Located in eastern India, Bihar is a state with a rich historical and cultural heritage. With a glorious past that stretches back to ancient times, Bihar is known for its significant contributions to Indian history, spirituality, and intellectual pursuits. This land of enlightenment has witnessed the rise and fall of mighty empires, the birth of religions, and the footsteps of great thinkers and scholars.
Bihar holds a special place in Indian history as the birthplace of two major religions, Buddhism and Jainism. It was here that Lord Buddha attained enlightenment under the Bodhi Tree in Bodh Gaya, making it one of the most sacred pilgrimage sites for Buddhists worldwide. The state is also home to numerous ancient ruins and archaeological sites, including Nalanda and Vikramshila, which were renowned centers of learning in ancient India.
Beyond its historical significance, Bihar is a land of diverse cultures and vibrant traditions. The state's folk dances, music, and art forms reflect its rich cultural tapestry. From the energetic and colorful Bhojpuri folk dances to the melodious strains of Maithili music, the cultural heritage of Bihar is a treat for the senses.
Bihar's natural beauty is equally captivating, with scenic landscapes that include the fertile plains of the Ganges and its tributaries, rolling hills, and lush green forests. The state boasts several wildlife sanctuaries and national parks, such as Valmiki National Park and Bhimbandh Wildlife Sanctuary, where nature lovers can experience the region's biodiversity up close.
The people of Bihar are known for their warmth, hospitality, and resilience. The state's festivals, such as Chhath Puja, which celebrates the sun god, and the colorful Sonepur Cattle Fair, attract visitors from far and wide, providing an opportunity to witness the vibrant culture and traditions of Bihar.
Bihar's cuisine is a delight for food enthusiasts, offering a mix of flavors and culinary styles. From the mouthwatering litti-chokha, a traditional Bihari delicacy, to the delectable sweets like khaja and tilkut, the state's cuisine is a gastronomic journey that reflects its cultural diversity.
In recent years, Bihar has seen significant developments in infrastructure, education, and healthcare, contributing to its overall growth and progress. The state is home to renowned educational institutions, including the prestigious Nalanda University, which has been revived as an international center for learning and research.
As you explore Bihar, you'll be immersed in its captivating history, cultural heritage, and natural beauty. From ancient temples and historical sites to scenic landscapes and warm hospitality, Bihar offers a unique and unforgettable experience that will leave a lasting impression on every traveler.
The history of Bihar stretches back to ancient times, making it one of the oldest inhabited regions in the Indian subcontinent. The region has been witness to significant historical events, the rise and fall of powerful empires, and the birth of major religions.
Ancient Bihar was part of the Magadha kingdom, which played a crucial role in shaping the political and cultural landscape of India. The Maurya Empire, founded by Emperor Chandragupta Maurya in the 4th century BCE, had its capital in Pataliputra (present-day Patna), making it a major political and economic center of the time. Under the rule of Emperor Ashoka, the Mauryan Empire reached its zenith, and Buddhism gained prominence.
Bihar holds immense significance in the history of Buddhism. It was in Bodh Gaya, Bihar, that Prince Siddhartha Gautama attained enlightenment and became the Buddha. The Mahabodhi Temple in Bodh Gaya stands as a testament to this spiritual milestone and is a UNESCO World Heritage site. Bihar is also home to several other important Buddhist sites, including Rajgir, Nalanda, and Vaishali.
During the medieval period, Bihar witnessed the rise and fall of several dynasties, including the Guptas, the Palas, and the Senas. Nalanda, in particular, flourished as a renowned center of learning and attracted scholars from all over the world. The Nalanda University, established in the 5th century CE, was a prestigious institution of education and Buddhist philosophy.
In the 12th century, Bihar came under the rule of Muslim dynasties, starting with the Delhi Sultanate and later the Mughals. Sher Shah Suri, an Afghan ruler, rose to prominence in Bihar and established the Sur Empire, with his capital in Sasaram. He is credited with several administrative and infrastructure developments, including the construction of the Grand Trunk Road.
During the British colonial era, Bihar became part of the Bengal Presidency. The region witnessed several freedom movements and played a crucial role in the Indian independence struggle. Many prominent leaders, such as Dr. Rajendra Prasad, Jayaprakash Narayan, and Anugrah Narayan Sinha, hailed from Bihar and contributed significantly to the country's independence movement.
