One of the oldest inhabited cites in the world, Patna is the capital city of Bihar. Located on the banks of holy Ganga river, the city stands at the confluence of four rivers. Besides Hindus, the city is held sacred by Sikhs too.
Earlier called Pataliputra, the city has a history of over two millennia. It was Ajatshatru, the Magadha king who built a small fort in Pataligram on the banks of Ganga river in the 6th century BC. He was succeeded by his son Udayi who developed the village into a town and Pataliputra was formed.
Later the city became the capital of several dynasties, who gave it a new name including Kusum Dhvaja, Pataligrama, Azimabad, Padmavati and Pushpapura. The golden period of the city came under the rule of the Maurya Kings. During the Mauryan era, many great scholars and astrologists like Ashvaghosha, Vatsyayana, Chanakya, Aryabhatta, Sthalabhadra and Panini lived in the city.
The city came under the rule of the British in the 17th century and became an international trade centre. By 1912, it became the capital of the British province of Bihar and Orissa. During the British regime, many buildings were constructed in Indo- Saracenic style of architecture like the Patna museum which is one of the major attractions of the city.
It is also known for its Buddhist remains and is a sacred place for Sikh pilgrims. The tenth Sikh Guru, Guru Gobind Singh was born in Patna in 1660. The Har Mandir Takht, one of the four sacred shrines of the Sikhs stands in the city. There are five other Gurdwaras in the city which are related to different Sikh Gurus.
Golghar built by Captain John Garstin for the British army in 1786, Padri Ki Haveli, Khuda Baksh Oriental Library and Martyr's Memorial are some of the important buildings in the city. Gandhi Setu, Asia longest roadway bridge, connects Patna to Hajipur.
Chhath festival is one of the prime festivals celebrated in Patna with huge fervour. The festival is celebrated for six days after Diwali. The Patliputra Mahotsava is also a major festival, where one gets to see culture of Bihar and enjoy the folk dance and music.
Patna is also an ideal place for those interested in painting and jewelry. Stone and bead-jewellery, Mahdubani paintings and Khadi cloths are popular souvenir items.
Where to stay
There are ample of accommodation options in the city. Budget, mid-range hotels and even tourist bungalows run by the state tourism department are available.