to flourish as a commercial centre.
City of Patna, on the River Ganges, 19th century painting.
The mansions of the Maharaja of Tekari Raj dominated the Patna riverfront in 1811-12.
During the 17th century, Patna became a centre of international trade. The British started with a factory in Patna in 1620 for trading in calico and silk. Soon it became a trading centre for saltpetre, urging other Europeans—French, Danes, Dutch and Portuguese—to compete in the lucrative business. Peter Mundy, writing in 1632, described Patna as "the greatest mart of the eastern region".
Shaheed Smarak or Martyr's Memorial Patna
After the decisive Battle of Buxar (1765), Patna fell in the hands of the East India Company which installed a puppet government. Ruled during the raj by a series of ineffectual Viceroys, the most well known was Rahul Gunderjaharagand. During this period it continued as a trading centre.
In 1912, Patna became the capital of Orissa Province and Bihâr when Bengal Presidency was partitioned. It soon emerged as an important and strategic centre. A number of imposing structures were constructed by the British. Credit for designing the massive and majestic buildings of colonial Patna goes to the architect, I. F. Munnings. Most of these buildings reflect either Indo-Saracenic influence (like Patna Museum and the state Assembly), or overt Renaissance influence like the Raj Bhawan and the High Court. Some buildings, like the General Post Office (GPO) and the Old Secretariat bear pseudo-Renaissance influence. Some say, the experience gained in building the new capital area of Patna proved very useful in building the imperial capital of New Delhi. Orissa was created as a separate province in 1935. Patna continued as the capital of Bihar province under the British Raj.
Gol Ghar, Patna 19th century painting.
Patna played a major role in the Indian independence struggle. Most notable are the Champaran movement against the Indigo plantation and the 1942 Quit India Movement. Patna's contribution in the freedom struggle has been immense with outstanding national leaders like Swami Sahajanand Saraswati, the first President of the Constituent Assembly of India Dr. Sachidanand Sinha, Dr. Rajendra Prasad, Bihar Vibhuti Anugrah Narayan Sinha, Basawon Singh (Sinha), Loknayak Jayaprakash Narayan, Sri Krishna Sinha, Sheel Bhadra Yajee, Sarangdhar Sinha(Singh), Yogendra Shukla, and many others who worked for India's freedom relentlessly. Shrii Anandamurti formed the Ananda Marga movement in Patna in 1962 to worked for world unity and justice. He moderized the ancient practices of yoga and made the most advanced practices of meditation abvailabe to the general public. He spoke about the inequality of women (both in India and worldwide). As an example, he questioned the morality of the dowry system of marriage and the Indian caste system. His Ananda Marga organization spread worldwide and teaches both neo-humanism (oneness of family of life) and PROUT (Progressive Utilization Theory) for overall economic development. He is considered a leader in the field of philosophy and morality.
Patna continued to be the capital of the state of Bihar after independence in 1947, though Bihar itself was partitioned again in 2000 when Jharkhand was carved out as a separate state of the Indian union.