After India gained independence in 1947, Bihar emerged as a separate state in 1950. Over the years, the state has seen various political, economic, and social developments. It has faced challenges in terms of poverty, population growth, and infrastructure, but efforts have been made to address these issues and drive progress.
Today, Bihar stands as a state with a rich historical legacy, cultural diversity, and a population known for its resilience and hard work. It continues to evolve, embrace modernity, and preserve its heritage, making it a fascinating destination for history enthusiasts and travelers seeking a deeper understanding of India's past.
Bihar is known for its vibrant culture and rich heritage, deeply rooted in its historical significance and religious traditions. The state showcases a unique blend of Hindu, Buddhist, and Islamic influences, making it a melting pot of diverse cultural practices and artistic expressions.
Folk traditions and performing arts play a significant role in Bihar's cultural fabric. Bihari folk music, known as "lok geet," reflects the joys, sorrows, and everyday lives of the people. The Bhojpuri and Maithili languages, spoken widely in the state, have a rich tradition of folk songs and ballads. The Bidesia and Sohar songs are notable forms of folk music that have gained popularity not only in Bihar but also in neighboring regions.
Bihar's folk dances are vibrant and energetic, often performed during religious festivals and social occasions. The Sama Chakeva dance, associated with the Mithila region, is performed by young girls to express their affection and longing for their brothers. The Jat-Jatin dance, the Karma dance, and the Domkach dance are other notable folk dance forms that showcase the cultural diversity of the state.
Bihar's handicrafts are renowned for their intricate designs and skilled craftsmanship. Madhubani painting, also known as Mithila painting, is a traditional art form that originated in the Mithila region. It involves using natural dyes and pigments to create stunning geometric patterns and depicting mythological themes. The art form has gained international recognition for its vibrant colors and intricate detailing.
Another prominent craft of Bihar is the intricate stone carving work seen in temples and historical structures. The ancient temples of Rajgir, Pawapuri, and Deo are fine examples of the exquisite stone carvings found in Bihar. The state is also known for its production of pottery, particularly in the regions of Nalanda and Bhagalpur, where skilled artisans create beautiful terracotta and clay pottery.
Bihar's cuisine is diverse and offers a range of flavors and delicacies. Litti-Chokha, a traditional Bihari dish, is a staple food made with roasted wheat balls (litti) served with mashed potatoes (chokha) and a side of tangy tomato chutney. Sattu, a nutritious flour made from roasted grams, is used in various dishes and drinks. The famous dessert of Bihar, "Thekua," is a sweet treat made from wheat flour, jaggery, and ghee.
The religious festivals of Bihar are celebrated with great fervor and enthusiasm. Chhath Puja, dedicated to the Sun God, is one of the most significant festivals in the state. Devotees offer prayers to the setting and rising sun and observe strict rituals near water bodies. Other major festivals celebrated in Bihar include Holi, Diwali, Eid, and Maha Shivaratri.
Bihar is also known for its historical and archaeological sites that hold immense cultural significance. The ruins of Nalanda University, a UNESCO World Heritage site, attract scholars and tourists from around the world. The ancient city of Rajgir, known for its association with Lord Buddha, is home to important Buddhist sites such as Griddhakuta Hill and Venuvana Vihara. The historic city of Patna, with its iconic landmarks like Patna Sahib Gurudwara and Golghar, also reflects the state's cultural heritage.
Overall, Bihar's culture and heritage are a testament to its glorious past and diverse traditions. The state's art, music, dance, crafts, and cuisine showcase the creativity and cultural depth of its people, making it a captivating destination for those seeking an immersive cultural experience.
Bihar experiences a subtropical climate, characterized by hot summers and cool winters. The state has three distinct seasons: summer, monsoon, and winter.
Summer in Bihar lasts from April to June and is characterized by scorching heat, with temperatures often exceeding 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit). The weather can be extremely hot and humid during this time, making it less favorable for outdoor activities and sightseeing.
