Patna is the capital of the Indian state of Bihar, and one of the oldest continuously inhabited places in the world. The Buddhist, Hindu and Jain pilgrim centres of Vaishali, Rajgir (or Rajgriha), Nalanda, Bodhgaya and Pawapuri are nearby and Patna is also a sacred city for Sikhs (the tenth and last "human" guru, Guru Gobind Singh, was born here).
Patna is located on the south bank of the Ganges River, called Ganga locally. Patna has a very long riverline, and it is surrounded on three sides by rivers—the Ganga, Sone, and Poonpun (also spelt Punpun). Just to the north of Patna across the river Ganga flows the river Gandak making it a unique place having four largish rivers in its vicinity. It is the largest riverine city in the world. A historical city on the banks of Ganges was nomenclated by princess Sarika, daughter of king Patliputra. The city is approximately 25 km long and 9 km to 10 km wide. The bridge over the river Ganga, named after Mahatma Gandhi, is 5850 m long is said to be the longest single river bridge in the world. The walled old area, called Patna City by the locals, is also a major trading centre.
Coordinates: 25°36′40″N 85°08′38″E / 25.611, 85.144
Time zone IST (UTC+5:30)
Area Elevation 3,202 km² (1,236 sq mi) 53 m (174 ft)
Patna Population :
Density 1,230,000 (2001) 375 /km² (971 /sq mi)
The population of Patna is over 1,885,470. The population density is 1132 persons per square kilometre. There are 839 females to every 1,000 males. The overall literacy rate is 62.9%, and the female literacy rate is 50.8%.
Language of Patna : Hindi, Magahi, Bhojpuri, Angika, and Maithili.
Climate of Patna : Patna, as most of Bihar, has a subtropical climate with hot summers from late March to early June, the monsoon season from late June to late September and a mild winter from November to February
Name of Patna : There are several theories regarding the source of the appellation Patna:
It is etymologically derived from Patan, the name of the Hindu goddess, Patan Devi.
It comes from Pattan (meaning "port" in Sanskrit), since the city, located near the confluence of four rivers, has been a thriving river port.
It may be a short form of Patliputra, one of the most ancient names of this city. This name was mentioned by Megasthenes (350 BCE-290 BCE), the Greek historian, (calling it 'Palibothra' or 'Palimbotra', in his writings during the 4th century, and also appears in the records of the Chinese traveller, Fa Hien.
The city has been known by various names during its more than two millennia long existence — Pataligram, Pataliputra, Kusumpur, Pushpapura, Azimabad and the present-day Patna. Patna received its current name during the reign of Sher Shah Suri, whose tomb is at Sasaram, a place near 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 Pataligrama. It is said that in honour of the first born to the queen, the city was named Pataliputra. Gram is the Sanskrit for village and Putra means son.
PatnaFrom a scientific history perspective, it would be appropriate to surmise that the history of Patna started around the year 490 BC when Ajatashatru, the king of Magadh, wanted to shift his capital from the hilly Rajagriha to a more strategically located place to combat the Licchavis of Vaishali. He chose the site on the bank of Ganges and fortified the area. From that time, the city has had a continuous history, a record claimed by few cities in the world. Gautam Buddha passed through this place in the last year of his life, and he had prophesized a great future for this place, but at the same time, he predicted its ruin from flood, fire, and feud.
With the rise of the Mauryan empire, the place became the seat of power and nerve centre of the sub-continent. From Pataliputra, the famed emperor Chandragupta Maurya (a contemporary of Alexander) ruled a vast empire, stretching from the Bay of Bengal to Afghanistan.
Early Mauryan Patliputra was mostly built with wooden structures. Emperor Ashoka, the grandson of Chandragupta Maurya, transformed the wooden capital into a stone construction around 273 BC. Chinese scholar Fa Hein, who visited India sometime around A.D. 399-414, has given a vivid description of the stone structures in his travelogue.
Megasthenes (350 BCE-290 BCE), Greek historian and ambassador to the court of Chandragupta Maurya, gives the first written account of Patliputra. In his book Indika, he mentions that the city of Palibothra (Pataliputra, modern day Patna) was situated on the confluence of the rivers Ganges and Arennovoas (Sonabhadra - Hiranyawah) and was 9 miles (14 km) long and 1.75 miles (2.82 km) wide.
Much later, a number of Chinese travellers came to India in pursuit of knowledge and recorded their observation about Pataliputra in their travelogues, including those of a Chinese Buddhist Fa Hien, who visited India, between A.D. 399 and 414, and stayed here for many months translating Buddhist texts.
