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Bihar - Background

Biharis can be now found in every part of the country working as laborers. Bihar is a land of rich cultural heritage and geographic beauty. There are many places of tourist interests in Bihar and every year many foreign tourists from different parts of the world come to explore the eternal beauty of this state. Tourists come for different purposes such as tourism, business, education, family reunions, etc.

Bihar has a rich cultural heritage. The predominant themes are from the myths and legends of Hinduism. The Hindu deities, Lord Rama and His consort, Seeta, and Lord Shiva and His consort, Parvati, form the main theme of folk paintings. Bihar, a land of many Buddhist Monasteries is also known as 'The Land of Buddha'. Many important historical sites are being excavated so that today's generation may know about Bihar's prosperous legacy and history. Various historical places and sites are being developed with an eye on tourism so that more tourists may come here and know about our cultural heritage and proud history.

Bihar is famous for pilgrimages of various Indian major communities like Hindu, Buddha, Jain, Muslim, Sikh, etc. Important tourist places are Nalanda (was the seat of ancient learning where a great university flourished in the early years of Christian era), Rajgir (is a wholly place equally revered by the Buddhists and Jains), Gaya (is the centre of pilgrimage for Hindus, they perform Sharaddha ceremony for their departed dear or near sons), Bihar Shariff (64 km from Patna, famous religious devotion of thousand of Muslims every year at Shah Sharifuddin tomb), Pawapuri (Lord Mahavir breathed his last), Vaishali (the seat of the first Republic of the world in the sixth century BC), Patna Sahib (famous for Sikh pilgrimage, tenth Guru Gobind Singh's birth place), Vikramshila (ruins of another Buddhist University), Patna (ancient Patliputra) and Sasaram (tomb of Sher Shah Suri).

Bodhgaya is one of the most important and sacred Buddhist pilgrimage center in the world. It was here under a banyan tree, the Bodhi Tree, Gautama attained supreme knowledge to become Buddha,the Enlightened One. Born; in the foothills of the Himalayas as a Sakya prince of Kapilvastu (now in Nepal), most of the major events of his life, like enlightenment and last sermon, happened in Bihar. Buddhism as a religion was really born in Bihar and evolved here through his preaching and the example of his lifestyle of great simplicity, renunciation and empathy for everything living. Significantly, the state's name of 'Bihar' originated from 'Vihara' meaning monasteries which abounded in Bihar.

Several centuries after Buddha's death, the Maurya Emperor Ashoka (234-198 BC) contributed tremendously towards the revival, consolidation and spread of the original religion. It is the monasteries, Ashoka built for the Buddhist monks and the pillars known as Ashokan Pillars erected to commemorate innumerable historical sites associated with the Buddha's life, mostly intact to this day, that helped scholars and pilgrims alike to trace the life events and preaching of a truly extraordinary man. There is a magnificent Mahabodhi temple and the Tree from the original sapling still stands in the temple premises. The temple is an architectural amalgamation of many centuries, cultures and heritages. While its architecture has a distinct stamp of the Gupta era, it has later ages inscriptions describing visits of pilgrims from Sri Lanka, Myanmar and China between 7th and 10th century AD. It is perhaps still the same temple Hieuen Tsang visited in 7th century.

Tourists should seek permission from the authorities concerned before taking photographs of places of military importance, railway stations, bridges, airports, military installations, tribal areas and sensitive border regions. It is prohibited to take photographs in some of the temples, historical monuments, forts, palaces, tombs and monasteries. Visitors are required to take special permits from the Archaeological Survey of India for photographing monuments with tripods and artificial lights. Camera fee is charged extra in some historical monuments.

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Page last modified: 24-10-2021 15:29:41 ZULU