Welcome To Bihar

The Word "Bihar" has been coined from "Vihara" meaning Buddhist Monasteries. At one time in the epoch of history these "viharas" were all strewn over the landscape of Bihar, around villages and cities alike. Patna its capital city today, Patliputra in those times was home to one of the greatest monarchs in the history of the world who ruled over much of the Indian - Subcontinent and extended as far as Iran and Afghanistan to the West.

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About Bihar

Demographics

Festival

History

About Bihar

The Word "Bihar" has been coined from "Vihara" meaning Buddhist Monasteries. At one time in the epoch of history these "viharas" were all strewn over the landscape of Bihar, around villages and cities alike. Patna its capital city today, Patliputra in those times was home to one of the greatest monarchs in the history of the world who ruled over much of the Indian - Subcontinent and extended as far as Iran and Afghanistan to the West.Bihar is the fascinating land of great religious leaders like Gautama Buddha, Lord Mahavir and Guru Gobind Singh. Bihar is the home of Emperor Ashoka who preached "ahimsa" or non-violence and spread the message of Buddhism throughout the world. The tradition of "ahimsa" has been carried into the modern times and the land was witness to the "Satyagraha (or non-violence) Movement" of the Father of the Nation, Mahatama Gandhi.

Bihar is situated in the eastern part of India with the Himalayan Kingdom of Nepal to its north and the bihar patna states of Orissa, West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh flanking its sides. It is today home of more than 90 million Indians. The state is endowed with an enviable mineral resources base, has some of the finest industries, is country's one of the largest producers of fruit and the second largest producer of vegetables. However, this rich state in terms of natural and human resources and the second most populous in the country has been slow to harness its natural and human resources for the development of the state and its people. This state which gave the nation the first President of the Indian Republic, Dr Rajendra Prasad is taking slow but confident steps to join the mainstream of economic growth and occupy its rightful place in the country's economy in the next millenium.

Demographics

After the 2001 Census, Bihar was the third most populated state of India with total population of 82,998,509 (43,243,795 male and 39,754,714 female).[1][48] Nearly 85% of Bihar's population lived in rural areas. Almost 58% of Biharis were below 25 years age, which is the highest in India. The density was 881. The sex ratio was 919 females per 1000 males. Mostly, Biharis belong to Indo-Aryan-speaking ethnic groups along with few Dravidian-speaking and Austroasiatic-speaking people mostly in Chhotanagpur Plateau (now part of Jharkhand). It also attracted Punjabi Hindu refugees during the Partition of British India in 1947.[49] Bihar has a total literacy rate of 63.82% (75.7% for males and 55.1% for females), recording a growth of 20% in female literacy over the period of a decade.[50][51]

At the 2011 census, the density has surpassed 1,000 per square kilometre, making Bihar India's densest-populated state, but is still lower than West Java or Banten of Indonesia.

Festival

Chhath, also called Dala Chhath, is an ancient and major festival in Bihar. It is celebrated twice a year: once in the summer, called the Chaiti Chhath, and once about a week after Deepawali, called the Kartik Chhath. The latter is more popular because winters are the usual festive season in North India, and Chhath, being an arduous observance requiring the worshippers to fast without water for more than 24 hours, is easier to do in the Indian winters. Chhath is the worship of the Sun God. Wherever people from Bihar have migrated, they have taken with them the tradition of Chhath. This is a ritual bathing festival that follows a period of abstinence and ritual segregation of the worshiper from the main household for two days. On the eve of Chhath, houses are scrupulously cleaned and so are the surroundings. The ritual bathing and worship of the Sun God takes place, performed twice: once in the evening and once at the crack of dawn, usually on the banks of a flowing river, or a common large body of water. The occasion is almost a carnival, and besides every worshipper, usually women, who are mostly the senior ladies of the household, there are numerous participants and onlookers, all willing to help and receive the blessings of the worshiper. Ritual rendition of regional folk songs, carried on through oral transmission from mothers and mothers-in-law to daughters and daughters-in-law, are sung on this occasion for several days running. These songs are a great mirror of the culture, social structure, mythology and history of Bihar and eastern Uttar Pradesh. Chhath being celebrated at the crack of dawn is a beautiful, elating spiritual experience connecting the modern Indian to his ancient cultural roots. Chhath is believed to have been initiated by Karna, the king of Anga Desh (modern Bhagalpur region of Bihar).

