Bihar is known for its rich fertile lands and a wealth of ancient monasteries. The word “Bihar” is derived from “Vihara”, which means monastery. Shrines for Hindus, Sikhs, Muslims, Buddhists and Jains are present in the state at different locations. Ancient remains of existing universities and religious sites revel much more about this land that witnessed several wars and annexations in the past. Ganga, the pious river flows through Bihar making it a major attraction for devotees worldwide. The state is also famous for its religious connections to Lord Buddha. Museums and monasteries have preserved ancient collections related to this great saint. The question of what to do in Bihar thus has several answers. To know more about Bihar and its unique attractions, get yourself ready and set out to explore this land of ancient wonders and tales. Indian Holiday gives an insight on what to do and what not to do in Bihar.
Things to do in Bihar:
When it comes to ancient civilization, Bihar has its name high up in the list among other states. On visiting this excellent destination, you get to visit various religious sites with ancient fables and mythological tales, refreshing waterfalls, mesmerizing mountains, peaceful lakes and various historic sites. The festivals celebrated in the state are the best that you can be a part of. Some of the places to visit in Bihar are:
Vaishali:-Vaishali has a mention in the ancient epic of Ramayana. It is an important place for its significant connections to the Jains and the Buddhists. The place lies at a distance of 55 kilometers from Patna. Vaishali derives its name from famous King Visala. The destination is known to be the first republic for the kingdom of Lichchavis. This is the place where Lord Mahavira was born. He was the 24th Tirthankar in Jainism. The place is also significant in religious context as this was where Lord Buddha delivered his last sermon. Vaishali is thus an important pilgrim site for both Jains and Buddhists. Some of the notable attractions to check out include Ashokan pillars and Vishwa Shanti Stupa.
Bodhgaya:-Bodhgaya is one of the most significant destinations to visit in Bihar. It is located close to the capital city of the state. It’s a pilgrim site for the Buddhists worldwide, for this is the place where Lord Buddha attained enlightenment. The place where the divine enlightenment took place is now a temple called the Mahabodhi Temple. Bodhgaya also has several attractive monasteries and museums sheltering important documents and remains from the past.
Nalanda:-Nalanda is yet another wonderful destination to visit in Bihar. This is the place that saw the birth of the famous Nalanda University. The university was the seat of Buddhist learning and had scholars coming from all over the world. Some of the attractions to check out in this ancient destination are Hiuen Tsang Memorial Hall, ruins of Nalanda University, Nav Nalanda Vihar, Surya Mandir and the Nalanda Museum.
Patna:-The capital city of Bihar has numerous attractions to be explored. The city has witnessed various kingdoms and had even been an administrative capital for many of the empires. Patna was known by the name of Patliputra, which was the ancient capital for the Gupta dynasty and the Maurya kingdom. Patna is a pilgrim destination for many as the city holds some of the best shrines and temples. Some of such well known religious sites include Khankah Mujibia, Hanuman Temple, Sadaquat Ashram and Dargah Sharif.
Rajgir:-Blessed with natural beauty and sheltering some of the best attractions, Rajgir is a great place to visit. It’s a hill town, which spells magic with its beauty. Rajgir served as a capital to Magadh Mahajanpad. This is the place, which saw Lord Buddha deliver various sermons in the past. Rajgir also was the place that got its first Buddhist Council.
Pawapuri:-Pawapuri is a holy destination for the Jains. This is the place where the 24th Tirthankar, Lord Mahavira breathed his last in 500 BC. The place where his funeral pyre stood had a water tank. As the story goes, after his death the huge demand for the Lord’s ashes created the water tank as too much of soil was removed from around the area. This place later got a temple called the “Jalmandir”, which is built at the center of the tank.