Monsoon arrives in Bihar in July and continues until September. The state receives moderate to heavy rainfall during this season, which helps in alleviating the summer heat. The lush green landscapes and rejuvenated rivers add a scenic charm to the region. However, it is important to note that heavy rainfall can sometimes cause flooding and disrupt travel plans.
The winter season in Bihar begins in November and lasts until February. During this time, the weather is pleasant and mild, with temperatures ranging between 10 to 20 degrees Celsius (50 to 68 degrees Fahrenheit). It is the most favorable time to visit Bihar, as the weather is comfortable for outdoor activities and exploring the various attractions of the state.
The best time to visit Bihar is during the winter season, from November to February. This period offers pleasant weather, making it ideal for sightseeing, temple visits, and exploring the cultural heritage of the state. It is advisable to carry light woolens during the winter months, as temperatures can drop during the nights.
It is important to check the weather forecast and plan your visit accordingly, especially during the monsoon season, as heavy rainfall can affect travel and outdoor activities.
Bihar is well-connected to the rest of India through various modes of transportation. Here are the different ways to reach Bihar:
- By Air: The main airport in Bihar is Jay Prakash Narayan International Airport, located in the capital city of Patna. It is well-connected to major cities in India like Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, and Bangalore. Other airports in Bihar include Gaya International Airport and Darbhanga Airport, which have limited domestic connectivity.
- By Train: Bihar has an extensive railway network, with several major railway stations. Patna Junction is the main railway station in the state and is well-connected to cities across India. Other important railway stations in Bihar include Gaya Junction, Bhagalpur Junction, Muzaffarpur Junction, and Darbhanga Junction.
- By Road: Bihar has a well-developed road network, making it easily accessible by road. National Highways like NH30, NH31, NH33, and NH98 connect Bihar to neighboring states and major cities. Regular bus services are available from cities like Kolkata, Varanasi, and Lucknow to various destinations in Bihar.
- By Water: The river Ganges flows through Bihar, and some parts of the state have access to water transport. The cities of Patna, Bhagalpur, and Munger have river ports that connect to other states like Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal through waterways.
It is advisable to check the availability of transportation options and plan your journey accordingly. The mode of transportation chosen may depend on factors such as distance, budget, and convenience.
When it comes to local transportation for tourists in Bihar, there are several options available to help you get around the state. Here are some common modes of transportation you can consider:
- Taxis/Cabs: Taxis and cabs are readily available in major cities like Patna, Gaya, and Rajgir. You can hire them for local sightseeing or for traveling between cities. It's advisable to negotiate the fare or use a metered taxi to ensure a fair price.
- Auto-rickshaws: Auto-rickshaws, also known as "tuk-tuks," are a popular mode of transportation for short distances within cities and towns. They are affordable and convenient, although you may need to negotiate the fare beforehand.
- Cycle-rickshaws: In some areas, especially in smaller towns and rural areas, you'll find cycle-rickshaws. These are human-powered vehicles with a carriage attached at the front. Cycle-rickshaws are a slow but eco-friendly option for short distances.
- Shared Jeeps: Shared jeeps or "vikrams" are a common means of transportation in Bihar, especially for intercity travel. They are usually larger vehicles that accommodate multiple passengers, and they follow fixed routes. While they may not offer the most comfortable ride, they are an affordable way to travel between towns and villages.
- Buses: Bihar State Road Transport Corporation (BSRTC) operates a network of buses connecting major cities and towns within the state. Buses are an economical mode of transportation, but they may be crowded and not always punctual. Private bus operators also run services on popular routes.
- Trains: Bihar has an extensive railway network, and traveling by train can be a convenient option for longer distances. The state is well-connected to various parts of India through major railway stations like Patna Junction, Gaya Junction, and Muzaffarpur Junction. You can check train schedules and book tickets in advance through the Indian Railways website or at railway stations.
It's important to note that while these modes of transportation are available, the quality of roads, traffic conditions, and availability of transport options may vary across different regions of Bihar. It's advisable to plan your travel in advance, consider the distance and time required, and choose the most suitable mode of transportation accordingly.
- Patna: The capital city of Bihar and a major cultural and economic hub. It is known for its historical significance and attractions like Patna Sahib Gurudwara, Gandhi Maidan, and Patna Museum.
