Tourism in Patna

Tourism in Patna is refers to tourism in capital city of Bihar state in IndiaPatna is known for its tourist destinations and people across the state and abroad visits Patna. This article deals with major tourist attractions in Patna.

History of Tourism

The documented history of tourism in the Patna region dates back to the 4th century BCGreek geographer Megasthenes (c. 350–290 BC) visited the region during the reign of Chandragupta Maurya. His observations were recorded in Indika.[1] Dionysius was the son of Megasthenes, who visited Pataliputra in the reign of Ashoka the Great.[2]

Fa-Hien (ca. 337 – c. 422) was a Chinese tourist who traveled to acquire Buddhist scriptures and take back to China between 399 and 412.[3] Hieun-Tsang visited the sacred Buddhist sites in Magadha and spent much time studying at the great Nalanda University between 629 and 645.[4]

Types of Tourists and Tourism

In the earliest days tourism in the region was purely for educational purposes.[3] As Patna is one of the most sacred cities of religions like BuddhismJainismSikhismand Islam, many people travel to Patna as part of religious tourism.

  • International tourists – Patna attracts tourists from all over the globe, though most are Buddhists from Japan and China.
  • Domestic tourists visit the area on their respective pilgrimages.

Today, tourism in Patna is mainly either religious-based or moderated educational tourism. The Bihar government is also promoting adventure tourism.[5]

Attractions

Archaeological sites

The history and tradition of Patna starts from the earliest dawn of civilization. The original name of Patna was Pataliputra. Its documented history starts around 600 BC.[6] As Patna has 2600 years of history and has seen a number of empires, there are numerous archaeological sites in the area.

Ganges river banks

The Bihar State Tourism Development Corporation (BSTDC) has recently started operating an air-conditioned floating restaurant MV Ganga Vihar from Gandhi Ghatoffering dinner cruises twice a day.[13]

The Tourism Department focuses on the Ganges Ghats in Patna as a major attraction. Motor boats are available to rent at a moderate price and are fitted with Yamaha 25 HP air-cooled two-stroke engines. Lucky tourists can spot Ganges dolphins.[14] There are a number of forts (like Raja Ghat, at Rani Ghat, collectarate Ghat) and pilgrimages (like Kali Mandir at Kali Ghat, Gurdwara Pahila Bara at Gai Ghat, and Gurdwara Gobind Ghat at Gaobind Ghat) situated on the bank of the Ganges in Patna. Tourists can visit Mahatma Gandhi Setu which is one of the longest bridges in the world and situated at Gaighat.

Religious complex

Patna is a popular destination for people who are on pilgrimage.

Hindu pilgrimages

Sikh pilgrimages

Patna is one of the holiest cities in Sikhism, as the tenth Guru of the SikhsGuru Gobind Singh, was born here in 1666 and spent his early years before moving to Anandpur.[17] Patna was also honoured by visits from Guru Nanak in 1509 as well as Guru Tegh Bahadur in 1666.

Islamic pilgrimages

  • Pathar ki Masjid – The Pathar Ki Masjid stands on the bank of the river Ganges near Takht Shri Harmandir Saheb. Parvez Shah, son of Jahangir, established Pathar Ki Masjid in 1621.[1] The structure is built of stones, and so it got its name as Pathar Ki Masjid.[23]
  • Sher Shah Suri Masjid, a mosque, also known as Shershahi, is an example of the Afghan style of architecture.[24] Sher Shah Suri built this mosque in 1540-1545 to commemorate his reign. It is sited in the southwest corner of Purab Darwaza near Dhawalpura.[25]
  • Maner Sharif is the place where Makhdum Daulat in 1608 breathed his last. It was then in 1616 that Ibrahim Khan, Governor of Bihar who was also his disciple, finished the construction of his mausoleum.
  • Bihar Sharif – The city was an active centre of Muslim learning and art. Today it is a small town with a rich cultural past and is a major Muslim pilgrimage centre.[26]
  • Phulwari Sharif – Some important places in Phulwari Sharif: Khanqah Mujeebia, Sheesh Mahal, Shahi Sangi Masjid, Imarat-E-Shariya.
  • Begu Hajjam’s Mosque – built in 1489 by the Bengal ruler Alauddin Hussani Shah.

Christian pilgrimages

Jain pilgrimages

  • Kamaldah Jain Temple : Kamaldah Jain Temple Complex is the oldest Jain temple in Patna built in 18th century.This temple belonging to digambar sect. of Jainism, is dedicated to Neminatha, the 22nd tirthankara. This place has traditionally been associated with the birth of the renowned Jain teacher, Sthulabhadra.

Infotainment complex

Buildings and structures

Parks

Sports complexes

Club

Patna houses such prominent clubs as the Bankipore Club, Golf ClubNew Patna ClubLions Club, and Rotary Club.[48] The Bankipore Club, on the banks of the river Ganges, came into existence in 1913.[49] It is affiliated with various organizations.[50][51] The dance hall of this club is said to be one of the original buildings built by the Dutch in the 17th century.

Neighbourhoods

Places Near Patna

Transport

Patna was among the pioneer towns of India having horse-drawn trams as urban transport.[52] Nowadays, public transport in Patna is provided by busesauto rickshaws and local trains. Auto rickshaws are the most popular means of public transportation in Patna, as they charge a lower fee. Most run on diesel and are yellow and black in colour. Buses are also one of the popular means of public transportation in Patna.

Railways also serve as a means of public transportation in Patna, as the city is a major junction in the rail network of India. The five main railway stations are Patna JunctionRajendranagar TerminalGulzarbag StationDanapur Junction and Patna Sahib Station, the oldest of the stations.

Shopping

Shopping is one of the favourite recreational activities of the locals. Numerous shopping complexes exist in Patna, including P &M Mall, City Centre, N.P. Centre, Maharaja Kameshwar Complex, Verma Centre, Kulharia complex, Khaitan market and Harihar Chamber being amongst the prominent shopping destinations. Maurya lok is one of the oldest and largest shopping areas of Patna. Patna market and Hathwa market are also famous shopping points of the city.There are also malls featuring branded outlets and entertainment.

Connectivity and access

Patna is an important transit point of Bihar for the tourists dropping in from the other states of India. Patna is well-connected by air, rail and road transport.

By air

Patna is served by Lok Nayak Jayaprakash Airport or Airport Patna. It is a national airport, connected to all major cities of India via daily flights. Gaya Airport, 96 km from Patna, is the only international airport in Bihar and Jharkhand, with connections to Colombo, Sri Lanka, through two airline operators, and to BangkokSingapore, and Bhutan.

By rail

Patna is strategically located on the main line of the East Central Railway and therefore connected with important cities of India and most cities within Bihar.

By road

Patna is served by a network of well-maintained roads. Several National Highways lead to Patna, including NH 19,[53] NH 30,[54]NH 31,[55] and NH 83.[56] NH 31 passes Danapur.

  • From Delhi – 1,015 km North-East
  • From Mumbai – 1,802 km North-East
  • From Kolkata – 556 km North-West

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