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Patna

From Academic Kids

For other uses, see Patna (disambiguation).

Patna is the capital city of Bihar, a state located in north-eastern India. Patna is the gateway to the Buddhist and Jain pilgrim centers of Vaishali, Rajgir, Nalanda, Bodhgaya and Pawapuri, all located in the state of Bihar. Patna is a sacred city for Sikhs also, as their tenth and last "human" guru, Guru Gobind Singh, was born here.

Contents

History

Legend ascribes the origin of Patna to a mythological king, 'Putraka', who created Patna by a magic stroke for his queen 'Patali'. Buddhist and Jain traditions also mention of Patali or Pataligram. Gautam Buddha passed through this place in the last year of his life, and he had prophesized a great future for this place, but at the same time, he predicted its ruin from flood, fire and feud.

Patna has a rich and fascinating past, and in each folio of its history, it was known with a new name - as Kusumpura, Pushpapura, Pâtaliputra, and Azeemabad.

Ancient

Patna is a fertile arched stretch of land along the bank of the Ganga river, and the history and heritage of Patna go back to 2500 years. In the 5th/6th century BCE Ajatashatru, the Magadha king first built a small fort in Pataligram, on the bank of the Ganga river. From that time, the city has a continuous history, a record claimed by few cities in the world.

In its long history, Patna has seen rise and fall of several kingdoms and empires. Over a period of time, Pataligram, also called Patalipattan, became the metropolis of Pataliputra, the seat of power and nerve centre of the Maurya empire.

From Pataliputra, the famed emperor Chandragupta Maurya (a contemporary of Alexander) ruled a vast empire, stretching from the Bay of Bengal to Afghanistan.

Based on the accounts of Megasthenes, a Greek historian and ambassador to Chandragupta, the Greek historian Strabo wrote of Pataliputra:

"According to Megasthenes the mean breadth (of the Ganges) is 100 stadia, and its least depth 20 fathoms. At the meeting of this river and another is situated Palibothra, a city eighty stadia in length and fifteen in breadth. It is of the shape of a parallelogram, and is girded with a wooden wall, pierced with loopholes for the discharge of arrows. It has a ditch in front for defence and for receiving the sewage of the city. The people in whose country this city is situated is the most distinguished in all India, and is called the Prasii. The king, in addition to his family name, must adopt the surname of Palibothros, as Sandrakottos (Chandragupta), for instance, did, to whom Megasthenes was sent on an embassy." (Strab. XV. i. 35-36,--p. 702.)

Emperor Ashoka, the grandson of Chandragupta Maurya, after a series of wars and victories, felt remorse at the trail of destruction, and embraced Buddhism. Pataliputra then became the centre of Buddhist activities. Pataliputra also saw the rules of the Gupta empire and the Pala kings.

According to the 1st century Pline in his "Natural History":

"But the Prasii surpass in power and glory every other people, not only in this quarter, but one may say in all India, their capital Palibothra, a very large and wealthy city, after which some call the people itself the Palibothri,--nay even the whole tract along the Ganges. Their king has in his pay a standing army of 600,000 foot-soldiers, 30,000 cavalry, and 9,000 elephants: whence may be formed some conjecture as to the vastness of his resources." Plin. Hist. Nat. VI. 21. 8-23. 11.

Scholars: Pataliputra, the ancient name for Patna, was a great centre of learning and had produced eminent world class scholars:

Medieval

With the disintegration of the Gupta empire, and continuous invasions of the Indian subcontinent by foreign armies, like most of north India, Patna also passed through uncertain time.

Bakhtiar Khilji captured Bihar in 12th century AD. Sher Shah Suri, during the brief period of his rule, built a fort on the eastern flanks of Patna, the part of Patna, now known as “Patna City”. During 1557-1576, Akbar, the Mughal emperor, annexed Bihar and Bengal to his empire and made Bihar a part of the Mughal suba (province) of Bengal. Patna regained its importance when the Mughals commenced using it as a major center of trade in the 16th century. With the decline of Mughals, Bihar passed under the control of Nawabs of Bengal.

