Patna Things To See And Do

Gateway to many world renowned destinations of Bihar, it is time travellers discovered the many attractions of Patna
Patna Sahib    Photo Arnav Pratap Singh /
Patna Sahib Photo Arnav Pratap Singh /

Are you surprised that Bihar, and its capital, Patna is at the centre of modern Indian politics But that is something which naturally comes to it. After all Patna began its journey as Pataliputra, the capital of ancient Magadha. Located on the south bank of the Ganga, Patna is said to be one of the continuously inhabited cities in the world. The state and its modern capital also played a key role during the struggle for Indian independence.

Although oft mentioned in the political circles, and gateway to some of the world renowned Hindu, Buddhist, Jain and Sikh pilgrimage centres, Patna is yet to become a popular tourist attraction. There is plenty to see here - remains of the ancient civilisation preserved in museum, libraries, places of worship belonging to various religions, parks and memorials, zoo and entertainment parks, etc.

We bring you a handy guide to explore this ancient city in mellow winter.

Bihar Museum
Start your Patna tour with a visit to the museum to catch up on the glorious past. From prehistory to proto history, the rise of Magadha and successive dynasties, from the Mauryan Empire to Mughal rule, the museum explains it all through thematic displays. One of the popular attractions of the museum is the Didarganj Yakshi dating back to the Mauryan period. Located on Nehru Path, the museum is open between 10.30am to 5pm on all days except Mondays.

This landmark was originally a granary built around 1786 to stock provisions for the army following the food shortage experienced in the famine of 1770. The pillar less structure has a spiral staircase which was built to facilitate the workers bringing in the grains. Today, it serves as a platform to observe the surroundings.

Badi Patan Devi
A popular pilgrim centre, it is associated with goddess Sati (an incarnation of Parvati). This is one of the biggest temples here. There are also other temples dedicated to her here.

Adi Chitragupta Temple
Located near Patna&rsquos Naujar Ghat, this temple is said to enshrine a 16th century idol of Chitragupta, revered by the Kayastha community.

Takhat Sri Harimandir Ji Patna Sahib
Patna is a much revered city for the Sikh community. Tenth Sikh Guru, Guru Govind Singh, was born here. The city has also been visited by Gur Nanak and Guru Tegh Bahadur. This architecturally rich gurudwara is a must see.
About three km away from here is Guru Ki Bagh, another picturesquely located gurudwara associated with the memory of Gur Tegh Bahadur.

Mahavir Temple
Dedicated to Sankatmochan Hanuman, this grand temple is a popular pilgrim attraction. You will also find other gods and goddesses here.

Kumhrar Park
Located in the centre of the city, it is a throwback to the time when Patna was known as Pataliputra and the capital of Magadha. Archaeologists have found old structures (such as an assembly hall) and potsherds here.

Buddha Jayanti Park
Located on Frazer Road, the park is marked by the 200 feet high Karuna Stupa built to mark the 2554th birth anniversary of Lord Buddha. It is surrounded by a landscaped garden. The complex also includes a meditation centre built in the style of Nalanda Mahavihara, a library and a musuem.

Khuda Baksh Oriental Library
What started as a private collection inherited by a government official, Khuda Baksh, has gradually developed into a grand library with nearly 250,000 printed books in Persian, Arabic, Urdu, Hindi, English, Turkish and other languages. It also has a large collection of old manuscripts. Besides, it also houses some rare artefacts, such as a sword of Nadir Shah.

Gandhi Sangrahalaya
The museum largely deals with Mahatma Gandhi&rsquos visits to Bihar and his relationship with the state.

Martyrs&rsquo Memorial
Located opposite the Old Secretariat building, this memorial was built in honour of seven youth who dared to raise the Indian Tricolour and was shot down by the British police during the Quit India Movement of 1942.

St Mary&rsquos Church
Although the old 18th century church built in Gothic style has undergone a few changes, it is said to be Patna&rsquos oldest church. The local people refer to it as the &lsquoPadri ki Haveli&rsquo.

Pathar ki Masjid
This 17th century stone mosque is said to have been built by one of Emperor Jahangir&rsquos son, Pervez Shah, when he was the governor of Bihar. It is located on the bank of the Ganga River.

Sanjay Gandhi Jaivik Udyan
Popularly known as Patna Zoo, it is a popular attraction. It began as a botanical park and was later converted to a biological park with the addition of animal enclosures, including a snake house and an aquarium.

Besides, there are many other attractions, including parks and amusement arenas in and around the city. Best time to visit Patna is between November and February. If you are fond of shopping, you may look around for the state&rsquos many handicrafts, such as Madhubani painting, Manjusha painting, terracotta and metal artefacts, etc.

Outlook Traveller