History of Bihar

Two of India’s most glorious dynasties, Mauryas (321 -185 BCE) and Guptas (320 to 550 CE) flourished in ancient Bihar region which was then known as Magadh. The Great King Ashoka (born c.304 BCE, died c. 232 BCE) of Mauryan dynasty whose empire spread across South Asia. He had his capital in Pataliputra that is present Patna. The Gupta period termed as India’s golden age was also based in Magadh and Pataliputra as its capital. Nalanda and Vikramshila were centres of learning established in the 5th and 8th century respectively in Bihar, and are regarded amongst the oldest and truly international secular universities, where students from across the world came over to study. It is in Bihar that the world’s first democracy was in governance by the Lichchivi (the present Vaishali) about 2600 years back.

The great spiritual way of Buddhism originated and thrived in ancient Bihar, as Budda attained his enlightenment in Bodhgaya. Therefore the region is full of remains of the monasteries known as Stupa. Jain leader Mahavira also belonged to this region and attained his Nirvana at Pawapuri. Among Hindu religious places Bihar has one of the most prominent pilgrimages at Gaya for imparting offerings to ancestors. Ramayana and Mahabharata, the grand epics of India which are still very popular and connected to Hindu religion have numerous tales associated with various places in Bihar. The author of Ramayana, Valmiki also belonged to this region. Bihar had also been a hub for the development of Sufism as quite a few of sufi saints who initiated brotherhood among Hindu and Muslims settled here around the Islamic period. Imam Taj Faqih from Maner, Shihabuddin Pir Jagiot are few Islamic saints amongst the many. The Qadri order, which is now believed to be one of the chief Sufi orders in the state, had one of its prominent representatives, Syed Muhammad of Amjharsharif, based in the Aurangabad district of Bihar. The Sikh leader the tenth Guru Govind Singh was born in Patna in 1660. The Har Mandir Takht built by Maharaja Ranjit Singh to commemorate his birth place is regarded as one of the five ‘Akal Takht’s by the Sikhs.

The religious choice is there to take trips on the basis of the Buddhist Circuit, Jain Circuit, Ramayana Circuit, Sufi Circuit, Hindu Circuit, Sikh Circuit etc. for pilgrimage purpose or just to enjoy the sheer beauty of the archaeological remains and the amazing unspoilt natural surroundings of this land. During the 12th century CE Bihar suffered aggressive attacks from the Afghan rular Bakhtiar Khilji and all the glorious historical places were plundered by him. Later during the reign of the great Afghan ruler Sher Shah Suri who ruled from Patna and built the Grand Trunk Road the longest road of India Bihar saw a span of five years good governance.

During British rule Mahatma Gandhi started his first experiment of Satyagraha movement from the Champaran region against the oppression of the indigo farmers by the Britishers. In 2000, the southern part of earlier Bihar was given a separate state status as Jharkhand.

Presently, Bihar is the country's fastest growing state with a reported a growth of 13.1% for the year 2011-12while it was 14.8% for the previous year. This economic revival is the direct result of the improved governance which focused into investment in infrastructure, better health care facilities, education and declining crime and corruption. Thus Bihar has become a prospective opportunity for investment interest to global business and economic leaders.