Tourism in Bihar
Bihar, located in the eastern part of India, is a state with a rich historical and cultural heritage. It offers a wide range of tourist attractions, including ancient sites, religious pilgrimage centers, natural landscapes, and vibrant festivals. Here’s an overview of Bihar tourism:
Bihar is home to several ancient historical sites, including Nalanda University, a renowned center of learning in ancient times. The ruins of this ancient university attract tourists interested in exploring its architectural remains. Other historical sites include Rajgir, known for its association with Lord Buddha, and Pawapuri, the place where Lord Mahavira, the founder of Jainism, attained nirvana.
Bihar is a significant destination for religious tourism. The state houses Bodh Gaya, one of the most important Buddhist pilgrimage sites in the world. It is where Gautama Buddha attained enlightenment under the Bodhi Tree. The Mahabodhi Temple, a UNESCO World Heritage site, is a major attraction for pilgrims and tourists alike. Other religious sites include the Vaishali Stupa, Kesaria Stupa, and Patna Sahib Gurudwara.
Bihar is blessed with scenic beauty and natural landscapes. The state is crisscrossed by rivers like Ganga, Son, and Kosi, offering picturesque views and opportunities for river cruises. Valmiki National Park, located in the West Champaran district, is a popular wildlife sanctuary known for its rich biodiversity. The Vikramshila Gangetic Dolphin Sanctuary is another notable attraction, where visitors can spot the endangered Gangetic dolphins.
Bihar celebrates various festivals with great enthusiasm, offering a glimpse into its vibrant culture. The Chhath Puja, dedicated to the Sun God, is one of the most significant festivals in the state. It involves elaborate rituals and worship of the sun during sunrise and sunset. Other popular festivals include the Sonepur Cattle Fair, Makar Sankranti, and Bihula-Bishari Puja.
Bihar has a unique culinary tradition known as “Bihari cuisine.” It is famous for dishes like litti chokha (roasted wheat balls with a spicy mix of mashed potatoes and brinjal), sattu (roasted gram flour), and various sweets like khaja and malpua. Exploring the local cuisine is a delightful experience for food enthusiasts.
To promote tourism, the Bihar government has undertaken initiatives to improve infrastructure, develop tourist circuits, and promote cultural festivals. It aims to showcase the state’s rich heritage and attract more visitors to explore Bihar’s historical, cultural, and natural treasures.
Things to do in Bihar
Here are some things you can do in Bihar:
Visit Bodh Gaya
Bodh Gaya is one of the most important pilgrimage sites for Buddhists around the world. It is where Gautama Buddha attained enlightenment under the Bodhi Tree. The Mahabodhi Temple and the Bodhi Tree are major attractions in this spiritual town.
Explore Nalanda University Ruins
Nalanda was once a renowned center of learning in ancient India. The ruins of Nalanda University are now a UNESCO World Heritage site. Explore the archaeological remains, visit the Nalanda Archaeological Museum, and learn about the rich intellectual history of the region.
Rajgir is an ancient city with historical and religious significance. Visit the Griddhakuta Hill (Vulture’s Peak), where Buddha preached, and the Ajatshatru Fort, which offers panoramic views of the surrounding area. The hot springs of Rajgir are also popular for their medicinal properties.
Experience the Chhath Puja
Chhath Puja is a significant festival celebrated in Bihar, dedicated to the Sun God. Witness this colorful festival and experience the devotion and rituals associated with it. It usually takes place in October or November.
Take a boat ride on the Ganges
The Ganges River, also known as the Ganga, flows through Bihar, offering scenic beauty and a chance to experience the spiritual essence of the region. Take a boat ride along the river to witness the ghats (riverfront steps) and the rituals performed by devotees.
Visit Patna Museum
Located in the capital city of Bihar, Patna Museum houses an extensive collection of artifacts, including archaeological finds, paintings, sculptures, and relics from different periods of Bihar’s history. It is a great place to learn about the state’s rich cultural heritage.
Vaishali is an important historical and archaeological site associated with Lord Buddha. It is believed to be the birthplace of Lord Mahavira, the founder of Jainism. Visit the Ashokan Pillar, the Buddha Stupa, and other ancient ruins in this ancient city.
Discover Kesaria Stupa
Kesaria Stupa is one of the tallest and largest Buddhist stupas in the world. It is located near the town of Kesaria and dates back to the 3rd century BCE. Explore the stupa and learn about its historical and architectural significance.