- Gaya: A holy city famous for its Buddhist pilgrimage site, Mahabodhi Temple, which is a UNESCO World Heritage site. It is an important place for followers of Buddhism.
- Bhagalpur: Located on the banks of the Ganges River, Bhagalpur is known for its silk production. It is also home to historical sites like Vikramshila Gangetic Dolphin Sanctuary and Sultanganj.
- Muzaffarpur: Known as the "Lychee Capital of India," Muzaffarpur is famous for its juicy and flavorful lychees. It is an important commercial and industrial center in Bihar.
- Darbhanga: A city with a rich cultural heritage, Darbhanga is known for its magnificent palaces and temples. It is a center of Mithila art and culture.
- Bihar Sharif: Located near Nalanda, Bihar Sharif is home to important Islamic sites like the Tomb of Sheikh Sharfuddin Yahya Maneri and Bari Dargah. It is also known for its ancient ruins and historical significance.
- Purnia: Situated on the banks of the Kosi River, Purnia is known for its natural beauty and historical landmarks. It is a major trading center and agricultural hub.
- Arrah: Located on the banks of the Son River, Arrah is known for its historical significance during the Indian independence movement. It is home to the Shaheed Smarak and other historical sites.
- Katihar: Situated in the northeastern part of Bihar, Katihar is a major transportation hub and commercial center. It is known for its jute and paper industries.
- Sasaram: Sasaram is known for its association with the Afghan king Sher Shah Suri. It houses the tomb of Sher Shah Suri, a magnificent architectural marvel.
- Munger: Located on the banks of the Ganges River, Munger is known for its historical sites and religious importance. It is famous for the ancient Munger Fort and the Yoga School.
- Chapra: Situated on the banks of the Ganges River, Chapra is known for its agricultural production and trading activities. It is also associated with the freedom fighter Dr. Rajendra Prasad, the first President of India.
- Samastipur: Samastipur is known for its agricultural produce, particularly rice and sugar cane. It is an important railway junction in Bihar.
- Hajipur: Located near Patna, Hajipur is an industrial town known for its engineering and manufacturing units. It is also home to the famous Mahatma Gandhi Setu, one of the longest river bridges in India.
- Sitamarhi: Sitamarhi is a significant religious destination for Hindus as it is believed to be the birthplace of Goddess Sita. It attracts devotees from all over the country.
These cities and towns offer a mix of historical, cultural, religious, and commercial attractions, providing a glimpse into the diverse aspects of Bihar.
POPULAR TOURIST DESTINATIONS
Bihar is home to several popular tourist destinations, offering a mix of historical, religious, and natural attractions. Here are some of the most popular tourist destinations in Bihar:
- Bodh Gaya: One of the holiest Buddhist sites in the world, Bodh Gaya is where Gautama Buddha is said to have attained enlightenment. The Mahabodhi Temple, a UNESCO World Heritage site, is the main attraction here.
- Nalanda: Known for its ancient Nalanda University, an esteemed center of learning in ancient times, Nalanda is an archaeological site that attracts history enthusiasts. The ruins of the university and the Nalanda Archaeological Museum are worth exploring.
- Rajgir: Nestled in the scenic hills, Rajgir is an important pilgrimage site for Buddhists, Jains, and Hindus. The attractions include the Gridhakuta Hill, Venuvana Vihara, and the hot springs at Saptaparni Cave.
- Patna: The capital city of Bihar, Patna, has a rich historical heritage. Must-visit attractions include the Patna Sahib Gurudwara, Golghar, Patna Museum, and the ancient ruins of Pataliputra.
- Vaishali: Vaishali is an ancient city with historical and religious significance. It is believed to be the birthplace of Lord Mahavira, the founder of Jainism. The Ashokan Pillar and the Buddha Stupa are major attractions here.
- Sasaram: Sasaram is known for the grand mausoleum of Sher Shah Suri, an Afghan king. The Sher Shah Suri Tomb is an architectural marvel and a popular tourist spot.
- Vikramshila Gangetic Dolphin Sanctuary: Located near Bhagalpur, this sanctuary is dedicated to the conservation of the endangered Gangetic dolphins. Visitors can enjoy boat rides to spot these beautiful creatures in their natural habitat.
