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.
WHERE TO EAT
There are many multi-cuisine restaurants in the city. Besides Indian, Chinese cuisine is also served. Fast-food and snack counters can be found all across the city.
BEST TIME TO VISIT
The best time to visit Patna is during the months of November to March. March is the time when the Patliputra Mahotsava is held.
WHAT TO SEE
Har Mandir Takht: Built by Maharaja Ranjit Singh in the memory of Guru Gobinb Singh. The gurudwara is one of the four sacred shrines of the Sikhs and is considered to the epicentre of Sikhism in Eastern India. Also known as Gurudwara Patna Sahib, the gurudwara houses belongings of Guru Gobind Singh. One get see the Pangura, which has four gold plated stands and is said to be the cradle of the tenth Guru himself during his infancy. Four iron arrows, a sacred sword of the Guru and a pair of sandals are kept in it.
Golghar: Built by Captain John Garstin for the British Army in 1786, the structure is 29 metre high and has walls 3.6 m wide at the base. From the top of the structure, one can see panoramic views of the city and Ganga river.
Patna Museum: Built in 1917 in Mughal and Rajput style of architecture, the museum houses several metal and stone sculptures of the Mauryan and Gupta era. One also get to see the Fist World War canon and a 16m long fossilised tree, which is about 200 million years old and is considered the longest fossilised tree in the world. It also has collections of Buddhist sculptures, Jain images and Chinese art.
Khuda Baksh Oriental Library: Located on the banks of river Ganga, the library houses collection of rare Arabic and Persian manuscripts, paintings of Mughal and Rajput rulers. It was established in 1900 by Khan Bahudur Khuda Baksh. Today it houses 21000 original and unique manuscripts and 2.5 lakh printed books. The books that survived the sacking of Moorish University of Cordoba and Spain can also be seen.
Mahatma Gandhi Setu: Considered to be Asia’s largest roadway bridge, the Mahatma Gandhi Setu length is 5450 m and comprises 48 pillars. Inaugurated by the former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi in May 1982, it connects Patna with Hajipur city of Bihar.
Pathar ki Masjid: Located on the banks of Ganga river, the mosque was built by Parvez Shah, the son of Mughal Emperor Jahangir in 1621. The mosque is called by several names like Saif Khan’s mosque, Chimmi Ghat mosque, Sangi mosque. The name Pathar ki Masjid is derived from its architecture as it is made of stones. It is located opposite Har Mandir Saheb.
NEAR TO PATNA
Nalanda: Located about 35 km from Patna, Nalanda was a religious centre of learning from the fifth century to 1197 CE. Only ruins remain of the great university.
Maner: Located about 30 km from Patna, Maner is sacred to the memory of the 13th century Sufi Saint Maneri. Bari Dargah, his cenotaph and tomb of his disciple Shah Daulat are visited by Muslims in large numbers.
Bodh Gaya: Located about 111 km from Patna, Bodh Gaya is the place where Gautam Buddha attained enlightenment.
Vaishali: Located about 55 km from Patna, Vaishali is associated with Gautam Buddha and Lord Mahavira. It is popluar for its Buddish structures like Relic stupa, Kutagarasala Vihara, World Peace Pagoda.
The average minimum and maximum temperature of Patna is as given below. The best time to visit Patna is also specified.