Attend the Sonepur Cattle Fair
Sonepur Mela, also known as the Sonepur Cattle Fair, is one of the largest and oldest cattle fairs in Asia. Held in the town of Sonepur, it attracts traders, farmers, and visitors from various parts of India. Experience the vibrant atmosphere, buy and sell animals, and witness cultural performances.
Taste Bihari Cuisine
Bihar offers a diverse range of delicious traditional dishes. Don’t miss out on trying specialties like litti-chokha (roasted wheat balls with mashed potatoes and spices), sattu (roasted gram flour), khaja (a sweet delicacy), and the famous Bihari thali, which includes a variety of vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes.
These are just a few highlights of what Bihar has to offer. The state is also home to other attractions like the Vikramshila Gangetic Dolphin Sanctuary, Patna Sahib Gurudwara, and numerous historical sites. Exploring Bihar will provide you with insights into its rich cultural heritage and deep-rooted traditions.
Bihar Tour Packages
FAQs on Bihar Tourism
Bihar is rich in cultural and historical heritage. Some popular tourist attractions in Bihar include Bodh Gaya (a UNESCO World Heritage site and the place where Buddha attained enlightenment), Nalanda (an ancient center of learning), Rajgir (known for its hot springs and ancient ruins), Vaishali (an important Buddhist pilgrimage site), Patna Sahib (birthplace of Guru Gobind Singh, the tenth Sikh Guru), and the Mahabodhi Temple (a significant Buddhist temple).
Yes, Bihar has several wildlife sanctuaries and national parks. Some notable ones are Valmiki National Park (known for its diverse flora and fauna, including the Bengal tiger), Bhimbandh Wildlife Sanctuary (home to tigers, leopards, and several species of deer), and Vikramshila Gangetic Dolphin Sanctuary (a protected area for the endangered Gangetic dolphins).
Bihar celebrates various festivals throughout the year. Some important festivals include Chhath Puja (a major Hindu festival dedicated to the Sun God), Makar Sankranti (a harvest festival), Bihula-Bishari Puja (a folk festival), and Ram Navami (celebrating the birth of Lord Rama). Additionally, cultural events like the Sonepur Cattle Fair, Patna Sahib Festival, and Rajgir Mahotsav also attract tourists.
Bihar is well-connected by air, rail, and road. The major airport in Bihar is Lok Nayak Jayaprakash Airport in Patna, which has regular domestic flights connecting to major cities in India. Patna Junction is the primary railway station with trains connecting Bihar to various parts of the country. Bihar is also well-connected by a network of national highways and state highways, making road travel convenient.
Yes, Bihar offers a range of accommodation options for tourists. In major cities like Patna, Gaya, and Bodh Gaya, you can find luxury hotels, budget hotels, guesthouses, and homestays. There are also government-run tourist rest houses and tourist bungalows available at some tourist destinations. Additionally, Bihar Tourism Development Corporation (BTDC) provides accommodation facilities at various locations.
Like any other destination, it is important to exercise caution and take necessary safety precautions while traveling to Bihar. Overall, Bihar is a safe place for tourists, but it is advisable to stay alert, especially in crowded areas and during festivals. It’s recommended to follow general safety guidelines, be aware of your surroundings, and take appropriate measures to safeguard your belongings.
If you are looking for offbeat destinations in Bihar, you can consider exploring places like Madhubani (known for its unique Mithila paintings), Pawapuri (an important Jain pilgrimage site), Araria (famous for its archaeological sites and natural beauty), and Bhagalpur (known for the Vikramshila Setu and the Ganges riverfront). These places offer a distinct charm and are less crowded compared to the popular tourist spots.
Bihar offers limited adventure activities, but you can engage in activities like wildlife safaris in Valmiki National Park, boating in the Ganges River, and exploring the caves and hills of Rajgir. Additionally, you can take part in cultural experiences like learning traditional art forms, attending folk dance performances, and experiencing local cuisine, which can add a unique flavor to your trip.
The best time to visit Bihar is during the winter season, from November to February, when the weather is pleasant and suitable for exploring the tourist attractions. Summers (March to June) can be hot and humid, while monsoons (July to September) may witness heavy rainfall. However, if you specifically plan to attend festivals like Chhath Puja, you may need to visit during the respective festival dates, which vary each year.
Bihari cuisine is known for its simplicity and unique flavors. Some popular dishes include litti-chokha (roasted wheat balls served with mashed potato and brinjal), sattu paratha (stuffed paratha made with roasted gram flour), thekua (a sweet snack made with wheat flour and jaggery), and ghugni (a spicy curry made with black chickpeas). Bihar also offers a variety of sweets like khaja, malpua, and peda.