Going through the history of Patna is like turning the dusty, yellow colored, fragile and valuable pages of an ancient book that bears the imprints of different kingdoms that ruled the city. A nerve center of politics, art, literature, spiritualism and other cultural activities, the city continues to bustle with action even today. Previously known as 'Pataliputra', the region served as headquarter of the grand old Magadha Empire at one point of time. Pataliputra was also home to Mauryan, Nanda, Sunga, Gupta, Pala and many other powerful dynasties. The city swells with pride about its pre-historic origins that date back to Vedic era. Several allusions of the place can be traced back to the texts of Ramayana, Mahabharata, Vedas, Puranas and including a few Jain and Buddhist texts. By the 16th century, Patna had become a major trading port under the able administration of the Mughal rulers. Towards the 17th century, the Muslim rule weakened and was unable to defend the continent from external intruders. Once the city fell into the ambitious hands of the British East Indian Company, Patna reached new heights on the commercial front. Read the write-up to know more on the glorious history of Patna.
It all began when king Ajatashatru of the Magadha Empire decided to move his capital to a convenient spot to fight one of his enemies and chose a place near the banks of the river Ganges as his capital. Since then Patna has progressed to from being the hub of Magadha Empire to the political nerve center of India. The rule of the Chandragupta Maurya, one the mightiest leaders in India, brought about growth and development in the region that reached new heights during Asoka's reign. It was under him that the place graduated from a trading hub to become a spiritual learning centre. Buddhism reached its towering pinnacle in the region and neighboring countries during this time.
Gupta & Mughal Empire
Before the Gupta established their reign in the region, the Sungas and the Kanvas ruled it. However, the previous two kingdoms did not hold historical significance and collapsed with the ascension of the Gupta Kingdom to the throne in 12th century AD. Most of the territories were lost while several other small rulers disintegrated a major chunk of its land mass. During this time, the city underwent indecisive phase and became instable with regard to its politics. Eventually, the city lost its position as a cultural head and spiritual center. The advent of the Mughal Empire in India restored back Patna to its former glory in the field of politics, business and engineering. Sher Shah Suri, who captured the city, built several forts and mosque encouraging the construction of beautiful monuments. On the commercial front, the place became a thriving hub for glass, paper and fine stone cut work. The following Mughal leaders continued to support its flourishing trade. After the decline of the powerful Mughal rule in the 17th century, the land was passed on to the Nawab's of Bengal. Under the rule of the Nawab of Bengal, the place did not see much change and continued to prosper.
With the invasion of the British, the place became the most sought after destination for the British trading communities. In 1620, the place became the hub for cotton, silk and saltpeter, a mineral that was used in making gunpowder. With the copious income benefited from the trading activities in the region, the British wanted complete monopoly over the region. The battle of Buxar in 1765 gave absolute power to the British. In 1912, Patna came to be considered as the main head of Bihar and Orissa under the Bengal Presidency. When the Bengal Presidency was divided in the year 1935, Orissa became a separate body. During the freedom struggle, the city reverberated with the sounds of Quit India Movement campaigns. After the independence, the state of Bihar underwent further changes with respect to its boundaries.