- Pawapuri: Pawapuri is an important Jain pilgrimage site. It is believed to be the place where Lord Mahavira attained nirvana. The Jal Mandir and Samosharan Temple are significant attractions here.
- Madhubani: Known for its unique Madhubani paintings, this town offers a glimpse into traditional Mithila art. Visitors can explore art galleries and interact with local artists to learn about this distinctive art form.
- Valmiki National Park: Located in West Champaran district, Valmiki National Park is a protected area rich in biodiversity. It is home to various wildlife species, including tigers, elephants, leopards, and birds.
- Kesaria Stupa: Situated in East Champaran district, Kesaria Stupa is one of the tallest Buddhist stupas in the world. It dates back to the 3rd century BCE and is an important historical and archaeological site.
- Kakolat Waterfall: Located in Nawada district, Kakolat Waterfall is a picturesque natural attraction. Surrounded by lush greenery, it offers a refreshing retreat for nature lovers and adventure enthusiasts.
- Rohtasgarh Fort: Situated near Sasaram, Rohtasgarh Fort is a medieval fort known for its architectural splendor and historical significance. It offers panoramic views of the surrounding landscape.
- Barabar Caves: Located near Gaya, the Barabar Caves are ancient rock-cut caves that date back to the Mauryan period. These caves have unique architectural features and are of historical and religious importance.
- Sonepur Mela: The Sonepur Cattle Fair, held annually in the town of Sonepur, is one of the largest cattle fairs in Asia. It is a vibrant cultural event that attracts tourists and celebrates the rural life of Bihar. Visitors can witness a variety of livestock, including elephants, horses, and cattle, along with cultural performances, handicrafts, and local cuisine.
These are just a few of the many popular tourist destinations in Bihar. The state has a rich cultural and historical heritage, offering diverse experiences for travelers interested in history, spirituality, and natural beauty.
Bihar is known for its vibrant festivals and events that showcase the rich cultural heritage of the region. Here are some of the major festivals and events celebrated in Bihar:
- Chhath Puja: Chhath Puja is one of the most important festivals in Bihar. It is dedicated to the worship of the Sun God and is celebrated with great devotion and fervor. Devotees observe a rigorous fasting and offer prayers to the setting and rising sun.
- Sonepur Cattle Fair: Held in Sonepur, the Sonepur Mela is one of the largest cattle fairs in Asia. It takes place in November and attracts a massive gathering of traders, farmers, and tourists. The fair showcases a wide range of animals, including elephants, horses, buffaloes, and cattle.
- Rajgir Mahotsav: The Rajgir Mahotsav is a cultural festival held in Rajgir, Bihar. It celebrates the region's heritage and features various cultural performances, including music, dance, and theater. The festival also includes a crafts fair, showcasing local handicrafts and artwork.
- Sama Chakeva: Sama Chakeva is a unique festival celebrated primarily by the Mithila community in Bihar. It is dedicated to the bond between a brother and sister. Sisters create elaborate clay idols and perform rituals to honor their brothers' well-being.
- Holi: Holi, the festival of colors, is celebrated with enthusiasm and joy throughout Bihar. People come together to play with colored powders and water, dance to traditional music, and indulge in festive delicacies.
- Makar Sankranti: Makar Sankranti marks the transition of the sun into the zodiac sign of Capricorn. It is celebrated with kite-flying competitions, traditional sweets like tilkut and gajak, and bonfires known as Lohri.
- Buddha Jayanti: Buddha Jayanti, also known as Vesak, commemorates the birth, enlightenment, and death of Gautama Buddha. Buddhists in Bihar, particularly in Bodh Gaya, celebrate this auspicious day with prayers, processions, and meditation.
- Teej: Teej is a significant festival for married women in Bihar. They observe fasts, wear colorful traditional attire, and participate in lively dance and music performances. The festival celebrates marital bliss and is characterized by swings adorned with flowers.
- Chatra Mela: Chatra Mela is an annual fair held in Chatra, Bihar. It is a major agricultural fair where farmers display their agricultural products, livestock, and handicrafts. The fair also features cultural programs, sports competitions, and amusement rides.
- Bihar Diwas: Bihar Diwas is celebrated on March 22nd to commemorate the formation of the state of Bihar. The occasion is marked by various cultural events, exhibitions, and seminars that highlight the state's history, art, and achievements.
