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Bihar is a place greatly associated with Indian history and mythology. Read this article to find out the most important sites to visit in Bihar.

Tourist Attractions In Bihar

With a history of human inhabitation for more than 3000 years, Bihar is home to many tourist attractions like heritage sites, monuments and shrines rather than scenic nature or hill stations. Every tourist spot in Bihar has some legend associated with it and about 6 million people visit this state every year. First recorded tourism date back to 4th century BCE, Greek geographer Megasthenes being the first tourist who visited this region during the reign of Chandragupta Maurya. The details of his visit are recorded in 'Indika'. Dionysius, son of Megasthenes, visited this region again, during the reign of Ashoka. With the establishment of two great Universities Nalanda and Vikramashila, ancient Bihar started welcoming educational tourists. Chinese Monk Hsuan-Tsang and I Ching were such educational tourists who visited Nalanda in seventh century CE as students. Bihar is home to numerous shrines which belong to almost all major religions and thus, it is a famous pilgrimage center as well. Read the following section of this article and learn more about the important places in Bihar.

Places to See in Bihar

Major Spots
Mahabodhi temple: This is the place where Siddhartha is said to become enlightened. The Bodhi tree, under which Siddhartha is said to have attained enlightenment, stands adjacent to the temple.

Rajgir: Rajgir was the first capital of Magadha Kingdom. It is an important place for Buddhists. It is believed that Buddha held the famous Atanatiya conference at the Vulture's peak hill in Rajgir. Ths place is famous for the peace pagoda, Vishwa Shanti Stupa, one of the 80 peace pagodas in the world.

Historical Spots and Museums
Kumhrar: Kumhrara contains the remains of ancient city Pataliputra. This historical site consists of archeological remains of Mauryan Period. The remains of Assembly hall of 80 pillars is exhibited there. Some historians believe that this is the place where the third Buddhist Council was held around 250 BE.

Barabar Caves: These are the oldest rock cut caves in India, dating back to Mauryan era. These caves are situated in two hills Barabar and Nagarjuni hills. Most of the caves consist of two distinct chambers carved out of granite.

Kesariya: This is the place where King Asoka built stupa, which is claimed to be the largest and tallest stupa in the world.

Patna Museum: This museum was built in 1917 during British Raj. Built in a combination of Mughal and Rajput architecture, it is locally known as Jadu Ghar. The most valuable collections in this museum include a casket excavated from Relic stupa of Vaishali, which is said to contain the ashes of Gautama Buddha and the Didarganj Yakshi discovered from the bank of Ganges. Archaeological objects, coins instruments, paintings, bronze sculptures, terra cotta paintings by Hindu and Buddhist artists, collectons related to Dr. Rajendra Prasad, first President of India etc. are other objects displayed here.

Nalanda Museum: This museum was built in 1917 and consists of the excavated antiquities from ancient Nalanda University cum Monastery and those from Rajgir. It consists of Buddhist sculptures, inscriptions, bronze sculptures, huge jars excavated from the monastery complex of Nalanda, multi spouted pot related to serpent worship etc.

Golghar: This is a granary made by the British after the famine of 1770 which killed about 10 million people. Built in stupa architecture resembling a beehive, this is a huge structure of about 29 meters height. It was the tallest structure in Patna during its construction. There as 300 steps through which you can climb up the building and enjoy the panoramic view of the Ganges. In spite of its huge storage capacity, this granary was never filled ever since it was built because, its door is constructed opening inwards and if it gets filled, then it could not be opened.

Agam Kuan: This is a well which is believed to be built by Emperor Asoka to torture people. It is also said that Asoka killed ninety-nine brothers to obtain the throne and threw them in this well. According to Jain legends, this is the well where a king called Chand threw a Jain monk named Sudarshana. It is said that he was found seated in a lotus inside the well.

Sher Shah Suri Tomb: It is another important tourist spot in Bihar, built in Indo-Afghan architecture. Sher Shah Suri defeated Humayun and ruled over India.

Rohtasgarh Fort: This fort was built by Raja Harishchandra in the name of his son Rohitashwa and was his abode. Later, this fort was captured by of Sher Shah Suri.

Valmiki National Park: This is the only Tiger reserve in Bihar. In addition to tiger, there are other wild animals like civet, dhole, leopard, sloth bear, Himalayan bear, rhinoceros, chital, barking deer, four-horned antelope, sambar, India bison etc.

Kakolat Waterfall: This Water fall has great historical and mythological importance. It is said that a Treta Yuga king was cursed to become a python and he lived here. Pandavas came here during their exile and salvaged the king.

Apart from the major tourist destination given above, Bihar is home to hundreds of shrines belonging to almost all the major religions. With immense historical and mythological importance, Bihar is a place worth visiting at least once in a lifetime.