In the years that followed, the city saw many dynasties ruling the Indian subcontinent from here. It saw the rules of the Gupta empire and the Pala kings. However, it never reached the glory that it had under the Mauryas.
With the disintegration of the Gupta empire, Patna passed through uncertain times. Bakhtiar Khilji captured Bihar in the 12th century AD and destroyed many ancient seats of learning; Patna lost its prestige as the political and cultural center of India.
Guru Gobind Singh (22 December 1666 – 7 October 1708),the tenth Guru of the Sikhs was born as Gobind Rai in Patna to Teg Bahadur, the ninth Guru of the Sikhs, and his wife Gujri. His birth place Harmandir saheb is a one of most sacred pilgrimage for Sikhs.
The Mughal period was a period of unremarkable provincial administration from Delhi. The most remarkable period during these times was under Sher Shah Suri who revived Patna in the middle of the 16th century. He visualised a fort and a town on the banks of Ganga. Sher Shah's fort in Patna does not survive, but the mosque built in Afghan architectural style survives.
Mughal emperor Akbar came to Patna in 1574 to crush the Afghan Chief Daud Khan. Akbar's navratna and state's official historian and author of Ain-i-Akbari Abul Fazl refers to Patna as a flourishing centre for paper, stone and glass industries. He also refers to the high quality of numerous strains of rice grown in Patna famous as Patna rice in Europe.
Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb acceded to the request of his favourite grandson Prince Muhammad Azim to rename Patna as Azimabad, in 1704 while Azim was in Patna as the subedar. However, very little changed during this period other than the name.
With the decline of the Mughal empire, Patna moved into the hands of the Nawabs of Bengal, who levied a heavy tax on the populace but allowed it to flourish as a commercial centre.
During the 17th century, Patna became a centre of international trade. The British started with a factory in Patna in 1620 for trading in calico and silk. Soon it became a trading centre for saltpetre, urging other Europeans—French, Danes, Dutch and Portuguese—to compete in the lucrative business. Peter Mundy, writing in 1632, calls this place, "the greatest mart of the eastern region".
After the decisive Battle of Buxar (1765), Patna fell in the hands of the East India Company which installed a puppet government. Ruled during the raj by a series of ineffectual Viceroys, the most well known was Rahul Gunderjaharagand. During this period it continued as a trading centre.
In 1912, Patna became the capital of Bihâr and Orissa Province when Bengal Presidency was partitioned. It soon emerged as an important and strategic centre. A number of imposing structures were constructed by the British. Credit for designing the massive and majestic buildings of colonial Patna goes to the architect, I. F. Munnings. Most of these buildings reflect either Indo-Saracenic influence (like Patna Museum and the state Assembly), or overt Renaissance influence like the Raj Bhawan and the High Court. Some buildings, like the General Post Office (GPO) and the Old Secretariat bear pseudo-Renaissance influence. Some say, the experience gained in building the new capital area of Patna proved very useful in building the imperial capital of New Delhi. Orissa was created as a separate province in 1936. Patna continued as the capital of Bihar province under the British Raj.
Patna played a major role in the Indian independence struggle. Most notable are the Champaran movement against the Indigo plantation and the 1942 Quit India Movement.Patna's contribution in the freedom struggle has been immense with outstanding national leaders like Swami Sahajanand Saraswati, the first President of the Constituent Assembly of India Dr. Sachidanand Sinha, Basawon Singh (Sinha), Loknayak Jayaprakash Narayan, Sri Krishna Sinha, Maulana Mazharul Haque, Bihar Bibhuti Anugrah Narayan Sinha, Syed Hasan Imam, Sheel Bhadra Yajee, Sarangdhar Sinha (Singh), Yogendra Shukla, and many others who worked for India's freedom relentlessly.
Patna continued to be the capital of the state of Bihar after independence in 1947, though Bihar itself was partitioned again in 2000 when Jharkhand was carved out as a separate state of the Indian union.
Culture of Patna : Though geographically located in the Magadh region of Bihar, many residents of Patna are natives of one of the four other regions of Bihar -Bhojpur, Mithila, Vajj and Ang, which differ only slightly from each other. Intermarriages and cultural intermixing among the people of the five regions has been so common that it may be difficult for an outsider to discern the differences. Intermixing of people is also common at the village level (e.g. resident of Gulni include people from Gaya, Ganga-par and other villages).
