Beautiful Bihar

Beautiful Bihar

Our last blog focused on the eastern Indian state of Jharkhand and its natural beauty. This week, we remain in East India - as a matter of fact, we remain extremely close to Jharkhand as we shift our sights to the state of Bihar. These two states are so close that they used to actually be one! In 1947, following India’s independence, the state of Bihar was established. It remained a single entity for more than 50 years, but in 2000, in response to decades long calls for separation by tribal inhabitants of the more southern region, the state of Bihar was broken into two states, giving Bihar’s southernmost area a new name: Jharkhand. 

Bihar holds quite a bit of religious significance for some of the major religions of India. Buddhism is said to have been born there because Buddha attained enlightenment in the town of Bodh Gaya under what became known as the Bodhi Tree. Mahavira, the leader of the Jainism, was a native of that region and achieved his own Nirvana in the town of Pawapuri.  “Bihar” is derived from the word “vihara” which means “monastery” and, true to the name, there are Hindu, Buddhist, Jain, Muslim, & Sikh shrines, monasteries and temples all through the state.  



Bihar’s capitol is Patna, and is home to the Patna Museum, which is the State Museum of Bihar. It was built in 1917 and is still a great tourist attraction. Bihar is full of impressive religious sites, beautiful architecture, and skillfully crafted monuments.

One thing visitors can see that wasn’t made by man are the river dolphins at Vikramshila Gangetic Dolphin Sanctuary.  While all of the crafted sights are quite lovely to look at, I’ve gotta say, these dolphins are not the adorable mammals I have come to expect when I think of a dolphin! Ganges River Dolphins have longer bills and much larger, sharper teeth than their counterparts. They are sometimes brown in color and they have extremely small eyes with poor vision because of the murky waters they live in. They are an endangered species, and this preserve serves as the one sanctuary for all of the Gangetic Dolphins in Asia. There are now only a few hundred of these dolphins living, and half of them are here.  I think it’s safe to say a trip to the Vikramshila Sanctuary would be pretty unforgettable!   

Another beautiful sight in Bihar are the Rajgir Hills. In this gorgeous area you can ride a gondola through the Rajgir Ropeway which will lead you to the top of the scenic Rajgir Hill that houses the famous World Peace Pagoda.


Bihar holds tremendous beauty, social significance, and religious history. Visitors have so many options on ways to be entertained, educated, or enlightened that it seems like a perfect place to visit!

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