Modern

After the Battle of Buxar (1765), East India Company got the diwani rights (rights to administer and collect revenue, or tax administration / collection) for Bihar, Bengal and Orissa. With this expansion of the the British power in the eastern part of India, Patna passed under their control. In 1912, Bengal Presidency was partitioned, to carve out Bihar as a separate province, with Patna as the capital of Orissa Province and Bihâr. After, creation of Orissa as a separate province in 1935, Patna continued as the capital of Bihar province under the British Raj.

Under the British Raj, Patna emerged as an important and strategic centre of eastern India. During the colonial period, the city limits were stretched westwards to accommodate the administrative base, and the township of Bankipore took shape along the Bailey Raod (originally spelt as Bayley Road, after the first Lt. Governor, Charles Stuart Bayley). Credit for designing the massive and majestic buildings of colonial Patna goes to the Architect, I. F. Munnings, and by 1916-1917, most of the buildings were ready for occupation. Most of these buildings reflect either Indo-Saracenic influence (like Patna Museum and the state Assembly), or overt Renaissance influence like the Raj Bhawan and the High Court. Some buildings, like the General Post Office (GPO) and the Old Secretariat bear pseudo Renaissance influence.

After independence of India, the city boundaries of Patna continue to expand, absorbing several nearby villages and settlements. It continues to be the largest urban conglomerate of eastern India, after Calcutta. Civic amenities available in to-day's Patna fall short of requirements.

Geography & Climate

Patna is located on the south bank of the Ganges River. Patna has a very long riverline, and it is surrounded on 3 sides by rivers, viz., the Ganges, Sone, and Poonpun (also spelt as Punpun).

  • Altitude: 53 meters
  • Temperature (degrees C): Summer 43 to 21 Winter 20 to 6
  • Rainfall (average): 120 cms

Population

Patna has a rapidly growing population, and the present population is 1,470,575,545 (2001), which was 917,243,986 in (1991)

Cuisine

Patna is known for khaja, a sweet delicacy of central Bihar. Patna has several other traditional snacks and savouries:

  • Pua', prepared from a mixture of powdered rice, milk, ghee (clarified butter), sugar and honey
  • Pittha, steam cooked, mixture of powdered rice
  • Tilkuta, referred to as 'Palala' in Buddhist literature, is made of pounded 'tila' or sesame seeds (Sesamum indicum) and jaggery or sugar
  • Chiwra, beaten rice, served with a coat of creamy curd and sugar or jaggery
  • Makhana (a kind of water fruit) is prepared from lotus seeds and is taken puffed or as kheer, prepared with milk and sugar
  • Sattu, powdered baked gram, is a high energy giving food. It is taken mixed with water or with milk. Sometimes, sattu mixed with spices are used to prepare stuffed 'chapattis', locally called as 'makuni roti'.

Staple food of majority of the population is “bhat, dal, roti, tarkari and achar”, prepared basically from rice, lentils, wheat flour, vegetables, and pickle grade raw, unripe fruits. Plain boiled milk as well as curd is widely used by all section of the Patnaites. "Kichdi", the broth of rice and lentils, seasoned with spices, and served with several accompanying items like curd, chutney, pickles, papads, ghee (clarified butter) and chokha (boiled messed potatoes, seasoned with finely cut onions, green chilies) is prepared sometimes, mostly on Saturdays. A variety of non-vegetarian items are also prepared by a section of the population. Fish curries are widely used by a cross section of non-vegetarian population of all social groups. Mughal cuisine are well known and widely relished in Patna. Of late, Continental dishes are also catching up fancy.

Transportation

National Highway 31 passes through Patna and its satellite town of Danapur. A number of roads, branching away from Patna, connects the city to other parts of Bihar state. Bus services are available to all parts of the state, and to several towns and cities of Jharkahnd.

The river Ganges is navigable through out the year and there is considerable boat traffic for transporting cargo. However, with the construction of a river bridge (known as Mahatma Gandhi Setu), connecting Patna with Hajipur, the river traffic and ferry services have lost their importance.

The main line of the Eastern Railways passes through Patna. Railways links, connecting Patna-Gaya, Fatwah-Islampur, and Bakhtiarpur-Rajgir, converge at Patna Railway Juntion. The city is well connected through rail links with all the major cities of India.

