Bihar: The Land of History, Culture and Religious Harmony


Bihar is a state in East India, bordering Nepal. With a population of over 100 million people, it is the third most populous state in India. Bihar has a long and rich history going back over 2500 years.

An Ancient Land

Bihar was part of the ancient Magadha kingdom, which was the center of power, learning and commerce in India from the 6th century BCE to the 8th century CE. Magadha saw the rise of the Maurya and Gupta empires, which ruled over most of South Asia. Bihar was also the birthplace of the 24th and last Jain Tirthankara, Lord Mahavira, as well as the Buddha.

Home of Religions

Bihar is considered a holy land by religions like Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism. It has many pilgrimage sites like the Mahabodhi Temple complex in Bodh Gaya, the most holy place for Buddhists. For Sikhs, Patna Sahib Gurudwara commemorates the birthplace of Guru Gobind Singh. Places like Rajgir, Vaishali and Pawapuri are revered by Jains while sites like Vishnupad Temple in Gaya and Sita Kund in Sitamarhi are important to Hindus.

Rich Culture

The culture of Bihar reflects its ancient roots. Its language, music, dance forms, cuisine, festivals and arts & crafts showcase a tapestry of indigenous traditions. Folk songs and dances like jhumar, jitiya and chhau are integral parts of Bihari culture. Sujani embroidery, Manjusha art and Madhubani paintings are its most famous handicrafts.

Bihar’s pluralistic society celebrates festivals and customs of various religions with zeal. Chhath, the most popular festival, transcends caste and creed. Bihar also has a thriving theater culture centered around the Bhojpuri cinema industry.

Land of Jungle Raj

This period of crime and corruption has become known as the ‘Jungle Raj’ in Indian political discourse. However, in recent years, increased investment in infrastructure and socio-economic development has led to a revival in Bihar. The state has seen rapid growth and improvement in all spheres under the leadership of Chief Minister Nitish Kumar.

With its rich past, vibrant culture and traditions, and signs of progress, Bihar has emerged as a fascinating tourist destination. The land awaits to captivate visitors with its living heritage.

Here are some additional details about Bihar:

Cuisine: Bihari cuisine includes delicacies like litti chokha (baked clay balls stuffed with sattu flour), khichdi, sattu paratha, thekua (sweet snack), khaja (fritters), thekua (cookies), malpua and peda. A typical Bihari meal consists of rice, roti, dal, sabzi and achar.

Languages: Hindi and Urdu are the official languages of Bihar. Other languages spoken here include Bhojpuri, Maithili, Magahi, Bajjika and Angika.

Festivals: Apart from Chhath Puja, other major festivals celebrated in Bihar are Holi, Diwali, Durga Puja, Eid, Buddha Purnima, Mahavir Jayanti, Christmas and Makar Sankranti.

Arts & Crafts: Madhubani paintings, Manjusha art, Sujani embroidery, lac bangles, stone pottery, haystack paintings and Kalaram stone sculptures are some of the popular crafts of Bihar.

Music & Dance: Chhau, a classical dance drama, is a tradition from the eastern region of Bihar. Other folk dances include jitti, natua, natwari, bhagoria, jhumair, jhumta, jat jatin, launda nach, bidapad nach, soowa nach, parw nach, jat nach, birha nach and gond nach. Bhojpuri folk songs are also quite popular.

Education: Bihar has been a learning center from ancient times, being home to the universities of Nalanda and Vikramshila. Today, Patna University and IIT Patna are premier institutes of the state. The education system is undergoing reforms under the ‘Mission Shiksha’ initiative.

Tourism: Top attractions include Bodh Gaya, Rajgir, Patna Sahib Gurudwara, Mahabodhi Temple, Golghar, Kumhrar, Agam Kuan, Sanjay Gandhi Biological Park, Vaishali and Sitamarhi.

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