These festivals and events showcase the cultural diversity, traditions, and religious significance of Bihar. They offer a wonderful opportunity for locals and tourists alike to immerse themselves in the vibrant festivities and experience the unique charm of the state.
When visiting Bihar, tourists can engage in a variety of activities that offer a glimpse into the rich cultural heritage and natural beauty of the region. Here are some main tourist activities to consider:
- Visit Historical Sites: Explore the historical sites of Bihar, such as Nalanda, Rajgir, and Vaishali, to learn about ancient civilizations and significant landmarks. Discover the ruins of Nalanda University, visit the ancient monasteries in Rajgir, and explore the archaeological sites in Vaishali.
- Attend Festivals: Immerse yourself in the vibrant festivals of Bihar, such as Chhath Puja, Sonepur Cattle Fair, and Rajgir Mahotsav. Experience the cultural performances, rituals, and traditional music and dance forms associated with these festivals.
- Pilgrimage Tours: Bihar is a land of spiritual significance, with numerous pilgrimage sites. Visit Bodh Gaya, where Buddha attained enlightenment, and offer prayers at Mahabodhi Temple. Explore the sacred sites in Vaishali, Pawapuri, and Gaya, which hold religious importance for Buddhists, Jains, and Hindus.
- Explore Wildlife and Nature: Discover the natural beauty of Bihar by visiting Valmiki National Park, home to diverse flora and fauna, including tigers and elephants. Enjoy bird watching at Kanwar Lake Bird Sanctuary and marvel at the picturesque Kakolat Waterfall in Nawada district.
- Witness Madhubani Art: Explore the town of Madhubani, known for its unique Madhubani paintings. Visit art galleries, interact with local artists, and learn about the traditional art form that depicts mythological themes and nature.
- River Cruises: Enjoy a serene river cruise on the Ganges River, particularly in places like Patna and Bhagalpur. Experience the tranquility of the river, witness the daily rituals performed on the ghats (riverfront steps), and soak in the scenic surroundings.
- Culinary Delights: Indulge in the delicious cuisine of Bihar, known for its flavorsome dishes. Try traditional Bihari delicacies like litti-chokha, sattu paratha, malpua, and the famous sweets like khaja and peda.
- Attend Cultural Performances: Experience the rich cultural heritage of Bihar by attending folk dance and music performances. Witness captivating dance forms like Jat-Jatin, Jhijhian, and Dhobi Nach, and enjoy the soulful melodies of Bihari folk songs.
- Shop for Handicrafts: Explore local markets and shops to purchase exquisite handicrafts and artworks. Look for Madhubani paintings, stone carvings, sikki grass crafts, and wooden artifacts that showcase the artistic skills of Bihar.
- Take a Heritage Train Ride: Enjoy a nostalgic train ride on the Patna-Kurji-Harnaut Heritage Line, which runs a heritage steam locomotive train. Experience the charm of vintage train travel and witness the scenic landscapes along the route.
These activities provide a diverse range of experiences for tourists visiting Bihar, allowing them to engage with the rich cultural heritage, spirituality, natural beauty, and traditional art forms of the region.
Bihar has a distinct culinary tradition that reflects the region's rich agricultural heritage and cultural diversity. The cuisine of Bihar is known for its simplicity, unique flavors, and use of locally sourced ingredients. Here are some popular dishes and highlights of Bihari cuisine:
- Litti-Chokha: Litti-Chokha is the most famous and iconic dish of Bihar. Litti is a savory dough ball made from whole wheat flour, stuffed with spiced roasted gram flour (sattu), and baked over a coal fire. It is served with chokha, a spicy mashed mixture of roasted eggplant, potatoes, tomatoes, and onions.
- Sattu Paratha: Sattu Paratha is another popular dish made with roasted gram flour (sattu). The sattu filling is mixed with spices, onions, and green chilies, stuffed into a whole wheat dough, and then cooked on a griddle. It is often served with yogurt or pickle.
- Dal Pitha: Dal Pitha is a traditional Bihari snack or breakfast item. It consists of rice flour dumplings stuffed with a spiced lentil mixture and steamed or boiled. It is usually served with ghee and chutney.
