Situated on the Southern banks of the Ganges, Patna, the capital of Bihar, has a rich history behind it. There are other four rivers that join the Ganges in Patna. These are Ghaghara, Gandak, Punpun and Sone.
The city is located at an altitude of 53 metres. Patna has one of the worlds longest bridges in the world, the Mahatma Gandhi Setu on the River Ganga. In terms of population, Patna is the second largest city of eastern India.
The history of Patna can be traced back to 493 BC, when a king of the Magadha empire, Ajathashatru, fortified the then called Pataligrama. His son, Udayi continued the dynasty and developed the village into a town and thus, Pataliputra was formed.
Later, Pataliputra was ruled by many dynasties, the most important of which is the Mauryan empire, under which was developed. It was also the capital of the Magadha Empire under the Haryanka, Nanda, Gupta, Mauryan, Pala, Sunga and Suri dynasties.
Under the reign of the Mauryan dynasty, kings Chandragupta Maurya and Asoka were responsible for turning Patna into an educational and cultural hub. Many foreign travellers including Megasthenes and Fa Hien had visited Pataliputra and had expressed immense praise for the city.
Patna is known for its Buddhist remains and is also a sacred place for the Sikh Community, since many of the Sikh Gurus were born here. The Buddha also is said to have passed through Pataliputra during the last part of his life.
The major tourist attractions of Patna are Khuda Baksh Oriental Library, Patna Museum, Golgarh, the Patna Cemetery, Padri-Ki-Haveli (a church), Har Mandir, Agam Kuan and a host of other structures. Places that are close by include Nalanda, where one of the oldest universities of the world was established.
And the best way to explore this historical city is by hiring a taxi. A host of local travel companies can be contacted to rent private taxis. Tourists visiting Patna must visit local bazaars to buy traditional weaves like the locally-made sarees and Madhubani paintings. Travellers must try local delicacies like litti chokha, milk pedas and chaats.
Patna is famous mainly for the historical importance and is a holy place for both Buddhists and Sikhs. The people of Patna also combine the neighbouring places of Bhojpur, Mithila, Vujj and Anga. They primarily speak Hindi, Urdu, Bihari, Mithali, Maghi and English.
Patna is well connected by rail, road and air. The city has five major railway stations to which there are regular trains from major cities of India. There is also the Loknayak Jayaprakash Airport in the city that is well connected to other cities by international and domestic flights. Road transport is also available from many north Indian cities.
The best season to visit the ancient and historical city of Patna is from the month of October to February.