Travel-India

 Bihar

The state of Bihar in Eastern India is one of the oldest states in India with its recorded history dating back to about 3000 years ago.

Known as Magadha in ancient times, the state finds mention in ancient Vedas, puranas and epics. Bihar is of significance to people of various religions for some reason or the other, making it a very secular state and visited by people of all faiths.

Bihar is revered as a holy place, as it is the birthplace of not only the tenth Sikh Guru, Guru Gobind Singh, but also that of two major religions, i.e. Buddhism and Jainism.

Lord Buddha, the founder of Buddhism, is known to have spent lot of time here, leaving a long trail behind which is followed by the devotees. It was here in Bihar (Bodhgaya) that the then Prince Siddhartha meditated persistently and attained enlightenment under the popular Bodhi tree and then on came to be known as ‘Buddha’, the wise.

Emperor Ashoka got a grand temple built at the site in 3rd century BC which was replaced by the present temple in 5th or 6th century AD. The word ‘Bihar’ is a derivation of the Buddhist word ‘Vihara’ which means ‘Abode’ or ‘monastery’. The state was densely dotted with ‘viharas’ in olden times which gave the state its name.

Bihar was also one of the most important grounds of activities of the 24 Jain Tirthankaras. This historical state has witnessed rise and fall of many major empires. Echoing the history stand tall a number of monuments in and around the state.

Bihar is also home to a number of religious places or shrines devoted to the divine.

 

Art and Craft

Like most other Indian states, Bihar is known for art and craft style which are typical of the state.

Bihar is known world over for its Madhubani paintings. Painted on paper or cloth with natural colours, Madhubani paintings depict mythological stories or religious events and are simply beautiful!

Madhubani art is a strict monopoly of women artists of Mithila. Bihar is also famous for wood carving, stone work, pottery, bamboo craft, leather goods, lac bangles and Sikki craft.

 

Folk Music and Dance

The tradition of folk music goes back a long way in the state of Bihar. Folk songs and dance are an integral part of any life event or occasion here.

Bihar has many dance forms, the most famous of which are Jhijhian, Jat-Jalin, Jhumeri, Kajari, Paika and Bidesia.

Holy songs called Phagua are outstanding and replete with humour.

 

Fairs and Festivals of Bihar

Bihar joins the rest of India in joyous celebration of all major festivals, with zeal and zest, besides revelling in a few of its own.

 Chhath is the most important festival of Bihar which is the local version of Thanksgiving for a good harvest.

Bihar also hosts a no. of fairs through the year. The most important fairs are Cattle Fair at Sonepur (Nov-Dec), Makar Sankranti Mela (Jan) and Gaya Pitrapaksh Mela.

 

Cuisine

The cuisine of Bihar is primarily vegetarian. Dal, roti, rice and vegetables form the staple diet of the locals. Amongst the favourite dishes are Khichdi, a broth of rice and lentils seasoned with spices, and Kadhi bari, a spicy gravy of yoghurt and besan (gram flour) with fried besan dumplings in it.

Chiwra, dhuska, litti, makhana and sattu are few of popular local snacks.

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