Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Patna is the capital city of Bihar, a state located in eastern India. Patna is the gateway to the Buddhist and Jain pilgrim centers of Vaishali, Rajgir, Nalanda, Bodhgaya and Pawapuri, all located in the state of Bihar. Patna is a sacred city for Sikhs also, as their tenth and last "human" guru, Guru Gobind Singh, was born here.
Legend ascribes the origin of Patna to a mythological king, Putraka, who created Patna by a magic stroke for his queen Patali. Buddhist and Jain traditions mention Patali or Pataligram. Gautam Buddha passed through this place in the last year of his life, and he had prophesized a great future for this place, but at the same time, he predicted its ruin from flood, fire and feud.
Patna has a rich and fascinating past, and in each folio of its history, it was known with a new name - as Kusumpura, Pushpapura, Pâtaliputra, and Azeemabad.
Patna is a fertile arched stretch of land along the bank of the Ganga river, and the history and heritage of Patna go back to two thousand five hundred years. In the 5th / 6th Century BC Ajatashatru, the Magadha king first built a small fort in Pataligram, on the bank of the Ganga river. From that time, the city has a continuous history, a record claimed by few cities in the world.
In its long history, Patna has seen rise and fall of several kingdoms and empires. Over a period of time, Pataligram, also called Patalipattan, became the metropolis of Pataliputra, the seat of power and nerve centre of the Maurya empire. From Pataliputra, the famed emperor Chandragupta Maurya (a contemporary of Alexander) ruled a vast empire, stretching from the Bay of Bengal to Afganistan. Emperor Ashoka, the grandson of Chandragupta Maurya, after a series of wars and victories, felt remorse at the trail of destruction, and embraced Buddhism. Pataliputra then became the centre of Buddhist activities. Patalipura also saw the rules of the Gupta empire and the Pala kings.
Scholars: Pataliputra, the ancient name for Patna, was a great centre of learning and had produced eminent world class scholars:
With the disintegration of the Gupta empire, and continuous invasions of the Indian subcontinent by foreign armies, like most of north India, Patna also passed through uncertain time.
Bakhtiar Khilji captured Bihar in 12th century AD. Sher Shah Suri, during the brief period of his rule, built a fort on the eastern flanks of Patna, the part of Patna, now known as “Patna City”. During 1557-1576, Akbar, the Mughal emperor, annexed Bihar and Bengal to his empire and made Bihar a part of the Mughal suba (province) of Bengal. Patna regained its importance when the Mughals commenced using it as a major center of trade in the 16th century. With the decline of Mughals, Bihar passed under the control of Nawabs of Bengal.
After the Battle of Buxar (1765), East India Company got the diwani rights (rights to administer and collect revenue, or tax administration / collection) for Bihar, Bengal and Orissa. With this expansion of the the British power in the eastern part of India, Patna passed under their control. In 1912, Bengal Presidency was partitioned, to carve out Bihar as a separate province, with Patna as the capital of Orissa Province and Bihâr. After, creation of Orissa as a separate province in 1935, Patna continued as the capital of Bihar province under the British Raj.
Under the British Raj, Patna emerged as an important and strategic centre of eastern India. During the colonial period, the city limits were stretched westwards to accommodate the administrative base, and the township of Bankipore took shape along the Bailey Raod (originally spelt as Bayley Road, after the first Lt. Governor, Charles Stuart Bayley ). Credit for designing the massive and majestic buildings of colonial Patna goes to the Architect, I. F. Munnings , and by 1916-1917, most of the buildings were ready for occupation. Most of these buildings reflect either Indo-Saracenic influence (like Patna Museum and the state Assembly), or overt Renaissance influence like the Raj Bhawan and the High Court. Some buildings, like the General Post Office (GPO) and the Old Secretariat bear pseudo Renaissance influence.
After independence of India, the city boundaries of Patna continue to expand, absorbing several nearby villages and settlements. It continues to be the largest urban conglomerate of eastern India, after Calcutta.
Geography & climate
Patna is located on the south bank of the Ganges River. Patna has a very long riverline, and it is surrounded on 3 sides by rivers, viz., the Ganges, Sone, and Poonpun (also spelt as Punpun).
