Bihar is one of the oldest inhabited places in the world, with a history spanning 3,000 years. The rich culture and heritage of Bihar is evident from the innumerable ancient monuments spread throughout the state. Bihar is visited by scores of tourists from all over the world, with around 6,000,000 (6 million) tourists visiting Bihar every year. In earlier days, tourism in the region was purely based educational tourism, as Bihar was home of some prominent ancient universities like Nalanda University & Vikramasila University.
Prime Tourist Destinations in Bihar Bodhgaya: The place of the Buddha’s Enlightenment. Bodhgaya is the spiritual home of Buhddhists. It attracts tens of thousands of believers from all over the world. Bodhgaya situated near the river Niranjana, is one of the holiest Buddhist pilgrimage centres since it was here that Buddha attained enlightenment under the Bodhi tree.
Gaya: The place is of utmost religious importance for Buddhists as well as Hindus and one of the oldest districts of the state. It was at a distance of 14 km from the district HQ that about 2500 years back, Siddhartha Gautama, a wandering prince from the neighbouring Himalayan kingdom, attained enlightenment to become Lord Buddha.
Nalanda: The ancient town in Bihar was once home to the world’s first university for higher learning. Nalanda is about 90 km southeast of Patna. Nalanda means “giver of knowledge”.
Pawapuri: Pawapuri, which is also known as Apapapuri, the sinless town, is a very sacred Jain pilgrimage. According to belief, it was here that Lord Mahavir, the greatest propounder of Jainism, attained Nirvana.
Rajgir: Rajagriha was the favourite place of Lord Buddha, and became an important centre of Buddhism during the reign of King Bimbisara(543-491 BC) and Ajatashatru(491-459 AD).Lord Buddha delivered many important sermons here. His favourite places in Rajagrihawere Griddhakuta Hill and VenuVana. These two sites are mandatory on the itinerary of the Baudh tourist pilgrims from abroad.
Vaishali: This district has derived its name after Vaishali or modern Basarh, a village in the northwest corner of the district, situated 32-kms northwest of Hajipur and 54 kms from Patna. Vaishali was a center of religious renaissance in ancient times. Puranas as well as the Ramayana, both of these refer to Vaishali as a separate kingdom. Raja Vishal – son of King Ikshvaku is considered to be the founder of the Vaishali kingdom.
Vikramshila: Vikramsila is a town situated in the state of Bihar, India. It lies at a distance of approximately 40 km from the city of Bhagalpur. One of the popular Buddhist destinations in India, Vikramshila cannot boast of a direct relation with Lord Buddha. It is mainly renowned for being one of the most significant centers of Tantric Buddhism, in the 8th century AD. It also houses the famous Vikramasila University, the main intellectual as well as learning center of Tantric Buddhism.
Kesaria: Kesaria Buddhist Stupa BiharKesaria Stupa is situated in the Champaran (east) district of Bihar. It lies at a distance of approximately 110 km from the capital city of Patna. The Kesaria Stupa holds the distinction of being the largest in the world, standing at a height of 104 ft. The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) excavated the stupa in the year 1998. It is believed to date back to somewhere around 200 AD and 750 AD has a circumference of almost 1400 ft. The amazing stupa serves as a splendid example of Buddhist architecture and archaeological preservation.