Gol Ghar

Resembling a beehive, this impressive building is situated near the Gandhi Maidan, at the heart of Patna. Literally translated, 'gol ghar' means round house, as the building has a circular shape, with amazingly, no pillars to support it from within. It stands tall at 29 m, with 3.6-m-wide base walls, making it an architectural marvel that’s worth a visit.

The structure was built by British army's captain, John Garstin, as a huge granary for his soldiers, when a famine struck this region in 1770. Thousands of people were fed from this giant granary as at one time, it could hold over 13,000 tonne of grains.

A staircase, built on the outer part of its wall, was used by porters to carry sacks of grains to the top of the building to fill it. There is a hole on the top into which the grain sacks used to be emptied. Today, the stairway is taken by tourists and city dwellers to reach the top of Gol Ghar and enjoy a panoramic view of the city and the Ganga river flowing by.

Interestingly, Gol Ghar has never been filled to its maximum capacity as there were rumours that the doors of the granary open inwards, making passage impossible in case it is full. It is surrounded by a lush green garden – a perfect place for a family picnic once you have explored the historical monument. The structure is under renovation currently, the aim being to improve its appearance.

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