(Last Updated on : 04/03/2013)
Bihar, the 3rd state in India according to Population, situated in northeastern India, is bordered by Nepal, its capital being Patna
. The name `Bihar` is derived from `Vihara`, meaning monastery. Bihar has been a great religious center for Hindus, Jains and most importantly, the Buddhists. It was at Bodhgaya
in Bihar, that Lord Buddha
sat under the Bodhi tree
, and attained enlightenment. A descendant of the same tree still flourishes in Bodhgaya today. Nalanda
University, which was a world-renowned Buddhist University in the 5th century AD, is also located in Bihar. Rajgir
, a pilgrimage place for Buddhists and Pawapuri
, where Lord Mahavira
breathed his last, are near Nalanda. Bihar is one of India least urbanized states.
History of Bihar
Bihar was called Magadha
in ancient times. Its capital Patna, then known as Pataliputra
, was the center of the Maurya Empire
, which dominated the Indian Subcontinent from 325 BC to185 BC. Ashoka
was the most famous ruler of this Dynasty. Bihar remained an important place of power, culture and education during the next one thousand years. The Vikramshila
and Nalanda University were among the oldest and best centers of education in ancient India but were destroyed by islamic invaders in the medieval period. Bihar was the region where Buddhism
evolved and finds mention in the Vedas
, Indian Puranas
, and Epics etc. This was one of the most remarkable aspects that make it an important region that added to the diverse cultures of the Indian Union. Bihar was made a province of British India in 1936. It became a state after the Indian Independence in 1947.
Geography of Bihar
Bihar is mainly a vast stretch of very fertile flat land. It has several rivers namely Ganga River
, Son River
, Bagmati River, Kosi River
, Budhi Gandak River, and Falgu River to name a few. Central parts of Bihar have some small hills, for example the Rajgir hills. The Himalayas
are to the north, in Nepal. 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
. Bihar is mildly cold in the winter the lowest temperatures being 5 to 10 degrees Celsius. Winter months are December and January. It is hot in the summer from 40 to 45 degrees Celsius. April to mid June are the hot months. The monsoon months of June, July, August, and September see good rainfall. October & November and February & March have pleasant climate.
Demography of Bihar
The population of Bihar is 103,804,637 . It was revealed according to 2011 census. It is ranked 3rd in India based on state population. Only 11 countries in the world have more population than the population of Bihar. Out of which 5, 41, 85,347 are male and 4, 96, 19,290 are females. Bihar State comprises 8.58% of total population of India. That would mean that there are 916 female per 1000 male. The literacy rate in Bihar is 63.82%. The literacy of male comes out to be 73.39% while that of female is 53.33%.
Culture of Bihar
Bihari people have a rich cultural tradition. People are fond of celebrating festivals. Festivals like Chhath Puja
, also called Dala Chhath is an ancient and major festival in Bihar, and is celebrated twice a year once in the summers, called the Chaiti Chhath, and once around a week after Diwali
, called the Kartik Chhath. Teej Festival
Puja are other local festivals celebrated with fervour in Bihar. Among other ritual observances, the month long Shravani Mela held along a 108 kilometers 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, walking the 108 km stretch barefooted to the town of Deogarh to bathe a sacred Lord Shiva
- Linga (sacred rock). The observance draws thousands of people to the town of Deoghar from all over India.
Folk Songs & Music of Bihar:
Bihar has a very old tradition of beautiful folk songs, sung during important family occasions, such as marriage, birth ceremonies, festivals, etc. They are sung mainly in group settings without the help of many musical instruments, though Dholak, Bansuri
, and occasionally Tabla
are used. Bihar also has a tradition of lively Holi
songs known as `Phagua`, filled with fun rhythms.
Dance forms of Bihar are another expression of rich traditions and ethnic identity. There are several folk dance forms that can keep one enthralled, such as dhobi nach, jhumarnach, manjhi, gondnach, jitiyanach, more morni, dom-domin, bhuiababa, rah baba, kathghorwa nach, jat jatin, launda nach, bamar nach, jharni, jhijhia, natua nach, bidapad nach, sohrai nach, and gond nach.
Language & Literature of Bihar Hindi
is Official language of State, Urdu is the 2nd official language of State government, Angika language
, Bhojpuri language
, Maithili language
, Bengali and Magadhi language
(Magahi) are the major languages spoken in Bihar.
The cuisine of the Bihar upper and middle classes is predominantly Vegetarian, though the lower classes which form a significant population are traditional meat eaters with various fowl, pigs, small animals, snails, and field rats being part of their day-to-day existence. The staple food is Rice
, Dal, Roti
, Tarkari and Pickle.
Education in Bihar
Historically, Bihar has been a major centre of learning, home to the universities of Nalanda one of the earliest universities of India dating back to the fifth century and Vikramshila. Unfortunately, that tradition of learning which had its origin from the time of Buddha or perhaps earlier, was lost during the medieval period when destructive armies of the invaders destroyed these centres of learning.From the British times, Bihar has had a system of district schools (called Zila schools), located at the headquarters of the older districts of Bihar. These schools have an excellent reputation and were centres of excellence. Several of them were known for their high quality education. Bihar has twelve universities recognised by the state. The Nalanda Open University
, established in 1917 and among the oldest university on the Indian subcontinent, is the most prominent among these. It has 11 colleges, including the Science College, Patna, B.N.College, Patna, Patna Women`s College, Patna College and Patna Medical College and Hospital, Magadh Mahila College.
Administration of Bihar
The constitutional head of the Government of Bihar is the Governor, who is appointed by the President of India. The real executive power rests with the Chief Minister and the cabinet. The political party or the coalition of political parties having a majority in the Legislative Assembly forms the Government. The current office, of Chief Minister Nitish Kumar
, succeeded Rabri Devi, wife of the Former Chief Minister Lalu Prasad Yadav
(currently Cabinet Minister for Railways) in 2005.
The head of the bureaucracy of the State is called the Chief Secretary. Under him is a hierarchy of officials drawn from the Indian Administrative Service, Indian Police Service, and different wings of the State Civil Service. The Judiciary is headed by the Chief Justice. Bihar has a High Court which has been functioning since1916. All the branches of the government are located in the state capital, Patna. The state is divided into 9 divisions and 37 districts, for administrative purposes.
Economy of Bihar
The principal agricultural crops are rice, paddy, wheat, jute, maize and oil seeds. Cauliflower, cabbage, tomato, radish, carrot, beat etc. are some of the vegetables grown in the state. Sugarcane, potato and barley are some of the non-cereal crops grown. Bihar has a number of major public sector projects like the Oil refinery of Indian Oil Corporation and economy manufacturing plant of Hindustan Fertilizer Corporation Ltd (HPCL) at Barauni, Pyrites, Phosphates and Chemicals Ltd (PPCL) at Amjhor; Cotton spinning mills at Siwan District
, Pandaul District, Bhagalpur District
, Mokamah District, and Gaya District
, 13 sugar mills in private sector and 15 in public section located in South and North Bihar.