Bihar Sharif is the district headquarters of Nalanda district in the state of Bihar. Revealing the leftovers of medieval Islamic design of the Gupta era in the form of mosques and tombs, Bihar Sharif portrays the depiction of an active town of rich times of yore. Being intimately linked to Buddha’s life, here lays a trail of pilgrimages. It was the capital of the Pala rulers and contains a 5th century AD Gupta pillar. It is also famous for housing the shrine of Sufi saint Sheikh Sharfuddin Yahya Maneri and Langot fair at Baba Maniram Akhara. Being situated on the bank of river Panchanan in the Hiryana Prabhat Parvat, Alluvial soil makes the land very fertile. Here are some of the must-visit places to see in Bihar Sharif:
1. Tomb Of Makhdum Shah Sharif-Ud-Din
It is a beautiful mausoleum of the Sufi Saint, Hazrat Makhdoom Shah Sharif-ud-din. This tomb was built in 1569 and is located on the southern shore of the river. The local Muslims assemble here on the 5th day of the savan season (July-August) to celebrate the anniversary of his death and spread his teachings. However, it also portrays symbol of inner faith harmony and simple principle of secularism and unity in diversity as this mosque equally gets thronged by non Muslim devotees. All in all, it symbolises Islamic culture of the city, which has become an inherent part of its identity.
2. Tomb Of Malik Ibrahim Vaya
This historical tomb will take you back to the very roots of the history of Bihar Sharif and remind what this city was exactly like during its hey days. Situated on the Bari Pahari hill, the site is surrounded by the wreckage of Jail of Jarasandha. The hill with its lush green mountain will definitely soothe your mind. Malik Ibrahim Vaya stood out amongst innumerable Muslim rulers due to his administrative achievements, making him one of the greatest kings to rule Bihar Sharif. This tomb was built in the year 1596 to pay homage to this great king and his service.
If you are a history buff, then Odantapuri must be in your travel itinerary list. Also known as Odantapura and Uddandapura, the ancient Odantapuri University, a great vihara constructed as early as 8th century B.C., was the prime center for learning Buddhism and the Buddhist culture. But only in the 7th century, a ruler of Pala dynasty, Gopala discovered this place. Along with the Nalanda University, it was considered as one of the greatest learning centers. Although lying in ruined condition, the glorious historical aura can still be felt in every breath you take here. In the 13th century, Bakhtiyar Khilji, Mughal Emperor’s local army chief, burnt this university.
4. Jarasandha ka Akhara
Jarasandha ka Akhara, better known as Ranbhumi is located at Rajgir in the Nalanda District. The name of the place has been derived from the name of Magdhan Emperor, Jarasandha. According to legend, this place witnessed one of the most exciting battles in the Mahabharata war between Bhim and Jarasandha that lasted for 27 days. Some of the archaeological sites to explore nearby are Maniyar Math and Sonbhandar caves. Tourists can visit this place by bus from other areas like Sitamarhi and Nalanda.
5. Nalanda University
Who doesn’t know how great and important this historical place is? Such an impressive collection of red brick edifices, statues of Lord Buddha and the stretch of ancient garden can be hardly found anywhere else. Some of the remarkable attractions of the bygone era are Nalanda University Archaeological Complex, Nava Nalanda Mahavira and Hieun Tsang Memorial Hall. It is indeed a lifetime opportunity to witness this place.
Many great dynasties and empires that have ruled Bihar Sharif have left their footprints and memories that dot the landscape of the city.
Some Other Places To Visit In Bihar: