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State of India - Bihar
QUICK FACTS Climate (Degree C.): Summer - Max: 35, Min: 22. Winter - Max: 26, Min: 10 | Best Season: October - March | Languages Spoken: Hindi, Angika, Bhojpuri, Magahi, Maithili, Chhattisgarh |Capital: Patna

Bihar is like a book, an ancient page that has been left open over the centuries. Everyone knows about it, but still tourists flock this place to explore more. The state is home to the world's ancient university at Nalanda, benevolent shrines that grant eternal salvation at Gaya, verdant virgin forests of Chotanagpur plateau, intricate craftsmanship of the Madhubani painting. Your tour to Bihar is sure to enchant and thrill with the diversity of its land, flora, people, festivals and exquisite crafts.

Geography of Bihar:
Landlocked by Uttar Pradesh in the west, Nepal in north, West Bengal in the east and Jharkhand in south, Bihar is a jewel adorning the eastern side of India. Bihar is mainly a vast stretch of very fertile flat land. It has several major rivers: Ganga, Son, Bagmati, Kosi, Budhi Gandak, Chandan, Orhani and Falgu. Central parts of Bihar have some small hills, for example the Rajgir hills. The Himalayan Mountains are to the north, in Nepal.

History of Bihar:
The history of Bihar dates back to the very dawn of human civilization. It has played a major role in all four religions i.e. Hinduism, Sikhism, Buddhism and Jainism. The author of the grand epic Ramayana, Maharishi Valmiki lived in Ancient Bihar. It was here that Prince Gautama attained enlightenment, became the Buddha and the great religion of Buddhism was born. The founder of Jainism, Lord Mahavira was born and attained nirvana (death) in Bihar. Also the tenth and last Guru of the Sikhs, Guru Gobind Singh was born and attained the sainthood of Sikhism in Bihar. Earlier known as Magadha, the state was ruled by Magadh and licchavis rulers around 7- 8th Century B.C. One of the greatest Emperors of all times, King Ashoka ruled the state around 270 B.C and later opted for Buddhism. During the Mughal Period Bihar lost its fame as the central power and was under the control of the Nawabs of Bengal. The Ashok Chakra on the Indian National flag and the lion head that serves as India's National Emblem can be truly owed to this land.

Tourist Places of Bihar:
Bihar is a predominantly religious state of India, with evident influence of Buddhism and Jainism in most of its cities and towns. Tourists from all the over world come to Bihar to visit Nalanda, Rajgir, Vaishali, Bodhgaya, the Buddhist sites of Bihar. There are also some Hindu religious places like the Lakshmi Narayan Mandir and its hot spring which are frequented by the pilgrims. Apart from a pilgrimage destination, Bihar also offers some of the best Museums which are excellent repertoires of rare and exquisite art and artifacts. Patna the state capital is also a historical place and with a number of tourist attractions.

Fairs & Festivals of Bihar:
Bihar has a long list of festivals which are celebrated with gaiety and tolerance. The most famous festival of Bihar is Chatth Puja which is celebrated twice in a year, once in March and the other in November. It is an expression of thanks giving and seeking the blessings from the forces of nature, prominent among them being the Sun and river. Sama-Chakeva is another festival celebrated in Bihar especially in Mithila. Ramnavami, Makar Sankranti, Nagpanchami, Bihula, Budh Purnima and Mahavir Jyanti are some of the other festivals celebrated in Bihar. The Sonepur Cattle Fair, believed to be the largest in the world, recreates the mythical encounter between the honest gaja (elephant) and the shrewd graha (crocodile). The fair is a massive trading center of animals. Another unique fair, Saurath Sabha in Mithila, is a massive marriage market, amidst mango groves where possibilities are explored, negotiations held and marriages solemnized.

Cuisine in Bihar:
Most of the people in Bihar follow a vegetarian diet. The cuisine of Bihar is predominated by wheat and rice. A general Bihari meal consists of dal, bhat (rice), phulka (roti), tarkari (vegetables) and achar (pickles). Special Bihari food is namely, Dalpuri, Little Chokha and Baingan ka Bharta. For the Sweet tooth, there are a number of choices liked, Laddoo of Maner, the Khaja of Silao Village, Belgrami from Udwant Nagar, Tilkut and Anarsa from Gaya, the famous Malpua, Laai made at Barh, Perukia from Chhapra, Balushahi of Runi Saidpur, Kheer Makhana of Darbhanga, Shakarpara and Thekua. This list is simply endless! In the Chotanagpur belt of Bihar, the daily diet of the tribes is quite different. It generally includes boiled cereals, millet and a curry of boiled vegetables or meat, or edible roots and tubers seasoned with salt and chilies. Few of the famous tribal specialties are Asur Pittha (cake), Asur Khichdi, Sauria Ghata, Korwa Lata, and Korwa jatangi. The Handia is a tribal beverage that still sells on the roadsides of Chotanagpur. Most of the tribes cannot think of any occasion or function without a fairly good stock of Handia.

Shopping in Bihar:
The craftsmen of Bihar specialized over ages in creative activities like pottery, wooden articles, metal wares, stone wares, jewelry, lacquer works, kashida, sikki and moonj wares, wooden and clay toys, zari, artistic textile fabrics and printing on cloth. Each craft is unique and unmatched in its own way. Not only are these items popular locally, but also in great demand overseas. They are available as reasonable prices at the Government Emporiums and the privately owned local shops.