When it comes to places to visit in India most of us immediately think about states or places like Mumbai, Rajasthan, Hyderabad, Ladakh, Uttarakhand, Goa, Delhi, or Kerala. But, can you imagine that Bihar which is an Eastern Indian state has so much to offer and teach about Indian tourism, history, and culture? Hence we decided to take you through this beautiful state today and show you some of the best places to visit in Bihar.
Bihar shares its borders with Nepal in the North, West Bengal in the east, Uttar Pradesh in the West, and Madhya Pradesh and Odisha in the South. It is a state that gave birth to Buddhism and Jainism and helped in the growth of Sikhism and Hinduism too. There is an array of tourist destinations of diverse interests in the state, though their potential has not been exploited fully till now.
So here are some of the places in Bihar which should definitely be there in your bucket list going forward.
Established during the 5th century AD, Nalanda university is considered to be the first residential university in the world. The University is located in the town of Rajgir, and it has played a prominent role in the world by proving that India has contributed to imparting knowledge. The profound knowledge of the teachers of Nalanda attracted many scholars from different parts of the world such as China, Korea, Japan, Tibet, Mongolia, Sri Lanka, and Southeast Asia.
Lord Buddha himself was a teacher here too. A lot many records have been left by these scholars about the ambiance, architecture, and learning at this unique university. Some of the most detailed accounts have come from a Chinese scholar known as Xuan Zang, who carried back many scriptures with him which were later translated into Chinese. The entire University is built in Kushana style of architecture and over a period of time this University has gained popularity across the globe and many tourists come to Bihar just to get a glimpse of this place.
Bodhi Tree is located about 100 km from Patna, in the Indian state of Bihar. It is here where Prince Siddhartha Gautama while meditating beneath the Bodhi Tree, attained enlightenment and became the Buddha. Bodhi tree, also known as Bodh Gaya, is the most revered sacred place and the pilgrim center for Buddhists. Today the place where Bodhi tree is situated has been declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. This is one of the best places to visit in Bihar.
Muchalinda Lake in Bihar is a historical landmark and it acquires the name after Shesh Naga or the Snake King Muchalinda. It is believed that the snake had protected Buddha from a storm while Buddha was in his 6th week of meditation. You will also see a beautiful Buddha statue in the center of the lake. Every year a lot of Buddhists visit this place and seek blessings. Anyone who is visiting Bihar for the first time should definitely explore the lake as it is one of the best places to visit in Bihar.
Among the many other places that one can visit in Bihar, there is the Griddhakuta peak which is one of the best places to visit in Bihar. This peak is also known as the Holy Eagle peak or the Vulture peak as it resembles the shape of a vulture, and a lot of vultures are also seen here in large numbers. Buddhist consider this place to be very sacred as it is believed that Lord Buddha had delivered some of his famous sermons here.
There are two naturally formed caves here and to reach them you have to take the steps which are formed by cutting rocks. The hike to the caves might be a bit challenging but the good news is that a chairlift facility is available to reach the hilltop which is at an altitude of 400 meters.
Buxar in Bihar is a small town which is located in the banks of the Ganga and is one of the most important and prominent towns. There are a lot of tourist spots here that have either a mythological, historical, or religious significance to it. One such spot is the Buxar fort which was constructed in 1054 AD by King Rudra Deo and is definitely one of the famous places to visit in Bihar.
This place catches the attraction of a lot of people who admire the architecture as the cravings that are found in the fort offers amazing views and the construction of the fort is totally outstanding. Apart from the fort, a few nearby places that also catch the attention of tourists are the Gauri Shankar Temple and Nath Baba Temple.
Navalakha palace also called the Naulakha Palace is situated in the town of Rajnagar near Madhubani and was built by Rameshwar Singh, the younger brother of Darbhanga Maharaja, between 1884 and 1929 to serve as the Darbhanga Raj’s administrative capital. In 1934 the palace was heavily destroyed due to an earthquake and since then it was never rebuilt after.
This palace complex is spread across a total area of 1,500 acres, and there are 11 temples and several forts and palaces. It’s is said that the oldest surviving Madhubani painting which was done in 1919 is found in the Gasauni Ghar (the room where the family deity is kept) of this Palace. Apart from the history of the place, it’s the construction of the palace that attracts tourists from all over the world all year round.
It’s said that almost up to 22 layers of carving were used in the construction of the palace with a maximum of 15 layers. If not yet then you must definitely put this place in your bucket list as it’s one of the best places to visit in Bihar.
Valmiki National Park
For those who are also into Wildlife, Bihar has got some amazing national parks to visit such as the Valmiki National Park. The park is located on the India-Nepal border, adjacent to the Chitwan Park and is the only national park in the state. The park was established in the year 1999 and is home not only to a wide variety of flora and fauna but also Tigers, Fishing cats, Deer, Blackbucks, Wolves, Sloth bears, Nilgai, Cheetal, One-horned Rhinoceros, Indian Bison, Hyenas, Jungle cats, Rhesus monkey, Elephants, etc.
One of our favorite places in Bihar is the Barabar caves which are the oldest surviving rock-cut caves in India. They are believed to be dated back to the Mauryan Empire. There are four caves on the Barabar Hill, namely Lomas Rishi Cave, Sudama Cave, Karan Chaupar, and Visva Zopri. Barabar caves are one of the oldest caves in India, and some of them even have Ashokan inscriptions on them.
Most of the caves are Buddhist caves, but you can also find Jain and Hindu sculptures here. The construction of these rock-cut structures will definitely take you back to the Mauryan Empire.
The Jalmandir Temple is made of marble and is situated in the middle of a lake teeming with lotus. This is why it is known as the Jalmandir Temple (Water Temple). It is a major pilgrimage spot for the Jains and also marks as the spot where Lord Mahavira was cremated in Pawapuri. King Nandivardhan, who was the elder brother of Lord Mahavira is said to have constructed the temple.
The temple is built in the shape of a “Vimana” which is connected to the mainland by a 600-ft long stone bridge. Jal Mandir should definitely be at the top in your list of places to visit in Bihar.
The Patna museum was constructed in 1917 after Bihar separated from Bengal. It was proposed that there should be a separate museum in Bihar representing its history. It is said that the Patna Museum housed over 75000 antiquities, including more than 4000 terracotta and stone sculptures, and 28000 coins ranging from punched marked to British-era coins.
The museum is a blend of Rajput and Mughal architecture and one of the best in Patna. The museum possesses ‘Relics Casket of Buddha’. It was procured from Vaishali, from the earliest earthen Stupa built by the Lichchavies immediately after the death of Buddha during 600 BC. This is among the most valuable collections of the Patna Museum.
Bihar is one state that has a past, that is unmatched anywhere in the world. Even today, the state is the largest mineral producing region in India and contributes immensely to national wealth creation.