Tourism in Patna is refers to tourism in capital city of Bihar state in India. Patna 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 BC. Greek geographer Megasthenes (c. 350–290 BC) visited the region during the reign of Chandragupta Maurya. His observations were recorded in Indika. Dionysius was the son of Megasthenes, who visited Pataliputra in the reign of Ashoka the Great.
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. Hieun-Tsang visited the sacred Buddhist sites in Magadha and spent much time studying at the great Nalanda University between 629 and 645.
Types of Tourists and Tourism
In the earliest days tourism in the region was purely for educational purposes. As Patna is one of the most sacred cities of religions like Buddhism, Jainism, Sikhismand 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.
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. As Patna has 2600 years of history and has seen a number of empires, there are numerous archaeological sites in the area.
- Kumhrar – The archaeological remains of the Mauryan period (322–185 BCE) have been discovered here, including the ruins of a hypostyle 80-pillared hall. The excavation finding here dates back to 600 BC, and marks the ancient capital of Ajatshatru, Chandragupta and Ashoka, and collectively the relics range through four continuous periods from 600 BC to 600 AD.
- Didarganj Yakshi is a fine example of Mauryan art. The sculpture is currently housed in the Patna Museum, and is India’s most famous piece of art.
- Agam Kuan, which means “unfathomable well”, is said to date back to the period of the Maurya emperor Ashoka. The well is located east of Patna.
- Chausagarh or Chausa, of Buxar, while very well known in the annals of Indian history as the place where in 1539 AD Sher Shah defeated the Mughal emperor Humayun, is also a place of great antiquity.
Ganges river banks
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. 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.
Patna is a popular destination for people who are on pilgrimage.
- Mahavir Mandir, located in Patna, is one of the holiest Hindu temples dedicated to Hanuman. Millions of pilgrims visit the temple every year. It is the second most-visited religious shrine in North India. The Mahavir Mandir Trusts have the second highest budget in North India after the famous Vaishno Devi shrine.
- Patan Devi – The sacred temple is held to be one of the 51 Siddha Shakti Pithas in India. According to Puranic legends, the ‘right thigh’ of the corpse of Sati had fallen here when it was chopped off by Lord Vishnu with his ‘Sudarshan Chakra‘. The ancient temple, originally called Maa Sarvanand Kari Patneshwari, is believed to be the abode of the goddess Durga.
- Kali Mandir
- Birla Mandir
Patna is one of the holiest cities in Sikhism, as the tenth Guru of the Sikhs, Guru Gobind Singh, was born here in 1666 and spent his early years before moving to Anandpur. Patna was also honoured by visits from Guru Nanak in 1509 as well as Guru Tegh Bahadur in 1666.
- Takht Shri Harmandir Saheb is one of the Five Takhts of Sikhism. The Gurdwara at Patna Sahib is in remembrance of the birthplace of Guru Gobind Singh, the tenth Guru of the Sikhs.
- Gurdwara Pahila Bara, commonly known as Gurdwara Ghai Ghat, is dedicated to Guru Nanak Dev, who during his visit to Patna stayed here in 1509 AD Guru Tegh Bahadur along with his family visited this place in 1666 AD
- Gurdwara Gobind Ghat is where the child Guru Gobind Singh used to play with his playmates on the bank of the Ganges. It is situated on the bank of river Ganges and hardly 200 yards from Takht Shri Harmandir Saheb. It is also known as Gurdwara Kangan Ghat.
- Gurdwara Guru ka Bagh – This Gurdwara is situated 2 miles away from the birthplace of Guru Gobind Singh.
- Gurdwara Bal Leela – This place is just a few meters away from Takhat Patna Sahib. Guru ji were playing with other children during his childhood. Gurdwara Bal Leela is also known as Maini Sangat.
- Gurdwara Handi Sahib – This Gurdwara was built in the memory of Guru Teg Bahadur, as he with Mata Gujri and Bala Preetam stayed here in 1728.
- 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. The structure is built of stones, and so it got its name as Pathar Ki Masjid.
- Sher Shah Suri Masjid, a mosque, also known as Shershahi, is an example of the Afghan style of architecture. 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Padari ki haveli – The “Mansion of Padre”, also known as St Mary’s Church, is the oldest church in Bihar. When Roman Catholics arrived in Bihar, they built a small church in 1713 at a place now known as “Padri-ki-Haveli”.
- Old Church of Patna
- 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.
- Patna Planetarium is one of the largest planetariums in Asia. It was dedicated to the nation and opened to public on 1 April 1993.
- Patna Museum is the state museum of Bihar. It was built by the British during the British Raj in 1917 to house the historical artifacts found in the vicinity of Patna.