- Khaja: Khaja is a famous sweet delicacy of Bihar. It is a crispy, flaky pastry made with refined flour, ghee, and sugar syrup. Khaja is often enjoyed during festivals and special occasions.
- Malpua: Malpua is a traditional Bihari dessert made from a batter of refined flour, milk, and mashed bananas. The batter is deep-fried until golden and then soaked in a sugar syrup. Malpua is served hot and is often garnished with nuts and saffron.
- Chana Ghugni: Chana Ghugni is a popular street food in Bihar. It is made with boiled chickpeas cooked in a spicy and tangy gravy made from tomatoes, onions, and various spices. It is often served with puri (deep-fried bread) or as a side dish with rice.
- Fish Curry: Being a state with a riverine geography, Bihar offers delicious fish curries made with locally available freshwater fish like rohu, catla, and mrigal. The fish is cooked in a spicy gravy with a blend of spices, mustard oil, and flavorsome ingredients.
- Pittha: Pittha is a traditional Bihari dumpling made with rice flour or wheat flour, stuffed with a mixture of lentils, jaggery, or grated coconut. It is either steamed or boiled and can be sweet or savory. It is often served with ghee or a chutney.
- Kadhi Bari: Kadhi Bari is a popular Bihari dish made with gram flour dumplings cooked in a tangy yogurt-based curry. The dumplings, called bari, are made with spiced gram flour dough and then simmered in the creamy curry.
- Thekua: Thekua is a crispy and sweet biscuit-like snack made with whole wheat flour, jaggery, and ghee. It is often prepared during Chhath Puja and other festivals as an offering to the deities.
These are just a few highlights of the diverse culinary delights of Bihar. The cuisine of Bihar is characterized by its rustic flavors, use of local ingredients, and the simplicity of preparation, making it a treat for food lovers seeking authentic and traditional dishes.
Bihar offers a range of accommodation options to suit different preferences and budgets. Whether you are looking for luxury hotels, budget-friendly guesthouses, or homestays, you can find suitable accommodations in various cities and towns across the state. Here are some types of accommodations you can consider:
- Luxury Hotels: Major cities like Patna and Bodh Gaya have luxury hotels that offer a high level of comfort and amenities. These hotels typically feature spacious rooms, on-site restaurants, swimming pools, fitness centers, spa facilities, and other upscale services.
- Mid-Range Hotels: Mid-range hotels are available in many cities and towns in Bihar. They provide comfortable rooms, basic amenities, and good value for money. These hotels may have on-site restaurants, room service, and facilities like Wi-Fi and parking.
- Budget Hotels/Guesthouses: Budget hotels and guesthouses are a popular choice for travelers seeking affordable accommodation. These establishments offer clean and basic rooms with essential amenities such as attached bathrooms and Wi-Fi. They are ideal for budget-conscious travelers and backpackers.
- Homestays: For a more authentic and personalized experience, you can opt for homestays. Homestays provide the opportunity to stay with local families, experience their way of life, and enjoy home-cooked meals. This option is especially popular in rural areas and smaller towns.
- Ashrams and Dharamshalas: Bihar, being a significant pilgrimage destination, has several ashrams and dharamshalas that offer accommodation to religious travelers. These establishments provide basic facilities at affordable rates and often have a spiritual and serene atmosphere.
- Eco Resorts: In the natural and wildlife areas of Bihar, you may find eco resorts that offer a unique experience amidst nature. These resorts are designed to be environmentally friendly and provide accommodations that blend with the surrounding environment.
It is recommended to book your accommodations in advance, especially during peak tourist seasons or festivals, to ensure availability. Online travel websites, hotel booking platforms, and official websites of hotels and resorts are good sources to find and book accommodations in Bihar.
When selecting accommodation, consider factors such as location, proximity to tourist attractions, amenities, reviews, and your budget to make an informed choice.
Shopping in Bihar can be a delightful experience, as the state is known for its rich handicrafts, traditional artifacts, and local specialties. Here are some popular shopping items and places to explore while shopping in Bihar:
- Madhubani Paintings: Madhubani paintings, renowned for their intricate designs and vibrant colors, are a must-buy when in Bihar. These paintings depict mythological themes, nature, and rural life. You can find them in art galleries and local markets, especially in Madhubani town.