Regular domestic flights, connecting Patna with Delhi, Calcutta, Mumbai, Ranchi, and few other places, are available.

Local public transport - City buses ply on few routes. Auto rickshaws and pedal rickshaws are the basic means of public transport within the city limits.

Economy

Patna has long been a major agricultural center of trade, its most active exports being grain, sugarcane, sesame, and medium-grained Patna rice. It is also an important business centre of eastern India.

The hinterland of Patna is endowed with excellent agro-climatic resources and the gains of the green revolution have enabled the older eastern part of Patna (locally called as Patna City) to develop as a leading grain market of the state of Bihar, and one of the biggest in eastern India. Patna, being the state capital, with a growing middle income group households, has also emerged as a big and rapidly expanding consumer market, both for Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG), as also for other consumer durable items. A large and growing population, and expanding boundaries of the city, is also spurring growth of service sector. The old and established educational institutions of the city have always been contributing to the national pool of excellent human resources.

Places of interest

In Patna

  • Agam Kuan, literal meaning, the unfathomable well, is a huge well, dating from the period of emperor Ashoka
  • Kumhrar (a place of Ashokan pillar)
  • The Imperial Centre, supposed to be the centre of Ashokan empire, is still to be discovered
  • Takhat Sri Harimandar Ji Patna Sahib constructed by Punjab ruler Maharaja Ranjit Singh, consecrates the birthplace of Guru Gobind Singh jee. Sri Guru Gobind Sahib Ji, the tenth Guru of the Sikhs was born here in 1660. The Harimandar Ji contains belongings of the Guru and Sikh holy texts.
  • Golghar( a beehive shaped granary)- One of the oldest buildings, constructed by Captain John Garstin during the British regime in 1786, was the Golghar, which means Spherical Building, reflecting its beehive-like shape. It was used as a granary by the English, built in reaction to a famine in 1770. One can get a complete view of Patna from atop the Gol Ghar
  • Khuda Baksh Oriental Library, was set up 1900, and is one of the major national libraries of India. It has a collection of rare Arabic and Persian manuscripts, including a tiny 25mm wide holy Qur'an, illuminated manuscripts of the Mughal period, and paintings from Rajput and Mughal schools of paintings. Several paintings of East India Company period are also available. The library also has some books rescued from the plunder of the University of Cordoba in Spain.
  • Patna Museum, formally opened in 1929, displays stone and bronze sculptures and terracotta figures produced by Hindu, Buddhist, and Jain artists as well as archaeological finds such as a huge fossilized tree.
  • Several mosques, including the ancient Begu Hajjam's mosque, built in 1489 by Bengul ruler Alauddin Hussani Shah
  • Jalan Museum is located on the eastern part of the city. The museum displays rare items, collected by Diwan Bahadur Rakha Krishna Jalan. Items on display include Tibetan manuscripts, Egyptian objects, Iranian tiles, ivory and metal artifacts, terracotta pieces, Chinese porcelain wares, Beads, old oil paintings, silverwares, fossils, and several other rare items.
  • Martyrs Memorial, located outside the State assembly, is a testimonial to the martyrs of the Quit India movement of 1942.
  • Botanical garden, named after the Indian politician Sanjay Gandhi

Around Patna

See also

Education

Most of the government-run schools in Patna are affiliated to Bihar School Examination Board, whereas most of the private schools are affiliated to ICSE and CBSE boards. A number of schools are run by convents or by the Jesuits.

The state capital is served by two universities, Patna University, Patna, which was established in 1917, and Magadh university, with headquarters in Bodh Gaya.

Patna University has some of the best institutions in the country like Patna College, Science College and Patna Women's College. Patna Women's College is the major education institute for ladies and is ranked with the best in the nation. Patna Women's College was established in 1939 by the sisters of Apostolic Carmel of Mangalore, India.

The educational infrastructure of the city falls short of a growing population. As such, a number of students, after completing schooling, move away to New Delhi, Karnataka, and several other parts of India, to pursue higher education.

Media & entertainment

References

  • "Patna," Microsoft® Encarta® Encyclopedia 2001

External links


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