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Bihar

Bihar

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Bihar finds mention in the Vedas, Puranas, Epics etc and was the main scene of activities of the Buddha and the 24 Jain Tirthankaras. It is also one of the important places in the annals of Indian history which has seen the rise and fall of major empires. With its historical past, there are many tourist destinations especially pilgrim centres in the state like Patna, Bodhgaya, Rajgir, Vaishali and ruins of the the world famous, ancient university of Nalanda etc. The best time to visit is from October to March. Temperature varies from 43 C- 21 C in summer and 20 C - 6 C in winter.

Bihar, an eastern Indian state and the place that gave birth toBuddhism and Jainism and helped in the growth of Sikhism and Hinduism, has a past that is unmatched anywhere in the world. It was the center of first republic in the world at Vaishali and the city of Patliputra was largest and grandest in the world at the height of its glory. Even today, the state is the largest mineral producing region in India and contributes immensely in national wealth creation. There is an array of tourist destinations of diverse interests in the state, though their potential has not been exploited fully till now. The state that represents every thing good and bad within the country is waiting to be explored and rediscovered.

Culture of Bihar

Culture of Bihar Besides usual rural handicrafts like hand-painted wall hangings, wooden stools, miniatures in paper and leaves, stone pottery, bamboo, leather goods and appliqué work, Bihar is famous for its Madhubani paintings. These works of art often adorn city homes and are also exported. A strict monopoly of women of Mithila, Madhubani artists work with natural colors on paper and cloth, making works that narrate mythological and religious events.

Ancient designs in bright colors can still be seen on the mud walls in the districts of Saharsa, Muzaffarpur, Vaishali, Darbhanga, Samastipur, and Bhagalpur and of course Madhubani the trade centre for this unique art.

Since most of the people are Hindu,traditional festivals like Holi,Saraswati Puja,Durga Puja or Dussehra,Deepwali and Bhaiya Dooj are all celebrated.But Chaath dedicated to Sun God is one festival that is unique to the place.The festival begins on the fourth day of the month of Kartik Shukhla Paksha(second fortnight of Kartik).This will correspond to late October to mid November depending on the year.It is one of the holiest festivals for Biharis and extends to four days.

Bihar has a very old tradition of beautiful folk songs sung during important family occasions such as marriage, birth ceremonies. They are sung mainly in group settings without the help of too many musical instruments though dholak and occasionally tabla and harmonium are used.

Bihar also has a tradition of lively Holi songs known as Phagua filled with fun rhythms. During the 19th century when the condition of Bihar worsened under the British misrule many Biharis had to migrate as apprenticed labourers to West Indian Islands, Fiji and Mauritius. During this time many sad plays and songs called Biraha became very popular in the Bhojpur area. Dramas on that theme continue to be popular in the theatres of Patna.

Theatre is another form in which the Bihari culture expresses itself. Some forms of theatre with rich traditions are Reshma-Chuharmal, Bihula-Bisahari, Bahura-GOrin, Raja-Salhesh, Sama-Chakeva and Dom-Kach.These originate in the Anga area of Bihar.

The state has also produced many Hindi writers like Raja Radhika Raman Singh,Shiva Pujan Sahay,Divakar Prasad Vidyarthy,Ramdhari Singh Dinkar,Ram Briksha Benipuri,Phanishwar Nath Renu and Baba Nagarjun.

Bihar is truly colorful state and a great tourist hotspot.

Folksongs & music

Bihar has a very old tradition of beautiful folk songs, sung during important family occasions, such as marriage, birth ceremonies, festivals, etc. They are sung mainly in group settings without the help of many musical instruments, though Dholak, and occasionally Tabla and Harmonium are used.

Bihar also has a tradition of lively Holi songs known as 'Phagua', filled with fun rhythms. During the 19th century, when the condition of Bihar worsened under the British misrule, many Biharis had to migrate as indentured labourers to West Indian islands, Fiji, and Mauritius. During this time many sad plays and songs called biraha became very popular, in the Bhojpur area. Dramas on that theme continue to be popular in the theaters of Patna.

Dances of Bihar

Dance forms of Bihar are another expression of rich traditions and ethnic identity. There are several folk dance forms that can keep one enthralled, such as dhobi nach, jhumarnach, manjhi, gondnach, jitiyanach, more morni, dom-domin, bhuiababa, rah baba, kathghorwa nach, jat jatin,launda nach, bamar nach, jharni, jhijhia, natua nach, bidapad nach, sohrai nach, and gond nach.

