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Bihar - Quick Facts

Area: 96,163 Sq km
Capital: Patna
Altitude: 51 M,167 FT
Population: 103,804,637
Population Density: 1,106 people per sq km
Clothing: Summer-Light Cotton, Winter-Heavy Woolen
Best time for visit: Octobet to March
Season: Winter,Summer,Monsoon
Climate: Summer min-24°,max-42°C, Winter min-07°C,max-21°C
Rainfall: 1186 mmH
ighest Location: Fort Someshwar
Highest Point: 2,887 ft
Language: Maithili,Bhojpuri,Hindi,Magahi,Angika,Bajjika.
Religions: Hinduism,Buddhist,Islam,Sikhism,Jainism,Christianity

Bihar is one of the major states of the Indian Union. Many ancient civilisations in the world have evolved around magnificent rivers, but very few rivers in the world have moulded the culture, economy and personality of the people evolving on their banks as the great river Ganga. Cutting straight across Bihar from west to east, the bounteous Ganga had rendered the region so fertile and plentiful, that its natural prosperity nurtured a great fountainhead of political and cultural civilisations down the millenia.

By Air

All major airlines operate flights directly to Patna. Indian Airlines operates daily flights to, Delhi Kolkata and Ranchi and Lucknow.

By Rail
The railway station is located in the centre of the Patna. It connects the city to all major cities and towns of India. There are direct trains daily for New Delhi, Kolkata, Varanasi, Ranchi and northeastern states like Assam.

By Road
The bus stand has shifted to Mithapur at the outskirt of the Patna city. There are buses to almost all the places within the state and also for Ranchi, Siliguri etc.

Bihar is a land of diversities, contrasts, complexities and assemblage of inter-related units or objects. This becomes evident when one approached it with the considerations of its manifold geographical and physical features, climate and products. It’s multitudinous elements of populations, each with its own traditions, ethics, philosophy, manners and modes of life; its tongue and language with its own forms and phonetics, grammar and vocabularies; its beliefs and practices, and its religions, deeply rooted in the social milieu and woven in the texture of society and culture. The 'Bihari' culture can be divided into four geographical regions, namely- Angika Culture, Bhojpuri Culture, Maithili Culture and Magahi Culture.However, in general, one who has seen the cultural scene in India in the decades preceding Independence and has been a witness to the resurgence since 1947 is likely to be impressed by certain trends today that were non-existent or latent in the first half of the century.

Like other states of the Indian Union, Bihar, too, has begun to play a vital and active role in promoting cultural forms and in providing opportunities to individual and group talent. One of the main features of the changed environment is a far greater mobility among cultural forms, whether of the performing arts or the fine and plastic arts. While this is applicable to Indian culture in general, it is no less true of Bihar's culture in particular.

A look at Bihar's cuisine helps you know about the history, geography, economical status and culture of the state. Food habits of Biharis show how the cuisine of the state has evolved over centuries under the influence of various cultures and regimes. Lord Buddha attained enlightenment in Bihar and hence Buddhism has had a significant impact on the state. People are largely vegetarian though there are many who are fond of chicken and meat dishes. Bihar has also been under the reign of mighty Mughals and, naturally, the exotic Mughal cuisine has impacted the Bihar style of cooking and the taste of the inhabitants of the state.A remarkable factor of the Bihari cuisine is that the state has imbibed the best and most suitable aspects of the Mauryan, Gupta, Turk, Afghan and Persian and European style of cooking and, at the same time, retained a food culture that bears a distinct hallmark of Bihar.

Bihar offers a large variety of sweet delicacies which, unlike those from Bengal, are mostly dry. These include 'anarasa', 'belgrami', 'chhena murki', 'motichoor ka ladoa', 'kaala jamun', 'kesaria peda', 'khaaja', 'khurma', 'khubi ka lai', 'Iaktho', 'parwal mithai', 'pua' & 'maalpua', 'thekua', 'perukia', 'murabba', 'raskadam' and 'tilkut'. Many of these originate in towns in the Here's some typicalfood fare of the state.