Family orientation in Patna : People are religious and family-oriented, and their lives are deeply rooted in tradition. The interests of the family take precedence over that of an individual. Families are generally large, though the government is actively encouraging family planning to curb rapid population growth. Extended families often live together in one home because of economic necessity. Although the culture is same among the regions, the dialects spoken are quite different. Many talented people of Bihar have emigrated for better opportunities.
Marriage in Patna : Most marriages are arranged; the degree to which the children are consulted depends on the family. Marriage is sacred and is considered to endure beyond death. Weddings are times of great celebration, expense, and feasting. Ceremonies are often elaborate. In many ceremonies, the bride and groom exchange garlands and promises before they circle around a fire seven times to solemnize the marriage. Bright clothing, jewellery, and flowers are part of almost every type of ceremony. The bride's parents may still give a dowry, such as money or land, to the groom, even though the practice is illegal. This practice is called Tilak. Mostly marriages (arranged ones) are caste-based.
Marriage practices are changing as the culture is becoming more progressive. Now People are marrying people from different cultures and castes as more & more women are becoming professionals.
Cuisine of Patna : Staple food "Khichdi", the broth of rice and lentils, seasoned with spices, and served with several accompanying items like curd, chutney, pickles, papads, ghee (clarified butter) and chokha (boiled mashed potatoes, seasoned with finely cut onions, green chilies) constitutes the lunch for most Patnaites on Saturdays.
Patna is also known for the sweet delicacies of central Bihar including Khaja, Motichoor ka Ladoo, Kala Jamun, Kesaria Peda, Parwal ki Mithai, Khubi ka Lai and Chena Murki. These owe their origin to towns in the vicinity of Patna: Khaja from Silao, Ladoo from Maner, Kala Jamun from Vikram, Khubi ka Lai from Barh, Kesaria Peda from Gaya and Chena Murki from Koelwar, Poori from Behea. Descendants of the original family members of the cooks, called halwais in the local language, have migrated to urban Patna and authentic sweet delicacies are now available in the city itself. Unlike the Bengali sweets which are soaked in syrup of sugar and are therefore wet, sweets of Patna and Bihar are mostly dry. The mangoes of Digha, Patna are very delicious & famous.
Traditional snacks and savouries of Patna :
Sattu : powdered baked gram, is a high energy giving food. It is taken mixed with water or with milk. Sometimes, sattu mixed with spices are used to prepare stuffed 'chapattis', locally called as 'makuni roti'.
Litti Chokha :A baked round shape, made by wheat flour with stuffed sattu(litti), the combination of smashed boiled potatoes, bringals & tomatoes(chokha).
Pua: prepared from a mixture of refined wheat flour(maida), milk, ghee (clarified butter), sugar, dry fruits and honey
Pittha : steam cooked, made by powdered rice with sttufed ground gram(chana)OR khoya etc.
Tilkut : referred to as 'Palala' in Buddhist literature, is made of pounded 'tila' or sesame seeds (Sesamum indicum) and jaggery or sugar.
Dahi Chiwra: beaten rice, served with a coat of creamy curd and sugar or jaggery.
Makhana : (a kind of water fruit) is prepared from lotus seeds and is taken puffed or as kheer, prepared with milk and sugar.
Paan : a dessert made out of betel nuts, spices, tobacco, and certain other ingredients, wrapped in a betel leaf and had after a meal.
A variety of non-vegetarian items are also prepared by a section of the population. Fish curries are widely used by a cross section of non-vegetarian population of all social groups. Mughal cuisine are well known and widely relished in Patna. Of late, continental dishes are also catching up fancy. Various types of rolls which are also available in New York owe their origin to Patna.
Shopping in Patna: Shopping is one of the favourite recreational activities of Patnaites. Numerous shopping complexes exist in Patna, including: N.P.Centre, Maharaja Kameshwar Complex, Verma Centre, Kulharia complex and Khaitan market. Maurya lok is one of the oldest and largest shopping areas of Patna. Patna market and Hathwa market are also famous shopping points of the city. A number of shopping malls have also been opened in the city.
Places of interest in Patna :
Some of the places of interest in the city are :
Hanuman Mandir : 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.
Takht Shri Harmandir Saheb : constructed by Punjab ruler Maharaja Ranjit Singh, consecrates the birthplace of Guru Gobind Singh Jee also known as 'Takht Shri Patna Sahib'
Patna Planetorium (Click to see detail information) : One of the largest Planetarium in Asia, the Patna Planetarium attracts large number of domestic as well as foreign tourists. The planetarium has regular film shows on subjects related to astronomy. It also holds exhibitions which attracts lots of visitors.
