Bihar has many tags attached to it. The state owns the pride of establishing one among the first democracies in the world called Lichhavi. The earliest university in the world was established in Bihar. The name Bihar is a derivative from Vihara, which means ‘monastery’. True to its name and its rich cultural heritage, the state houses various monasteries and it is famous for monuments belonging to various religions. The major empires of India rose to great heights here and they succumbed here as well. River Ganga enriches the plains of the landlocked state and contributes to the fertility of lands along with rivers Kosi and Gandak. A wonderful place with a rich history offers many tourist attractions out of which, the top 10 places to visit in Bihar are mentioned below.
1. Nalanda University
Nalanda University was established during the 5th century A.D. The university is considered the first residential university ever in the world. The university stands proof for the prominent role played by India in imparting knowledge. The university had 2000 teachers who taught over 10000 students from all parts of the world. The uniqueness of the place could be gauged by the fact that Buddha himself was a teacher here and Hieun-Tsang, Chinese traveler and a great scholar, was a student of this university. Red rocks were used in the construction, which is built in Kushana style of architecture. The remains excavated from the university ruins include stupas, ornamented panels, lecture halls and stairway.
2. Bodhi Tree
Bodhi Tree is located about 100 km from Patna. Buddha achieved enlightenment under this tree and hence it is a pilgrim center for Buddhists who hail from all parts of the world. The place where it is situated has been declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. On your visit to Bodhi Tree, you will find Maha Bodhi Temple, which is sacred to those who follow Buddhism. The architecture of the temple goes to show the richness and grace of Indian architecture.
3. Muchalinda Lake
Muchalinda Lake acquires the name after Shesh Naga or the Snake King Muchalinda who protected Buddha during a storm while he was into the sixth week of meditation. Muchalinda protected Buddha from the rising waves and in honor of his services; the place was named after him. You could find the sculpture depicting the hood protecting Buddha who is in the state of meditation on snake coil. The green trees by the lake and the lush greenery make it the most frequented tourist spot in Bodh Gaya.
4. Griddhakuta Peak
Griddhakuta Peak is famously known as the vulture peak. Located in Rajgir, the peak resembles the shape of vulture and it is frequented by vultures in great numbers. Buddha delivered some of his famous sermons here and hence it is considered sacred for Buddhists. The steps formed by cutting rocks lead you to two caves that are naturally formed. For those who find the trip physically challenging, chairlift facilities are available to reach the hilltop.
5. Rajgir Hot Springs
Hot springs in Rajgir are famous tourist spots. Located at the foot of Vaibhava Hills, the springs get their water from Saptadhara, which passes behind Saptaparni Caves. The hot springs are considered to possess medicinal properties. Among the hot springs, Brahmakund spring is the hottest and has a temperature of 450 Celsius. It is believed that Lord Buddha and Mahavira had bathed in these hot springs.
6. Buxar Fort
The ancient fort situated in Buxar along the Ganges River was constructed in 1054 AD. The carvings found in the fort offer amazing views and the construction of the fort is outstanding. While you are here, do not miss some of the tourist attractions nearby, which include Gauri Shankar Temple and Nath Baba Temple.
7. Navlakha Palace
Situated in the town of Rajnagar near Madhubani in Bihar, the palace was built in the 17th century A.D. by Maharaja Rameshwar Singh of Darbhangha. It suffered extensive damage caused by an earthquake in 1934, and sadly wasn’t rebuilt after. Situated near the kamala river is a marble temple of the goddess kali, and it’s still widely visited, another temple of the goddess Durga forms an integral part of the palace, and is still in operation, also known as the Rajnagar palace complex, it’s one of the major tourist attractions in Mithila and people come to visit all year round.
8. Hieun Tsang Memorial Hall
Built in memory of the famous Chinese scholar and traveler Hieun Tsang, the construction is rich in architecture. Hieun Tsang spent more than 12 years in this place on his visit to India. This was the place where Hieun Tsang learnt yoga under the guidance of Acharya Shil Bhadra. The famous traveler has thrown light on medieval India and Nalanda, which are found in the memorial hall.
9. Jalmandir Temple
Jalmandir Temple is situated in the middle of a lake, which is full of lotuses. King Nandivardhan, who was the elder brother of Lord Mahavira is said to have constructed the temple. The temple is in the shape of a Vimana. The place where Lord Mahavira attained Samadhi and the place he was cremated are marked in the temple. The 600 ft long bridge made of stone connects the temple to the banks of the pond.
10. Patna Museum
Patna Museum was constructed in 1917. The building is a blend of Rajput and Mughal architecture, it is one of the most popular places in Patna. The museum houses archaeological objects, paintings, sculptures and images by artists belonging to Hinduism and Buddhism. The museum also has a 200 million old fossil of a tree. At 12 noon every day, you can view picture source associated to culture. You will find the museum to provide information on the culture and tradition of the place. The museum remains closed on Mondays.
There are many more tourist places in Bihar such as Bhagalpur, Bihar Sharif, Darbhanga, Katihar, Munger, Muzaffarpur, Rajgir, Vaishali, Nalanda, Arrah, Begusarai, Purnia etc. Your tour to Bihar will provide you an insight of its rich cultural heritage and glorious past.