Bihar is one of the most exciting and alluring destinations to visit in India. Located to the north of the country, it is rich in culture and ancient sites. From its cities to the small towns and villages, there are many places to visit in Bihar. It is famous for its colourful festivals and deep-rooted customs and values.
The state has a long and rich history. It was known as the kingdom of Magadha, home to many famous dynasties, such as the Mauryans and the Guptas. Pataliputra (modern-day Patna), the capital, is one of the oldest continuously inhabited places in the world.
How to reach Bihar
The state of Bihar is well connected to all the other Indian states.
Patna is connected to all the major Indian cities by air. There is also the internationally connected Jai Prakash Narayan International Airport. Bodh Gaya also has international flights to Bangkok (Thailand) and Paro (Bhutan), mostly for to Buddhist pilgrims.
Trains reach the capital, Patna, from almost every other Indian state. The Patna Rajdhani Express arrives from Delhi, the Jan Shatabdi from Kolkata, the Rajendra Nagar Lokmanya Tilak Express from Mumbai, and the Sanghamitra Express from Bangalore.
Bihar is well connected by road. The National Highways NH 2, 19, 28, 30, 31 connect to all the other corners of the country. There also buses from Ranchi, Jamshedpur, and Kolkata.
Places to visit in Bihar
There are lots of famous historical and natural places to visit in Bihar. Here are some of the most popular.
- Valmiki National Park — located at the India-Nepal border, this is the only National Park in Bihar. The pristine forest and wild Himalayan landscape are filled with tigers, rhinos, elephants, and leopards
- Sanjay Gandhi Jaivik Udyan — this large zoological park and garden in Patna has a pond, a kids’ play area, and a small train all set in a lush landscape.
- Barabar Caves — the oldest surviving rock-cut caves in India, mostly date back to the Mauryan Empire. Some even have Ashokan inscriptions.
- Griddhakuta Peak — also known as “Vulture Peak,” this mountain in Rajgir has historical connections with Buddha and Buddhism.
- Kanwar Lake Bird Sanctuary — this sanctuary is a haven for over 60 species of migratory birds and is located in Begusarai.
- Mahabodhi Temple — this Buddhist Monastery is said to be where Buddha attained enlightenment. Located in Bodh Gaya, this sprawling and serene place is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
- Nalanda University — dating back to the 5th century BC, the ruins of this university were once an educational hub for Buddhist learning. One of the world’s oldest universities, it was sacked by Muslim invaders in the 12th century.
- Vaishali — another important Buddhist and Jain pilgrim destination, this ancient city has one of Ashoka’s many lion pillars. Both Buddha and the Jain leader Mahavira are said to have frequented the place.
- Emperor Sher Shah Suri’s mausoleum — this imposing Afghan style domed, brick tomb was built for in memory of Emperor Sher Shah Suri, Pathan from Bihar.
- Rajgir — a pilgrimage destination for Buddhists, Hindus, and Jains, Rajgir has many historical sites, caves, shrines, and temples.
Interesting facts about the state
Bihar boasts a rich cultural heritage which is primarily associated with Buddhism and Hinduism. It is filled with myths and stories about kings, princes, and sages.
- Art: Bihar’s renowned Madhubani School painting is famous around the world. The people are also skilled at stone pottery, appliqué work, wall hangings, and leather goods.
- Local Bihari food: there are many delicious dishes you should try in Bihar. Some of them are Pittha, Litti, Dhuska, and Khaaja.
- Festivals: the people of Bihar celebrate many vibrant festivals. Among them are Chaath, the Sonepur Fair, as well as the Rajgir, Vaishali, and Buddha Mahotsavs.
The best time to visit Bihar is during the winter. Summers here are extremely hot, and so its best to visit from November to Mid-March.