Nepal binds Bihar on the north on the east by West Bengal, on the west by Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh, and Orissa in the south. The present name of the state of Bihar owes its origin to the "Viharas" built by Lord Buddha who attained spiritual enlightenment on this land and preached love, peace and tolerance. The erstwhile capital city of Patliputra of Emperor Ashoka is the present day state capital, Patna.
Most travellers just pass through Patna on their way to Calcutta or Kathmandu. However, Bodhgaya is an excellent place to study Buddhism, and Rajgir, Nalanda and Sasaram are interesting places that are not on the tourist trail. Bodhgaya is one of the most sacred place for Buddhists and Hindus and has a number of Buddhist temples. In Gaya, visit the Mahabodhi Temple. In Vaishali, check out an ancient parliament, the Fort of King Vishal, and Ashok Pillar.
CAPITAL: Patna is a bureaucratic city, noisy and bustling. It is a sprawling metropolis that hugs the south bank of the Ganges, stretching for around 15km in a shape that has changed little since Ajatasatru (491-459 BC) shifted the Magadhan capital here from Rajgir. Patna's tourist attractions are Har Mandir Sahib, Qila
CULTURE : Bihari culture is based largely on ancient Aryan Hindu elements. Rural Chota Nagpur has retained much of its aboriginal way of life. Places of religious and cultural interest abound in the plains. Nalanda is the seat of the ancient and celebrated Nalanda Buddhist monastic university. The Chhau dance, a tribute to Bihar's cultural folk traditions follows classical modes as detailed in the ancient treatises. In this, therefore three main elements of the classical dance, namely Raga or melody, Bhava or mood, tala or rhythmic timing are found.
HANDICRAFTS: Bihar's rural handicrafts comprise of hand-painted wall hangings, wooden stools, miniatures in paper and leaves, stone pottery, bamboo, leather goods, and applique work. But Bihar's most famous and fascinating indigenous art form is its Madhubani school of painting, a strict monopoly of the women of Mithila. It illustrates mythological themes, incorporating images of local deities as well as Hindu gods and goddesses.
OCCUPATION :The principal foodgrains of Bihar are paddy, wheat, maize and pulses. Main cash crops include sugarcane, potato, tobacco, oilseeds, onion, chillies and jute. The major industries of the state are steel, iron, heavy vehicles, aluminum, oil refining, railway wagons, and copper smelting, cement and communication cables. Bihar is also very rich in minerals. The main minerals found in this state are coal, iron, copper, mica, pyrite, limestone, bauxite, and graphite.
FESTIVALS :Saraswati Puja around Jan-Feb; Teej in August; Diwali in Nov; Chhath Puja in Nov.
CLIMATE: The state has a humid subtropical monsoon climate, with three well-defined seasons: the cool season, from November to February; the hot season, from March to mid-June; and the rainy season, from mid-June through October. Temperatures in December and January fall to 5ºC and below, while those in May rise above 40º C. the State’s mean annual rainfall is 1,270-mm. Best time to visit is October to March.
POPULATION : 104 million.