 

Among ritual observances, the month-long Shravani Mela, held along a 108-kilometre route linking the towns of Sultanganj and Deoghar (now in Jharkhand state), is of great significance. Shravani Mela is organised every year in the Hindu month of Shravan, that is the lunar month of July–August. Pilgrims, known as Kanwarias, wear saffron coloured clothes and collect water from a sacred Ghat (river bank) at Sultanganj, then walk barefooted 108 km (67 mi) to the town of Deoghar, there to bathe a sacred Shiva–Lingam. The observance draws thousands of people to Deoghar from all over India.

 

Teej and Chitragupta Puja are other local festivals celebrated with fervor in Bihar. Bihula-Bishari Puja is celebrated in the Anga region of Bihar. The Sonepur cattle fair is a month-long event starting approximately half a month after Deepawali and is considered the largest cattle fair in Asia. It is held on the banks of the Gandak River in the town of Sonepur. The constraints of the changing times, and new laws governing the sale of animals and prohibiting the trafficking in exotic birds and beasts, have eroded the once-upon-a-time magic of the fair.

 

Besides Chhath (mostly celebrated in Bihar), all major festivals of India are celebrated in Bihar, such as Makar Sankranti, Saraswati Puja, Holi, Eid-ul-Fitr, Eid-ul-Adha (often called Eid-ul-Zuha in the Indian Subcontinent), Muharram, Ram Navami, Rath yatra, Rakshabandhan, Maha Shivaratri, Durga Puja (celebrated with a grandeur akin to the neighbouring state of Bengal), Diwali, Kali Puja/Shyama Puja/Nisha Puja (celebrated in the Mithilanchal region of the north), Kojagra (also celebrated in the Mithilanchal region), Laxmi Puja, Christmas, Mahavir Jayanti, Buddha Purnima, Jivitputrika, Chitragupta Puja, Gurpurab, Bhai Dooj, and several other local festivals, as well.

History

The History of Bihar as a region is very rich and eventful. This is due to the fact that Bihar was a center of power, learning and culture. It has been a cradle of Indian civilization and the birth place of two of the major religions that have emanated from India: Buddhism and Jainism. Much of the ancient Indian text written outside of the religious epics have been written in this ancient land: Arthashashtra and Kamasutra being the most prominent. The first known republic, a state without a sovereign king, existed in this region more than two thousand years back. The central region of what is now known as Bihar was called Magadha in ancient days. Its capital Patna, then called Pataliputra, was the capital of the Mauryan empire which ruled over much of the Indian - Subcontinent and extended as far as Iran and Afghanistan to the West. Emperor Ashoka, one of the greatest monarchs in the history of the world, who ruled between 273 BC and 232 BC was the most famous ruler of the Mauryan dynasty. Just north of Magadha across the river Ganges is the Vaishali region. It is here that the first republic of the lichchvis was established even before the Magadha empire reached its peak of glory. To the north east of Vaishali is Mithila, the kingdom of the legendary king Janak. Sitamarhi in Mithila is said to be the birth place of King Ram's queen Sita. Bihar remained an important place of power for about a thousand years. Its importance as the centre of Indian culture and education outlived its importance as the center of Power by another five hundred years or so. Out of the three ancient universities of India, two Nalanda and Vikramshila Universities were located in Bihar, with third being Taxila in present day Pakistan. These ancient centres of learning were destroyed by the maruading early Islamic raiders around 1200 AD.

 

Bihar is also the birthplace of many religions, including Buddhism and Jainism. The word "Bihar" has its origin in the Sanskrit word "Vihara", meaning Buddhist Monasteries. Buddha attained Enlightenment at Bodh Gaya, a town located in the modern day district of Gaya. Buddha started spreading his teaching after attaining the Enlightenment at Bodh Gaya. Mahavira, the the 24th Tirthankara of Jainism, was born in Vaishali, When we speak of Bihar we are remembered of ancient India when Buddhism was evolving into what now is an universal religion. The Word "Bihar" has been coined from "Vihara" meaning Buddhist monasteries. At one time in the epoch of history these "viharas" were strewn all over the landscape of Bihar, around villages and cities alike.