Bihar certainly bears the heavy weight of history, but bears it with much sensitivity and awareness. For both Buddhists and Jains, the landscape is dotted with monuments and sacred pilgrimage centres, while the Hindus have no less a number. And yet, it has not shied away from embracing the modern. The old learning centres continue in the form of newer centres of excellence, the olden day trade centers have paved way for new economy and even newer technologies. So much so that the per capita income in Patna, the capital, is higher that that of the National average.
The greatest Indian empire, the Mauryan empire, originated from Magadha in 325 BC, it was started by Chandragupta Maurya who was born in Magadha, and had its capital at Patliputra (Patna). The Mauryan Emperor, Ashoka, who was born in Patliputra is believed to be one of the greatest rulers in the history of India and the world. According to indologist A.L. Basham, the author of the book The Wonder that was India,
Bihar made an immense contribution to the Freedom Struggle, with outstanding leaders like Swami Sahajanand Saraswati, Dr. Rajendra Prasad, Sri Krishna Sinha, Dr.Anugrah Narayan Sinha, Sri. Krishna Ballabh Sahay, Brajkishore Prasad, Mulana Mazharul Haque, Jayaprakash Narayan Satyendra Narayan Sinha, Basawon Singh, Rameshwar Prasad Sinha, Yogendra Shukla, Baikuntha Shukla, Sheel Bhadra Yajee, Pandit Yamuna Karjee and many others who worked for India’s freedom relentlessly and helped in the upliftment of the underprivileged masses. Khudiram Bose, Upendra Narayan Jha “Azad”, Prafulla Chaki and Baikuntha Shukla were active in revolutionary movement in Bihar.
Bihar is drained by the Ganges River, including its northern tributaries Gandak and Koshi, originating in the Nepal Himalayas and the Bagmati originating in the Kathmandu Valley that regularly flood parts of the Bihar plains. Its average elevation above sea level is 173 feet (53 m).The Ganges divides Bihar into two unequal halves and flows through the middle from west to east. Other Ganges tributaries are the Son, Budhi Gandak, Chandan, Orhani and Falgu. Though the Himalayas begin at the foothills, a short distance inside Nepal and to the north of Bihar, the mountains influence Bihar’s landforms, climate, hydrology and culture. Central parts of Bihar have some small hills, for example the Rajgir hills. To the south is the Chota Nagpur plateau, which was part of Bihar until 2000 but now is part of a separate state called Jharkhand.
The economy of Bihar is largely service oriented, but it also has a significant agricultural base. The state also has a small industrial sector. As of 2008, agriculture accounted for 35%, industry 9% and service 55% of the economy of the state. Due to the efforts made by Chief Minister Mr.Nitish Kumar, Bihar has become the second best manufacturing state in India
Bihar is mildly cold in the winter (the lowest temperatures being in the range from 4 to 10 degrees Celsius; 40 to 50 degrees Fahrenheit). Winter months are December and January. It is hot in the summer (with average highs around 35-40 Celsius; 95-105 Fahrenheit). April to mid June are the hottest months. The monsoon months of June, July, August, and September see good rainfall. October, November and February, March have a pleasant climate.