Situated on the banks of the holy river Ganga, Patna, earlier known as Patliputra, is one of the most ancient cities of India. Being the capital of Bihar, Patna is known for its magnificent past and the historical buildings.
Patna is the gateway to the Buddhist and Jain pilgrim centers of Vaishali, Rajgir, Nalanda, Bodhgaya and Pawapuri, all located in the state of Bihar.
Geography of Patna
Patna is located on the south bank of the Ganges River and it has a very long riverline. It is surrounded by rivers—the Ganga, the Sone, and the Poonpun. In the north of Patna, flows another popular river, the Gandak (Interactive map of Patna). The bridge over the river Ganga, named after Mohandas Gandhi, is 5850m long and is said to be the longest single river bridge in the world.
The summer temperatures of Patna rise very high as the hot tropical sun beats down with all its intensity coupled with a heat wave and it has high humidity throughout the year.
History of Patna
Legend ascribes the origin of Patna to a mythological king Putraka who created Patna by magic for his queen Patali, literally Trumpet flower, which gives it its ancient name Pataligram. It is said that in honour of the first born to the queen, the city was named Pataliputra. The city came into prominence in the early years of the 5th century when Ajatshatru, the second king of the Maurya dynasty shifted the capital of the Magadha Empire to Patliputra. Over the next 1000 years, the city grew in stature as one of the foremost cities of the Indian Subcontinent. Chandragupta who was the founder of Mauryan empire established himself in Patliputra in 321 B C. His grandson Ashoka the Great, expanded the limits of his empire. To facilitate the Indo-Hellenic trade the Mauryans built a Royal Highway from Patliputra to Taxila in Pakistan, which later became the Grand Trunk Road, and the similar highway reached towards the Bay of Bengal and along the sea -coast. After Mauryans ruled Patliputra, the two powers emerged are the Guptas and mighty Sher Shah Suri. The first Gupta emperor Chandra Gupta, made Patna his capital early in the 4th century A D and it was rebuilt by the Afghan ruler Sher Shah Suri about 1000 years later in 1540- 45, who constructed the Sher Shah Mosque in the east of the city. In 1764, after the battle of Buxar, it was passed to the British.
Places of Interest in Patna
The huge, beehive structured building was built to store grains, following a terrible famine in 1786. The 29 meter high building offers a scenic view of river Ganga and Patna city. This granary was never used for the desired purpose.
The city museum is a collection of metal and stone sculptures of the Maurya and Gupta Periods, terracota figurines and archaeological finds from different sites in Bihar. It has the Ashes of Buddha, image of Yakshi (3rd century BC), and a 16 meter long fossilized tree.
Har Mandir Sahib
A holy shrine of Sikhs, this is said to be the second-most important Gurudwara in India. The Gurudwara was built by Guru Gobind Singh, the 10th guru of the Sikhs. Built in white marbles, with kiosks on the terraces, it consecrates the birthplace of Guru Gobind Singh.
One of the national libraries of India, it has a rare collection of Persian and Arabic manuscript. It also host paintings during Rajput and Mughal rule in India. A very unique collection; a One-inch wide Quran is also kept here.
The memorial in front of the old secretariat, shows seven young men facing the bullets and sacrificing their lives during the '1942 Quit India movement'.
The favourite Deity of the Patnaite. It is situated right in front of the Patna Junction, the central railway station of the City. Long winding queues can be seen at the temple on saturdays and tuesdays, the traditional worshipping days of the deity.
Qila House (Jalan House)
This houses an interesting museum famous for its jade collection, Chinese paintings and other far eastern work of art, Collected by Diwan Bahadur Radhakrishan Jalan.
This is also called as Nav Lakha building which was built by Maharaja Sir Kameshwar Singh of Darbhanga. This beautiful building on the banks of Ganges now houses the post graduate departments of Patna University. It houses the Kali Mandir, which has been a place of worship of the goddess. The Maharaja himself was a great devotee and the students of the Patna University rarely take an exam without offering a prayer.
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