Bihar is one of the oldest states in India. The Land of Buddha, as it is popularly called, has a rich cultural heritage which is evident from the numerous ancient monuments that are spread throughout the state. Bihar attracts many tourists from all over the world. The hospitality and warmth of the local people lures many tourists throughout the year. Around 6 million tourists travel to Bihar every year.
Ancient Bihar, known as Magadha, was the center of power, learning, and culture in India for 1000 years. India’s first empire, the Maurya empire as well as Buddhism arose from the region that now makes modern Bihar. The Mauryan empire, originated from Magadha in 325 BC, was started by Chandragupta Maurya who was born in Magadha, and had its capital at Pataliputra (modern Patna). The Mauryan Emperor, who was born in Patliputra (Patna) is believed to be one of the greatest rulers in the history of India and the world
Bihar is a very sacred place for many religions. It is an important religious destination for pilgrims from various religions like Jainism, Hinduism, Sikhism, Islam and Buddhism. The temples in Bihar are very attractive and have rich historical connections. The Buddhist shrines are exquisite and the UNESCO world heritage site is quite a sight.
Northern Bihar – Sitamarhi and Sonepur
Northern part of Bihar is dominated by Sitamarhi and Sonepur. Other towns of Northern Bihar are Madhubani, Balmiki Nagar and Muzaffurpur. There are some great tourist spots in this region. You can visit Sitamarhi if you are interested in learning hindu mythology. This place is a cultural extravaganza. The festivals and rituals that take place here are most sought-after by the public. You can spend a day or two offering your worship to the almighty. The picturesque location of these temples helps you feel relaxed through the journey.
If you have a couple of more days in hand, visiting Sonepur is not a bad idea. The Sonepur Mela that is held every November is a visual treat for any tourist. The cattle fair is a huge even in this part of Bihar and people come from all over the world to watch it.
Southern Bihar – Bodhgaya and Nalanda
The Southern part of Bihar is dominated by religious destinations like Bodhgaya and Nalanda. Bodhgaya is a major Buddhist shrine close to capital city of Patna. The travel to this place is quite beautiful. Tourists swarm in throughout the year to capture a glimpse of the birthplace of Buddhism. To spend a day or two in this part of Bihar will be an enjoyable and a learning experience for any tourist.
Nalanda is another very important place in southern Bihar. If you are travelling from Patna, it takes you a day to travel. The ruins of Nalanda University are very popular because of the historical significance of the ancient Buddhist learning centres.
Other attractions include the Hiuen Tsang Memorial Hall, Nalanda Museum, Nav Nalanda Vihar and the Surya Mandir. The tourists visiting this part of Bihar hardly miss these places. You can spend a day or two to take a look at the museum, libraries and the temples. There is scope for some shopping too in southern Bihar. You can bring home some exotic handicrafts, paintings and photographs.