Patna

Patna is the capital of Bihar, and the second largest metropolis in eastern India and fifth largest in North India.

The Patna museum

Patna is on three sacred rivers, the Ganges, the Sone and the Poonpun. The city has a glorious past and is now a bustling up-and-coming metropolis. Legend has it that a sanctified Ganga had watched with reverence as a hallowed Buddha blessed this place to be a realm of great Kings and their Empires. Belonging to the blue family of cities with a royal heritage, it is the land where the greatest emperors of India walked, and where the greatest saints chose to preach. Guru Gobind Singh, the 10th Sikh Guru was born here. For anyone with a taste for history and religion, this place flies high.

Today, it is apparent that Bihar and Patna have seen better days. Bihar is one of the poorest states of India, and for the first-time foreigner visitor Patna will look a chaotic, noisy city with many signs of poverty even near the city centre. This may change soon, since it has become one of the fastest growing cities of India. With real estate booming at a dizzying pace, shopping malls, theaters, new businesses, food joints it carries the seed for a lively city life, and a tourist haven-to-be.

Understand

The ancient name of Patna was 'Pataliputra' and it was the capital of the Maurya and Gupta empires. Located at the site where Patna is today, the ancient city of Patliputra, with a glorious period of history spanning a thousand years (500BC-400AD), saw the rise and fall of India's first major kingdoms.

Ajastshatru, second of the Magadh Kings, built a fort at Pataligram on the banks of the Ganges river. This later became the famous Mauryan metropolis of Pataliputra and was ruled by Chandragupta Maurya, his son Bindusara and his grandson Asoka, acclaimed for the spread of Buddhism across India. Following the fall of the Maurya Empire, the next powerful empire to have its capital in Pataliputra was the Gupta Empire, which reach its zenith under the rule of Chandra Gupta I (not to be confused with Chandragupta Maurya), his son Samudra Gupta and his grandson Chandra Gupta II. Other emperors who ruled from Pataliputra were the Pala Kings, Shershah Suri (16th Century) and Azimush-Shan (18th Century), the grandson of Mughal emperor Aurangzeb, who renamed it Azeemabad. Vestiges of this ancient city can be seen at Kumhrar, Bhikhnapahari, Agamkuan, Bulandi Bag etc.

Today Patna is an important business and education centre of eastern India. More significantly, it is a gateway to the Buddhist and Jain pilgrim centres of Vaishali, Rajgir, Nalanda, Bodhgaya, Keshariya and Pawapuri. The growing city of Patna is a great place to visit and a great place to live in.

Lying along the banks of the Ganges River, Patna is surrounded by important religious centers for the Buddhists, Sikhs and Jains. This city has been home to two great religions, Buddhism and Jainism, and myriad dynasties from ancient to modern times.

Get in

By plane

Patna Airport or Lok Nayak Jayaprakash Airport (IATA: PAT) is a domestic airport. Directly connected to Delhi, Lucknow, Kolkata, Mumbai, Bangalore,Hyderabad,Chennai,Ahmadabad, Indore and Ranchi, there are daily flights to and from Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata. Air India, Jet Airways, Jet Lite, IndiGo and goAir operate here.

By train

Patna is on the New Delhi - Howrah (Kolkata) railway main line (Patna Junction Code:PNBE; for more information, see Indian Rail site).

Trains from Napal border area (Gorakhpur and Raxual) as well as some from northeast, Delhi and Varanasi arrive at Hajipur Junction station, located on the other side of the River Ganga. Although the distance from Patna Junction station is mere 11km, including 6km on the world's longest river bridge, one should be prepared for 40 minutes to up to 2 hour ride in the bad traffic. There are prepaid and shared taxis/rickshaws available throughout the day between two stations. In Patna, shared rickshaws (₹30) leave from south side of the station.

Long-distance trains arrive from many other major cities including Lucknow, Amritsar, Chandigarh, Vadodara, Surat, Nagpur, Pune, Raipur, Jaipur, Bhubaneswar, Puri, Allahabad, Varanasi, Ranchi, Chennai, Bangalore, Mysore, Hyderabad, Goa, Mangalore, Kozhikode and Kochi, Some of the important trains are:

From New Delhi

From Kolkata

From Bangalore

From Mumbai

From Varanasi

From Ranchi

Railway Enquiry: 139, 138

By car

Patna is connected by road with all major cities of the country via (National Highway 30,31 & 19). Here is the list of destinations by distance from Patna: BodhGaya (130km) ,Muzaffarpur (80km) Rajgir (103km), Vaishali (40 km), Kolkata (535km), Varanasi (300km), Delhi (988km), Ranchi (350km), Jamshedpur (470km) , Kathmandu (373km), Siliguri (380km), Darjeeling (430km), Nalanda (90km).

BSTDC (Bihar State Tourism Development Corporation) offers deluxe bus/car rental services for the following destinations: Bodhgaya, Ranchi, Rajgir , Pawapuri, Nalanda & Vaishali,


On the other hand, the Inter-State Bus Terminus at Bankipore (Near Gandhi Maidan) and Mithapur, Luxury buses are available to the Nepal border (Raxaul/Birganj), Gaya, Siliguri, Ranchi, Jamshedpur, Purnia etc.

Get around

There are a few car rental companies available in Patna. But foreign travellers who have not driven in India may find driving the roads in Patna and Bihar a bit stressful due to the poor road conditions and the constant heavy traffic, although the road conditions have improved recently.

By auto rickshaw

Shared 'Tempo' as they are called are the easiest and cheapest way to get around in Patna. Fare is normally in the range of ₹5-₹15 and drivers rarely try to charge more. However in case you are trying to reserve an auto, it would be better to know the distance well in advance because that is not the preferred means of transportation for the locals and it would mean being charged exorbitant rates.

By bus

Though public transport is non existent there are a few buses plying on the main routes. Prices are generally 20-30% lesser than Tempos. However, they are less comfortable.

See

Mahatma Gandhi Setu
Giraffe at the Patna Zoo

Do

You can go on excursions to the various religious and historical places in and around Patna. Do not miss a boat ride on the mighty Ganges river. When in Patna, try food typical to the region such as pua-pittha, tilkut, chiwra, makhana, the famed sattu or the farmer's staple, litti chokha, and the famous paan.

Buy

Madhubani Paintings can be bought from emporiums at Mauyra Lok, a shopping center located on "Dak- Bunglow" road. You can visit many malls around Frazer road/Dak Bunglow Crossing such as Vishal Mega Mart, Maurya Lok Complex and Patna Market on Ashok Rajpath, Hathwa Market, Bari Path & Alankar Palace and other shopping arcades near Boring Road Crossing

Relatively new malls include Patna Central Mall and P&M Mall Patliputra Kurji Road, Patliputra.

Eat

Pudina chicken pulao or chicken rice with curd, Patna style

What

Where

Restaurants



There are three cheap and good Indian restaurants just as you come out of the north train station overpass. The one in the middle has English menus.

Sweets Parlours

Drink

Sattu-pani is among the popular drinks, Lassi made of curd, dry fruits & sugar.

Sleep

Patna is a growing business town, and as such hotels tend to be overpriced for the room provided. It also means that many hotels are full most nights, giving little incentive to improve facilities.

Budget

Other budget accommodation can be found on the road leading from the train station down towards the Mithapur bus stand. Very basic rooms start at ₹400.

Mid Range

Splurge

Go next

This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Monday, March 21, 2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.