Bihar's antiquity is evident from its name, which is derived from the ancient word "VIHARA" (monastery). It is indeed a land of monasteries. Hindu, Buddhist, Jain, Muslim and Sikh shrines abound in this ancient land where India's first major empires rose and fell. Where the ruins of the worlds' earliest university slumbers in the void of time. The passage of Ganga, flowing wide and deep enrich the plains of Bihar before distributing in Bengal's deltoid zone.
Among all Indian states, Bihar is the one most intimately linked to the Buddha’s life, resulting in a trail of pilgrimages which have come to be known as the Buddhist circuit. The Buddhist trail begins at the capital city, Patna, where a noteworthy museum contains a collection of Hindu and Buddhist sculptures as well as a terracotta urn said to contain the ashes of Lord Buddha.

The Buddha spent five years at Rajgir after having attained enlightenment, and many of the remains at Rajgir commemorate various incidents related to life of Buddha, the hill of Gridhrakuta being perhaps the most important, as this is where the Buddha delivered most of his sermons. Bodhgaya is the spot where Lord Buddha attained enlightenment, with the Mahabodhi Temple marking the precise location.

A monastic university flourished in Bihar (Nalanda) from the 5th to the 11th century. It is said to have contained nine million books, with 2,000 teachers to impart knowledge to 10,000 students who came from all over the Buddhist world. Lord Buddha himself taught here and Hieun Tsang, the 7th century Chinese traveler, was a student. Ongoing excavations have uncovered temples, monasteries and lecture halls. Rajgir, ‘the royal palace’, 12 km south, was the venue for the first Buddhist Council.

This landlocked state of Bihar is surrounded by Nepal, Bengal, Orissa, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and comprises four cultural regions-Bhojpur, Mithila and Magadha and Chotanagpur. Rivers Kosi and Gandak from the north and Sone from the south join the Ganga. In the fertile plains, rice, sugarcane, oilseeds, gram, maize, jute, barley and wheat are cultivated.  

Interesting Facts about Bihar

An Abode of Peace! : The word ‘Bihar’ is originally derived from the Sanskrit and Pali word ‘Vihara’ meaning abode. Buddhist monks inhabited most of the regions surrounding the state.

Say No to Violence! : The idea of non-violence originated from Bihar around 2,600 years ago. The Great Lord Buddha and Lord Mahavir were propagators of this thought.

Birthplace of Two Religions! : Bihar is the origin of the two biggest religions in the world, namely Buddhism and Jainism.

World’s Oldest University! : Nalanda library was set on fire by the army of Bakhtiyar Khilji. The library was believed to hold 9 million manuscripts and took 3 full months to burn down into ashes.

The Oldest Hindu Temple! : The Mundeshwari temple in Bihar is known as the oldest Hindu temple in India. The temple is dedicated to both Lord Shiva and his wife, Shakti.

Home to a Mathematics Genius! : Aryabhatta who gave zero number to the world, the nine planets’ theory, and trigonometric rules was from Bihar.

Father of the Nation! : The first Prime Minister of Mauritius, Seewoosagur Ramgoolam hailed from Bihar.

A Holy Place of Sikhs! : Bihar is the birthplace of the tenth Guru of Sikhs, Shri Guru Gobind Singh Ji Maharaj and the holy place of Sikhs is Takhat Sri Harimandir Ji Patna Sahib.

The Backbone of Indian Politics! : You can’t think of Indian politics without Bihar. India’s first president Dr Rajendra Prasad belonged to Bihar, and is also the land of prominent political figures.

The IAS Churner Factory! : Bihar has given India a lot of IAS officers. It is regarded as the second most important state that has produced several IAS officers.

First Republic : Vaishali district is considered the first republic in the world. It became a republic by the 6th century BC. Vaishali is also the birthplace of Lord Mahavir.

A Centre for Tourism! : The tomb of Sher Shah Suri and Maner Sharif have magnificent architecture. Tourists also come in large numbers to the Mahabodhi temple.

Bihari Cuisines! : The mouth-watering and delicious Litti-Chokha, Bihari Kebab, Thekua, Khaja are enough to make you a fan of Bihari cuisine.

A Center of Trade and Economy! : During the Vedic period, Bihar was the center of trade and economy. Whereas, Magadha, Vaishali, Mithila, Anga, Sakyapradesh, Vijji, Janaka were considered as important kingdoms.

Asia’s Largest Cattle Fair! : Coinciding with the post-harvest season for paddy, the Sonepur fair is the largest cattle fair in Asia.

An iconic symbol of Bihar Culture! : Chhath Puja is an important festival celebrated in Bihar since Vedic times. The festival is devoted to Lord Surya (Sun) and Chhathi Maiya.

Home to the Greatest Emperors! : Famous Indian emperors Chandragupta Maurya, Samudragupta, Vikram Aditya, and Ashoka the Great were from Bihar.

World’s Longest Free Wi-Fi Range! : In 2014, the longest free Wi-Fi range in the world was launched in Patna by the Government of Bihar. It spans over a whopping 20 km.

Hosted the First Buddhist Council! : Rajgir, ‘the royal palace,’ a city and a notified area in Nalanda district in Bihar, was the venue for the first Buddhist Council.

Where the Buddha delivered most of his sermons! : The hill of Gridhrakuta in Rajgir is perhaps the most important place related to the life of Buddha, where the Buddha delivered most of his sermons.

The Springboard for India’s independence! : Motihari was perhaps the first laboratory of the Gandhian experiment in Satyagraha, and it would be apt to say that it has been the springboard for India’s independence.

India’s Highest Stupa! : Kesaria Stupa, a lofty brick mound capped by a solid brick tower, is the highest Stupa found in the country with a height of about 104” from the base.

Home to India’s Most Celebrated Mathematician! : Best known for his Super 30 program, Anand Kumar is a mathematics genius from Patna. His Super 30 program prepares economically backward students for IIT-JEE.

India’s Most Successful Cricket Captain is from Bihar! : MS Dhoni was born in Ranchi, Bihar (now, in Jharkhand) and is considered India’s most successful cricket captain.