Fairs & Festivals in Bihar

From the time immemorial India as a nation is known for colorful festivals. People celebrate and enjoy these festivals promoting love, harmony, brotherhood and peace. Bihar also has long list of festivals which are celebrated with gaiety and tolerance. Tourism in Bihar invites you all to enjoy the festivals in Bihar.

Chatth Puja 
Chatth Puja is a unique festival where the setting sun is worshipped in Bihar with reverence. With full tradition Chatth festival is celebrated twice a year.

Sama-Chakeva 
This festival is celebrated in the Mithila region of Bihar dedicated to the brother- sister relationship. It is time when birds migrate from the Himalayas to the plains heralding the beginning of this festival with the girls making and decorating clay idols of various birds.

Ramnavami

Ramanavami festival is celebrated with traditional reverence and gaiety in Bihar with people observing seven days fasts. This is the auspicious day when lord Rama was born. Temples dedicated to Lord Rama are beautifully decorated and special prayers are carried out.

Makar-Sankranti
This festival marks the end of winter and beginning of the summer season. It is also known as Tila Sankranti. Every year it is observed on the 14th of January. People celebrate it by giving offerings to the poor.

Bihula

This festival is celebrated in the Eastern Bihar especially famous in Bhagalpur district. People pray to goddess Mansa for the welfare of their family.

Madhushravani
Madhushravani is celebrated in the month of Sawan (Hindu calendar August all over Mithilanchal in Bihar with enthusiasm and reverence.

Bodhgaya, India

Buddha Jayanti
On Buddha Jayanti in the month of Vaisakh (April/May), Buddhists from India and abroad throng to Bodhgaya and Rajgir.

Mahavir Jayanti 
There are two major Jain festivals: Mahavir Jayanti (April) which is celebrated with great pomp on Parasnath hill and Deo Diwali (10 days after diwali) which marks the final liberation of Lord Mahavira in Bihar.

Saurath Sabha
Every year for a fortnight in June, the village of Saurath in Madhubani district witnesses a unique gathering of Mithila Brahmins from all over India.It is called Saurath Sabha and is the biggest marriage market. Parents of marriageable children bring horoscopes and negotiate marriages in a vast mango grove.

Art and Crafts of Bihar

Sujini and Khatwa Embroidery:
A traditional quilt sujini is made with layers of clothes mainly in the rural areas. Old clothes are used for the inner stuffing and cotton or colorful threads are used for the embroidery. The embroidery is done in running stitch in a scale pattern. The sujini depicts village and religious scenes such as bride in palanquin, peacocks dancing, boy flying kite, etc. Khatwa is the applique work of Bihar used to craft decorative tents, canopies, shamianas, etc. The applique designs for tents are Persian type trees, flowers, animals, birds, etc. For canopies the whole design with circular central motif is cut out of a single cloth.

Madhubani Paintings:
Madhubani art native to the region of Mithilanchal is a creative folk painting done traditionally by the women. The paintings show symbolic motifs, the religious Gods and Goddesses such as Durga, Radha and Krishna, Shiva and Parvati. Women do the paintings in natural colors on walls, depicting animals such as elephants, fishes, parrots, the sun and moon and giant flowers. The colors range from vibrant red, yellow and green to ochre, brown and black. The pigments are taken from spices, minerals, charcoal, vegetable matter, flowers and plants depicting special events and aspects of everyday life. These paintings in both black and white and strong primary colors are now professionally produced on paper, canvas and textiles for international and national exhibitions etc.

Wood Inlay:
One of Bihar's ancient industries wood inlays continues to be done with different materials, metal, ivory and stag-horn. Artists create decorative pieces like wall hangings, table tops, trays, and a number of utility articles with inlay work. One can see beautiful pieces of trays, boxes and other articles for household use are produced using this craft. The designs are colourful and geometrical.

Lacquerware:
In Bihar lac has been used for making beautiful items like boxes and bangles etc since ages. Sindurdan the vermilion container given in marriage is one of such decorative piece made by laheris community. The boxes are beautifully decorated with the motifs of fish, chakra and peacock. Traditionally the bride's parents present her a round conical box, with a nose ring at the marriage with the symbols of fertility and longevity engraved on its red body.

Stonecraft:
Bihar has rich legacy of handicrafts and stone craft .It is visible and alive from the ancient pillars of the Mauryan period. Patharkatti in Gaya district is the traditional stoneware centre in Bihar. This area supplies in abundance the blue black pot stone from which artisans craft Buddhist icons, images and household articles like the pestle, the mortar kharal (medicine grinder).