Shrikrishna Science Centre, West Gandhi Maidan, Patna
Shrikrishna Science Centre is the first Regional Science Centre set up by National Council of Science Museums,as an autonoums body under Ministry of Culture, Govt. of India way back in 1978. In 1996, the govt of India added one new building in its campus consisting of four galleries on the themes Fun Science, Popular Science, Evolution and Oceans. It also has an adjoining Science Park having almost 40 exhibits with which the children can play and learn the basic principles of Science. The centre also organises several educational extension activities for the students and teachers of schools. Its Mobile Exhibition Van, consisting of 24 exhibits on the theme Energy and science demonstration lectures, travels in the rural areas of the state throughout the year. Shrikrishna Science centre was visited by more than 2.12 lakh visitors in the year 2009-10. The appreciation about the centre is constantly increasing amongst the general public which is also reflected in several media report in the last one year.
Patna Zoo Sanjay Gandhi Jaivik Udyan (Click to see detail information)
Golghar : One of the oldest British buildings in Patna.
Patna Museum (Jadu Ghar Patna) :
The well-known museum has a fine collection of stone and bronze sculptures and terracotta figures of Hindu and Buddhist artists. Didarganj Yakshi is the most prized collection of this museum.
Begu Hajjam's mosque : built in 1489 by the Bengal ruler Alauddin Hussani Shah
Kumhrar : The site of the ruins of the Ashokan Patliputra.
Agam Kuan : literally the unfathomable well which is said to date back to the Ashokan period.
Saheed smarak : situated near Bihar Vidhan Sabha. is a memory of seven extra ordinary students who attempted to hoist the Indian flag on the top of Bihar Vidhan Sabha in 1942 during English rule. The six were shot dead by the forces under the command of the-then colonial government of India, while the last and the seventh one was able to hoist the flag.
Maner Sharif: : Shrine of Makhdoom Yahya Maneri, and his disciple, Shah Daulat, at Maner, 29 km from Patna.
Phulwari Sharif : This is a place of great Religious & Historical importance for Muslims.
Imarat-E-Shariya or the "Shariyat" of Patna looks after whole of Bihar, Jharkhand, Orrisa, West Bengal and all North-Eastern states.
Moin-Ul-Haque Stadium : Its Cricket Ground which is 2nd largest in India, next only to "The Eden Gardens". It holds 25,000 spectators. The first ODI was played here between Zimbabwe and Sri Lanka on 15 November 1993(Hero Cup,1993/94).Another ODI was between Kenya and Zimbabwe on 27 February 1996(Wills World Cup 1996)
Pathar ki Masjid built by Pervez, the elder brother of Shah Jahan and the first Mughal prince who made Bihar his residence
Qila House (Jalan House) houses an interesting museum famous for its jade collection, Chinese paintings and other far eastern work of art, Collected by Diwan Bahadur Radhakrishan Jalan.
Sadaqat Ashram on the banks of the river Ganga [The land was donated by Mulana Mazharul Haque to the then congress party] which later became the retreat of Dr. Rajendra Prasad
Padri Ki Haveli : deemed to be the oldest church in Bihar dating back to 1772.
Bankipore Club on the banks of the river Ganges. The dance hall of this club is said to be one of the original buildings built by the Dutch in the 17th century.
Congress Maidan A historic ground that symbolises the Indian independence movement in Bihar.It was used to hold meetings by great illumanaries like Rajendra Prasad,Nehru,Anugrah Narayan Sinha, Sri Babu, Jayaprakash Narayan and others.
Darbhanga House : also called Nav Lakha building. This 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.
Patna College administrative block building was initially part of a Dutch Opium factory established on the banks of the Ganga as a part of the flourishing Opium Trade from the northern China and Nepal region.
Patna Gandhi Maidan called the Patna Lawns during the British Raj.
Anugrah Seva Sadan It was established by Loknayak Jayprakash Narayan to serve the underprivileged masses and to serve as a care home for the poor. It bears the pious name of reverend leader Bihar Bibhuti Dr. Anugrah Narayan Sinha.
Kargil Chowraha near gandhi maidan built in the memory of our brave soldier who get shaheed in kargil war.
Naghol kothi Located in Old city of Patna. Built by Nawabs of Patna, it is an example of unique architecture of midlive time with beautiful garden of Mughal style.
Danapur Cantonment , 12 km from Patna. Its centre for Bihar Regiment.