Vikramshila:-Vikramshila is yet another renowned destination in Bihar. The place now holds the remains from famous Vikramshila University. The university was founded by King Dharampala from the Pala dynasty. It came up during 783-820 BC and became a notable learning ground for the Buddhists. The university was later destroyed by Muslim invaders in 1200. Some remains of this ancient university can be found in a village called Antichak in Bhagalpur district of Bihar. The educational centre practiced Tantric Buddhism. The place also sheltered about 54 temples. Some of them had idols of Atisa and Nagarjuna, who were renowned scholars of the university.
Other attractions to explore in Bihar:
There is much more to explore in the holy land of Bihar. Have a look some of the popular places to visit in the state.
Bhimband:-Located at about 56 kilometers from Munger and lying at a distance of 200 kilometers from Patna, Bhimband is famous for its Wildlife Sanctuary, which shelters a host of animals such as nilgai, tiger, barking deer, sloth bear, sambhar, wild antelop and wild bear. The place has a forest, which stretches for about 681,99 square kilometers. At the foothills of the valley surrounding Bhimband, there are hot springs, which are the finest in the country.
Sita Kund:- Sita Kund in Bihar too has a religious significance. It is located in Munger town. It is famous for its hot spring, which has a religious significance and a mythological connection to an episode from the Ramayana. As per the story from the epic, Sita was asked to prove her chastity after being rescued from the clutches of the demon king, Ravan by Lord Ram. She walked into the fire pyre and came out unscathed. She then bathed herself in the spring, which absorbed the heat she had absorbed from the pyre. From then on, it became a hot spring and till date carries a holy significance.
Janki Temple:- Janki Temple at Sitamarhi is another significant attraction to check out in Bihar. The temple is known to be the birthplace of Janki or Sita, the wife of Lord Rama from Ramayana. This is an ancient temple and is flooded by devotees all through the year.
Kakolat:- Kakolat is a great pilgrim site in Nawada in Bihar. It is a waterfall in Gobindpur police station. The waterfall is about 160 feet from the ground. The waterfall is associated with an ancient mythological tale, which talks about an episode from the Mahabharata. As the story goes, Treta King was cursed by a saint and he turned into a python. He terrorized the area until it was visited by the Pandavas who released the curse of the king and set him free. The king blessed the waterfall and proclaimed that those who bathed in the waterfall will be safe from snakes.
Bihar has several other great places to be explored. While some of them were seat of national struggle for independence, others are ancient heritage and carry some interesting tales from the past.
What to be a part of in Bihar:
Bihar is a place rich in culture and tradition. Every festival is celebrated with great gusto. Some of the fairs held in the state are world famous and worth a visit.
Sonepur Cattle Fair:- It’s a magnanimous cattle fair held in Sonepur. Cattle trading are a grand affair here. From birds of various kinds to pets of different species, you get it all here. The fair also food stalls and stalls selling handicrafts.
Makar Sankranti Mela:- Rajgir celebrates the festival of Makar Sankranti in the best way, i.e; with the famous Makar Sankranti Mela. Devotees from all over the world gather at the Hot spring and offer flowers and prayers in January. The fair has a religious significance and is thus flooded by devotees.
Pitrapaksha Mela:- Gaya brims with enthusiasm in the month of September by celebrating Pitrapaksha Mela. During this time, ancestors are worshipped and paid homage.
Other fairs and festivals like Ram Navami, Nag Panchami, Chath and Shiv Ratri are quite famous in Bihar.
What not to do in Bihar:
Now that you know what to do when in Bihar, you must take a note of the things that you must not do so as to have a memorable vacation in Bihar.
- Do not carry too much cash while traveling.
- Carry fewer luggages to avoid hassles.
- Do not trust strangers.
- Ladies must not travel alone and if they are, must carry pepper spray, emergency phone numbers, cell-phone and make other precautionary arrangements.
- Carry clothes as per the season and the temperature of the place you are traveling to.
- Avoid taking eatables from strangers.
- Theft is a common problem and therefore be careful with expensive goods like camera, cell phones and money bag.
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