Bihar has a rich heritage of craftsmanship. Over the centuries, skills have been passed down from generation to generation. Though technology has caused slight variations in the crafts, they largely remain the same, as they were thousands of years ago.The handicrafts of Bihar present a synthesis of utilitarianisms,artistic beauty and emotional contents. The utilitarian aspect of the handicraft may be seen in the ancient stones, wooden structures, grass-clothes, lacquer and metal-wares.

The craftsmen of Bihar specialized over ages in creative activities and excelled in the manufacture of artistic goods, which were not only popular in local markets, but were also in great demand overseas. After the British domination of India from the late 18th century onward, the handicrafts dies a slow death at the hands of the machine-made-foreign goods which flooded the local market under the shield of protections, and craftsmen gradually gave up their professions due to lack of patronage and ultimately sank to the lower levels of the society. However, the crafts that survived were those, which were strongly fastened to our religious and social rituals. According to archaeological finds, handicrafts of Bihar go back to thousands of years. The excavations of Kumhrar, Bulandibagh, Nalanda and other places in Bihar have yielded many finds that speak of the skill of craftsmen. Among the existing crafts of Bihar, pottery, wooden articles, metal wares, stone wares, jewelry, lacquer works, kashida, sikki and moonj wares, wooden and clay toys, zari, artistic textile fabrics and printing on cloth may specially be mentioned. Besides, there are numerous crafts, which enable villagers to Weaving and Embroidery | Wood Works| Basketry| Phulkari | Leather craft | Jootis | Pidhis | Parandis | Dolls | Folk Toys Making |Textile Printing | Patna Kalam.

Malmas Mela (Rajgir), Harihar Kshetra Mela (Sonepur), Pitri Paksh (Gaya), Bettiah Mela Mandar Mela (Baunsi), Brahampur Khagra Baisakhi Purnima Saurath Sabha (Madhubani), Behula Mela (Bhagalpur), Gulab Bag (Purnia), Karhagola & Other Hindu-Muslim Fairs. Chhath Puja is a very famous festival of Bihar.

Madhubani School of painting is rich tradition in Bihar, is extremely famous handicraft of Bihar.

•        Bihari women generally carry over this school of folk painting from generation to generation. It illustrates mythological themes, incorporating images of local deities as well as Hindu gods and goddesses.
•        Hand-painted wall hangings
•        Miniatures in paper and leaves
•        Appliqué work on fabric
•        Stone pottery
•        Bamboo and cane work
•        Wooden stools
•        Leather goods
•        "Tilcoot" - a kind of sweet

Here, kingdom after kingdom rose and fell, leaving their indelible mark on history. Rival kings fought legendary battles, devastating the land and the people. Yet, by some strange alchemy, the same land also saw the birth of some of the most gentle and progressive religious teachers like Buddha, Mahavira and Guru Gobind Singh Bihar is bound on the north by Nepal, on the east by West Bengal, on the west by Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh, and on the south by Orissa.The name 'Bihar' is derived from 'Vihara', meaning monastery. Bihar has been a great religious centre for Hindus, Jains and most importantly, the Buddhists. It was at Bodhgaya in Bihar, that the Buddha sat under the Bodhi tree, and attained enlightenment. A descendant of the same tree still flourishes in Bodhgaya today. Nalanda, which was a world - renowned Buddhist University in the 5th century AD, is also located in Bihar. Rajgir, a pilgrimage place for Buddhists and Pawapuri, where Lord Mahavira breathed his last, are near Nalanda.

Other places of tourist interest in Bihar include Hazaribagh, a wildlife reserve, famous for its national park; Bhimbandh, famous for hot springs: Maner, a sacred Muslim shrine of Sufi Saint Hazrat Makhdoom Shah; Vikramshila, the ruins of a Buddhist university; Deoghar, famous for a Hindu shrine and Sasaram, the site of the tomb of Afghan emperor Sher Shah Suri .

Bihar boasts of an enviable wealth of rural handicrafts comprising of hand - painted wall hangings, wooden stools, miniatures in paper and leaves, stone pottery, bamboo and leather goods, and applique work. But Bihar's most famous and fascinating indigenous art forms, by far, are its Madhubani paintings. This art is a strict monopoly of the women of Mithila. Done in primary colours of natural origin on paper and cloth, they narrate mythological and religious events.

Bodhgaya | Nalanda | Patna Rajgir | Vaishali | Muzaffarpur.

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