Printed Textiles:
Bihar has made its name in textile printing which is done on cotton, wool and silk.Some districts and towns for example Bhagalpur, Bihar Sharif, Darbhanga, Saran and Patna are well known for this craft. In Gaya, it is common to find the religious textiles with the names or footprints of deities printed all over in ochre or red. The chunris of Bihar deserve special mention. Beautiful designs are printed in these chunris which are traditional as well as floral and animal forms. At Sursand in North Bihar only mica (khari) printing is done with bright colours are used extensively.

Sikki Work:
The humble blade of grass is hand-woven into the delightful baskets and mats. They are popularly given to brides during marriage.

Other handicrafts:
Bihar also has tradition of leather craft, tikuli making and papier –mache art .These arts are being recognized all over the world and showcased in international and national exhibitions. Beautiful objects are crafted in traditional and floral designs with bright colours.Religious scenes and gods and goddesses are also painted especially on papier-mache articles.

Bihar As A Tourist Destination

Bihar Tourism offers areas of untouched natural beauty such as lakes, waterfalls and hot springs. Bihar’s unique tapestry of religious history is unparalleled.Bodhgaya is a fascinating place to visit and tourists and travelers flock to see this wonderful tourist haven. On a tour to Bihar, soak up the Buddhist vibes under the sacred Bodhi tree.Rajgir and Sasaram are some of the most interesting places one can find off the usual tourist trail. Enjoy the tranquility of the fascinating ruins at Nalanda University an ancient seat of learning.

Since the inception of its history Bihar has been cradle of culture and civilization with unparalleled growth in the field of art, culture and religion literature & human rights. It is the land where earliest forms of democracy blossomed in the form of cities governance. With Lord Buddha it witnessed a cultural renaissance as people embraced Buddhism and spread beyond the boundaries of our country. Nalanda was established as a highest seat of learning where students joined from the world all over. The rich culture of Bihar will transport you through 3000 years of history, reliving a rich heritage of romantic legends; to a land affluent in natural beauty, whispering forests, sparkling lakes, majestic forts and palaces, holy rivers, cascading waterfalls, natural hot springs.

Tourism in Bihar is still at its nascent stage even though Bihar holds great promise as a place of tourism. Due to lack of growth of overall the state Tourism in Bihar has been long neglected, but with its great tourism potential it can now only grow. Presently Bihar Tourism is in focus and lots more facilities are being planned for people who travel to Bihar.

Forts and Palaces of Bihar

Over three thousand years of glory and historical importance are recorded in the wealth of monuments unearthed in Bihar.This ancient land of Bihar has been witness to some of the spectacular forts and palaces in the country.Visit Bihar to see these magnificent relics of history.

Rohtasgarh Fort
39 kms from Sasaram are the remains of Sher Shah Suri’s Rohtasgarh fort.It now occupies a part of the plateau about 4 miles east to west and 5 miles north to south,28 miles in circumference.It is considered one of the largest and strongest hill forts in India.This fort served as a safe shelter for treasures and families of Sher Shah Suri,Shah Jahan,Man Singh,Mir Qasim and others during the first war of Independence in 1857.Records suggest that there are 84 passages to the hill with 14 main gates entry.However Sher Shah closed ten of them.

Munger Fort
The most famous and important of the monuments at Munger is the fort built on a rocky eminence projecting into the river Ganga which protects it from west and partly from the north,the other sides being defended by a deep moat.The fort encloses an area of about 222 acres and has a circuit of 4 kms.It was built during the time of the early,Mohammedan kings of India.

RajMahal
Situated on the eastern fringe of Bihar on the western bank of river Ganga ,RajMahal was founded by Raja Maan Singh the famous 16th century Rajput General in Akbar’s army.The Sangi Dalan built on river bank is a part of the palace of Shah Shuja,son of Emperor Shah Jehan.Akbari Mosque was built in 1556 to enable Emperor Akbar to pray.

Palamu Fort
Two large forts are located deep in the forests of Aurangabad on Sher Shah Suri path.These forts were attributed to the Vanvasi kings of the Chero dynasty.It had defenses in three directions and three main gates.The architecture is very Islamic which bespeaks of Daud Khan’s conquest.

Maner Fort
Some centuries ago Maner was situated on the confluence of the rivers Ganga and Son and the river Saryu joined it from the north.The remains of an old time fortress on the bank of the old channel of the Son reminds one that Maner was a strategic point in the ancient times.Maner holds significant position in Bihar tourist map with the tomb of Sufi Saint Hazrat Makhdoom Yahya Maneri of the 13th century.