- Siki Grass Crafts: Bihar is known for its exquisite siki grass crafts. Artisans create beautiful baskets, mats, and decorative items using finely woven sikki grass. Bhagalpur and Munger are known for their siki grass craftwork.
- Stone Carvings: The stone carvings of Bihar are famous for their intricate craftsmanship. Items like statues, figurines, and decorative pieces carved out of stone can be found in places like Nalanda, Rajgir, and Bodh Gaya.
- Bhagalpuri Silk: Bhagalpuri silk, also known as Tussar silk, is a specialty of Bihar. The silk is known for its rich texture and natural golden sheen. Bhagalpur is the main center for Bhagalpuri silk, and you can find a wide range of sarees, fabrics, and garments made from this silk.
- Lacquerware: Lacquerware items like bangles, jewelry boxes, and home decor pieces are popular in Bihar. The craft of lacquerware involves intricate designs and vibrant colors. Places like Muzaffarpur and Patna are known for their lacquerware products.
- Khadi Products: Bihar is also known for its khadi products, which are hand-spun and hand-woven fabrics. Khadi clothing, including sarees, kurtas, and stoles, can be found in various khadi outlets and government emporiums.
- Handloom Products: Bihar has a rich tradition of handloom weaving. You can find handloom products like silk sarees, cotton fabrics, and stoles in different parts of the state. Places like Bhagalpur, Patna, and Muzaffarpur are known for their handloom products.
- Bihar Specialties: Explore local markets for specialty items like Madhubani jewelry, Manjusha paintings, terracotta pottery, and wooden artifacts. These unique handicrafts reflect the cultural heritage of Bihar and make for memorable souvenirs.
When it comes to shopping in Bihar, some popular markets and shopping areas include Patna Market, Hathwa Market in Gaya, Maurya Lok Complex in Patna, and Mahavir Mandir Market in Patna. These places offer a wide range of products, including handicrafts, textiles, jewelry, and local specialties.
Remember to bargain and compare prices before making a purchase, as it is a common practice in local markets. Also, keep in mind the transportation and packaging requirements for your shopping items if you plan to carry them back home.
Exploring the local markets and interacting with artisans and craftsmen not only allows you to shop but also offers insights into the rich cultural heritage of Bihar.
- Drinking Water: In Bihar, it is advisable to drink bottled water or purified water to avoid any health risks. Bottled water is widely available in grocery stores, hotels, and restaurants. You can also use water purifiers or boil tap water before consumption.
- Electricity: Bihar receives electricity from the state power grid. The voltage used is 220-240 volts AC, 50 Hz. Power outages or load shedding can occur in certain areas, particularly in rural regions. It is recommended to carry a universal travel adapter for charging electronic devices.
- Telephone and Mobile Services: Bihar has well-established telephone and mobile networks. Major telecom operators provide coverage across the state, including rural areas. You can purchase prepaid SIM cards from authorized mobile stores by providing the required documents as per local regulations.
- Internet Connectivity: Internet connectivity is available in Bihar, particularly in urban centers. You can access the internet through mobile data services provided by telecom operators. Wi-Fi services are also available in hotels, cafes, and some public areas.
- Health Services: Bihar has a network of government and private hospitals, clinics, and medical facilities. Patna, the capital city, has several renowned hospitals offering a range of healthcare services. However, healthcare infrastructure in rural areas may be limited. It is recommended to have travel insurance that covers medical emergencies during your stay.
- Postal Services: Bihar has a well-established postal system operated by India Post. You can find post offices in various cities and towns where you can send letters, parcels, and access other postal services. Postal services are also available in rural areas, although they may be limited in some remote locations.
- Banks and ATMs: Bihar has numerous nationalized and private banks, including State Bank of India (SBI), Punjab National Bank (PNB), Bank of Baroda (BOB), and ICICI Bank. You can find bank branches and ATMs in major cities and towns for cash withdrawals, currency exchange, and other banking services.
It's important to note that specific services, availability, and infrastructure may vary across different regions of Bihar. It's advisable to plan and research accordingly before your visit and consult local authorities or trusted sources for the most up-to-date information about the services you may require during your stay.