7 Amazingly Wonderful Historical Places In Bihar

Bihar is an eastern state of India that is known for its rich cultural heritage and ancient historical sites. This state was known as Magadha in ancient times and was mentioned even in the famous epic Mahabharata. It was also a prominent kingdom during the Buddhist era and the reign of the Muslim rulers. There are various tourist spots in this state, which draw thousands of people every year, who are interested to feel the historical value of these sites and enrich their own experiences.

1. Nalanda Mahavihar – This Buddhist monastery was world-famous due to the existence of an ancient university that was known to have excelled in learning Buddhist and Hindu philosophy, medicine and Sanskrit grammar. It is believed to exist during the period stretching from 7th century BC to 1200 CE. This excavated site near Bihar Shariff is now declared as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, due to its immense historical value. According to the historians, this monastery complex was built during the reign of Maurya or the Gupta rulers; it continued to flourish under the state patronage of King Harsha and other Buddhist rulers, till it was attacked and destroyed by the troops of Bakhtiyar Khilji, a Pathan commander. Now, the tourists can see the excavated remains of the eleven monasteries and six temples, built during different periods. There is Nalanda Archaeological Museum beside the excavated site, where the tourists can see various ancient artifacts, discovered from the ruins of this ancient site of learning.

2. Vikramshila Vihar – This Buddhist monastery and learning center was established during the reign of Buddhist king Dharmapala in 8th century CA. It is located in Bhagalpur district of Bihar and it is noted for the brick-made stupa, built at the center of the monastery, just for the purpose of worship. This stupa has two terraces, the walls of which are filled with terracotta plates of different deities, animals and social scenes. Atish Dipankar, the famous Buddhist scholar from Bengal studied in this monastery, who spread this religion in Tibet. Apart from Buddhist scripts, the students were taught Vedas and Vedangas, medicine, law and astronomy.

3. Mahabodhi Temple – The literal meaning of ‘Mahabodhi’ is ‘Great Awakening’ and this historical Buddhist temple is located in Bodh Gaya, that is nearly 96Km away from Patna, the state capital of Bihar. This temple is significant due to the fact that Lord Buddha attained his divine enlightenment under the Bodhi Tree, which was actually a huge peppal tree that is regularly frequented by huge number of pilgrims. The temple was constructed much later, just in front of this tree, by King Ashoka in 250 BC, though it was reconstructed after a few centuries. There is also Animeshlocha stupa on the northeastern side of this temple compound and Ratnagar Chaitya next to it, where Buddha was known to have spent few days after achieving ‘Bodhi’ or the ultimate enlightenment.

4. Vishnupad Temple – It is a very ancient Hindu temple in Gaya district of Bihar, whose original construction date is completely unknown. But the present temple was rebuilt by Ahalayabai Holkar, the Maratha Queen of Indore in 1787 CA. It is believed to contain the footprints of Lord Vishnu, over a large basalt rock, known as Dharmasila. This 30 meter high temple of gray granite is located beside Falgu River and it also contains an ancient banyan tree, known as ‘Akshaybat’ or ‘immortal banyan tree’, within the temple campus.

5. Agam Kuan – It is an ancient well, which is supposed to be built by Emperor Ashoka and was probably used by him as a torture center, before he became a Buddhist. Now it is considered as an important Archeological site, located in Patna, the capital city of Bihar. Till date, it is regarded as an auspicious place by the local Hindus, who perform worships here by throwing coins into the water of this well.

6. Patan Devi Temple – This temple is believed to be of Goddess Durga and the Hindus consider it as a highly sacred place, where the devotees of all castes and creeds can enter inside and worship the Mother Goddess, who is believed to be the presiding deity of this city. The name of the city Patna is believed to be derived due to the presence of Mother Patneshwari, a form of Goddess Durga.

7. Mahavir Temple – This Hindu temple is dedicated to Lord Hanuman and is very popular among all the Hindus of Northern India. It is reportedly known to be the second most frequently visited temples in India, due to the huge number of devotees, flocking here all round the year. But the actual date of its construction is yet unknown, this large marble temple was newly built on 1987, after demolishing the earlier simpler temple.