Patna

Patna, situated on the bank of the Ganges, is the capital of Bihar. There is little to do in this town. Travelers might come here on their way to and from Nepal, or to visit some of the Buddhist sites in the area.

History
Emperor Ajatasatru moved the capital of the Magadha Empire from Rajgir to Patna in the 5th century BC, at which time the city was called Pataliputra. Some of the remains of this city can be seen at Kumrahar. Under Emperors xe “Chandragupta” Chandragupta and xe “Ashoka” Ashoka (274–237 BC), Pataliputra was the capital of an empire that ruled a major portion of India and was the largest city in the world. The Mauryas built a road that went from Taxila in Pakistan to the Bay of Bengal. After the Maurya Empire fell, Pataliputra lost its importance, but in the 16th century after Sher Shah defeated Humayun, Patna again became the capital of Northern India.

The British took control of the city after the Battle of Buxar in 1764.

Orientation
Patna extends along the southern bank of the Ganges for about 14km. The old city is in the east section of the city. The main railway and bus stations, along with most of the hotels are in the western part of the city. Fraser Rd (renamed Muzharul Haque Raj Path), near the railway station, is where the state tourist office and many of the hotels and restaurants are located.

Patna Museum
The Patna Museum is an interesting place with an excellent collection of ancient stone and metal sculptures. The Mauryan yakshi female (3rd century BC) in the middle of the first floor hall is considered an important sculpture. There is a good collection of Tibetan artifacts and thangkas. This museum is worth seeing. Open daily except Monday 10.30 am to 4.30 pm.

Located on Old Bypass Road between Patna Junction station and Patna Sahib station. Open daily 9 am to 5 pm.

Other Places
The Ganges, when it reaches Patna, is extremely wide. The Mahatma Gandhi Bridge, built in 1983, is 7km long and is one of the longest bridges in the world.

The Golghar is an egg-shaped grain storage bin built in 1786 by the British as a reserve in case of famine. It was never used. You can climb to the top of it (29m) and get a view of the city and the Ganges. It is near Gandhi Maiden.

To and From Nepal
The border crossing near Patna is a 5 to 6 hour drive north at Raxaul/Birganj. It is better to take a bus to the border than a train, as there are no direct trains. There are some direct buses to Raxaul from the main bus stand, and others depart from the government bus stand. You can also catch a bus to Muzaffarpur and from there catch another bus to Raxaul. If you are coming from Delhi or Varanasi, it is better to cross the border at Gorakhpur/Sunauli.

You can buy a through ticket to Kathmandu from a travel agent in Patna that includes a bus to the border, a rickshaw for the border crossing, basic accommodation in Raxaul, and a bus from the Nepal border to Kathmandu. It is just as easy, much cheaper, and much more reliable, to do it yourself. When you come out of the train station, if you ask a rickshaw driver to take you to the bus to xe “Nepal:Travel to” Nepal, there is a good chance you will be taken to one of these private operators, since the rickshaw drivers receive a commission on your ticket. There is really no reason to deal with these characters. More than likely they will charge you two to three times the price of what you could have arranged yourself.

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