- Altitude: 53 meters
- Temperature (degrees C): Summer 43 to 21 Winter 20 to 6
- Rainfall (average): 120 cms
- Pua, prepared from a mixture of powdered rice, milk, ghee (clarified butter), sugar and honey
- Pittha, steam cooked, mixture of powdered rice
- Tilkuta, referred to as 'Palala' in Buddhist literature, is made of pounded 'tila' or sesame seeds (Sesamum indicum) and jaggery or sugar
- Chiwra, beaten rice, served with a coat of creamy curd and sugar or jaggery
- Makhana (a kind of water fruit) is prepared from lotus seeds and is taken puffed or as kheer, prepared with milk and sugar
- Sattu, powdered baked gram, is a high energy giving food. It is taken mixed with water or with milk. Sometimes, sattu mixed with spices are used to prepare stuffed 'chapattis', locally called as 'makuni roti'.
Staple food of majority of the population is “bhat, dal, roti, tarkari and achar”, prepared basically from rice, lentils, wheat flour, vegetables, and pickle grade raw, unripe fruits. Plain boiled milk as well as curd is widely used by all section of the Patnaites. "Kichdi", the broth of rice and lentils, seasoned with spices, and served with several accompanying items like curd, chutney, pickles, papads, ghee (clarified butter) and chokha (boiled messed potatoes, seasoned with finely cut onions, green chilies) is prepared sometimes, mostly on Saturdays. A variety of non-vegetarian items are also prepared by a section of the population. Fish curries are widely used by a cross section of non-vegetarian population of all social groups. Mughal cuisine are well known and widely relished in Patna. Of late, Continental dishes are also catching up fancy.
National Highway 31 passes through Patna and its satellite town of Danapur . A number of roads, branching away from Patna, connects the city to other parts of Bihar state. Bus services are available to all parts of the state, and to several towns and cities of Jharkahnd.
The river Ganges is navigable through out the year and there is considerable boat traffic for transporting cargo. However, with the construction of a river bridge (known as Mahatma Gandhi Setu), connecting Patna with Hajipur, the river traffic and ferry services have lost their importance.
The main line of the Eastern Railways passes through Patna. Railways links, connecting Patna-Gaya, Fatwah-Islampur , and Bakhtiarpur -Rajgir, converge at Patna Railway Juntion. The city is well connected through rail links with all the major cities of India.
Regular domestic flights, connecting Patna with Delhi, Calcutta, Mumbai, Ranchi, and few other places, are available.
Local public transport - City buses ply on few routes. Auto rickshaws and pedal rickshaws are the basic means of public transport within the city limits.
Patna has long been a major agricultural center of trade, its most active exports being grain, sugarcane, sesame, and medium-grained Patna rice. It is also an important business centre of eastern India.
Places of interest
- Agam Kuan
- Kumhrar (a place of Ashokan pillar)
- The Imperial Centre, supposed to be the centre of Ashokan empire, is still to be discovered
- Harmandirji, constructed by Punjab ruler Maharaja Ranjit Singh, consecrates the birthplace of Guru Gobind Singh jee.
- Golghar ( a beehive shaped granary)- One of the oldest buildings, constructed by Captain John Garstin during the British regime in 1786, was the Golghar, which means Spherical Building, reflecting its beehive-like shape. It was used as a granary by the English, built in reaction to a famine in 1770. One can get a complete view of Patna from atop the Gol Ghar
- The city has a well-known museum displaying stone and bronze sculptures and terracotta figures produced by Hindu and Buddhist artists as well as archaeological finds such as a huge fossilized tree
- Khuda Baksh Oriental Library, which has a collection of rare ancient works
- Several mosques, including the ancient Begu Hajjam's mosque, built in 1489 by Bengul ruler Alauddin Hussani Shah
- Jalan Museum
- Martyrs Memorial
- Botanical garden named after the Indian politician Sanjay Gandhi
Most of the government-run schools in Patna are affiliated to Bihar School Examination Board, whereas most of the private schools are affiliated to ICSE and CBSE boards. A number of schools are run by convents or by the Jesuits.
The educational infrastructure of the city falls short of a growing population. As such, a number of students, after completing schooling, move away to New Delhi, Karnataka, and several other parts of India, for perusing higher studies.
Media & entertainment
- "Patna," Microsoft® Encarta® Encyclopedia 2001.
- Bihar Government Tourism Department
- A Brief History of Patna
- Astra Infotech: Bihar tourism
- Mysterindia.com: India places: Patna
- PatnaDaily.com Patna_Photo Gallery
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