- Sanjay Gandhi Jaivik Udyan is classified as one of the 16 large zoos in the country and is also known as Sanjay Gandhi Botanical and Zoological Garden or the Patna Zoo. This is situated near Bailey Road in Patna.
- Srikrishna Science Centre – This institution forms a unit of the National Council of Science Museums, an autonomous body under the Ministry of Culture. It is located at the southwestern corner of the Gandhi Maidan. Of late it has become a popular destination, especially for the kids. A number of attractions have been added in the center.
- Khuda Bakhsh Oriental Library – One of the national libraries of India, it has a rare collection of Persian and Arabic manuscripts. It also hosts paintings made during Rajput and Mughal rule in India.
- Sinha Library
Buildings and structures
- Golghar – The Golghar or Gol Ghar (“Round house”), located to the west of the Gandhi Maidan, is a granary built by Captain John Garstin in 1786.
- Sabhyata Dwar– a sandstone arch monument located on the banks on River Ganga in the city of Patna.
- Mahatma Gandhi Setu, with a length of 5450 meters, is one of the longest bridges in the world. The approach to the bridge from the south is a 50 km long flyover. There are 40 piers to this bridge.
- Digha–Sonpur Bridge is a rail-cum-road bridge provides easy roadway and railway link between northern and southern parts of Bihar.
- Kargil Chowk is a war memorial. It was established in the year 2000, near Gandhi Maidan. It is dedicated to the soldiers from Bihar and Jharkhand who sacrificed their lives in the Kargil War against Pakistan in 1999.
- Patna High Court was established on 3 February 1916, and later affiliated under the Government of India Act, 1915. The court is headquartered in Patna, the administrative capital of the state.
- Naghol kothi is a palace (Kothi) located in Patna. This building was built during the British Raj by a Mughal architect and is a splendid example of Mughal architecture. This building is surrounded by a beautiful garden.
- Saheed Smarak is a famous landmark situated near Bihar Vidhan Sabha. It is a memorial to seven extraordinary students who attempted to hoist the Indian flag on top of the Bihar Vidhan Sabha in 1942 during British rule.
- Anugrah Seva Sadan, Established by Loknayak Jayaprakash Narayan, a care home for underprivileged 
- Darbhanga House, also called Nav Lakha building, was built by Maharaja Sir Kameshwar Singh of Darbhanga. This beautiful building on the banks of Ganges houses the Kali Mandir, which is a place of worship of the goddess Durga.
- Shri Krishna Memorial Hall
- Secretariat Building
- Qila House – also known as Jalan House
- Gandhi Maidan, previously known as the Patna Lawns, is a historic ground at Patna near the banks of the Ganges.
- Patna Zoo is classified as one of the 16 large zoos in the country and is also known as Sanjay Gandhi Botanical and Zoological Garden or Patna Zoo. It is situated near Bailey Road in Patna.
- Congress Maidan is a historic ground that symbolises the Indian independence movement in Bihar. It was used to hold meetings by great luminaries like Rajendra Prasad, Nehru, Anugrah Narayan Sinha, Sri Dr. Krishna Sinha, Jayaprakash Narayan and others.
- Buddha Smriti Park, located at the place where once historical Bankipore jail of British era existed. The central attraction of this park is the Stupa, 200 feet high, situated in the middle of the park.
- Moin-ul-Haq Stadium is the largest in Bihar. The stadium features a swimming pool and a cricket academy.
- Patna Golf Club – situated west of the Government House to the South Bihar Gymkhana Club. It is a 165-acre (67 ha) golf field and includes some very tough holes. This well-maintained course will prove interesting to amateur and pros alike.
- Patliputra Sports Complex – is a sports stadium in the Neighbourhood of Kankarbagh.
- Patna Indoor Stadium – also known as Rainbow Field and will be renamed after Abhinav Bindra.
Patna houses such prominent clubs as the Bankipore Club, Golf Club, New Patna Club, Lions Club, and Rotary Club. The Bankipore Club, on the banks of the river Ganges, came into existence in 1913. It is affiliated with various organizations. The dance hall of this club is said to be one of the original buildings built by the Dutch in the 17th century.
Places Near Patna
Patna was among the pioneer towns of India having horse-drawn trams as urban transport. Nowadays, public transport in Patna is provided by buses, auto 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 Junction, Rajendranagar Terminal, Gulzarbag Station, Danapur Junction and Patna Sahib Station, the oldest of the stations.
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
- 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 Bangkok, Singapore, 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
- From Delhi – 1,015 km North-East
- From Mumbai – 1,802 km North-East
- From Kolkata – 556 km North-West