(Last Updated on : 20/05/2010)
Pataliputra was the ancient name of Patna. During the reign of Emperor Asoka in the 3rd century BC, it was the world's largest city, with a population of 150,000-300,000. The city has been known by various names during its more than two millennia long existence-Pataligram, Pataliputra, Kusumpur, Pushpapura, Azimabad, and the present day Patna.
Megasthenes, the Greek ambassador described Pataliputra as the greatest city in India. He said that the city was laid out in the shape of a parallelogram with eighty stades on its long sides, and fifteen stades on the shorter sides. A wooden wall surrounded the city. This wall had 570 towers and 64 gates. Beyond the wall was a deep trench, which was used for defense and as a sewage system.
The British Raj named Pataliputra as Patna. Today, Patna is a thriving city of over one million people - a business center and a popular tourist and pilgrimage destination.
Geography of Pataliputra
The city is stretched out along the south bank of the Ganga River. The Ganduk River empties into the Ganga from the north at Pataliputra, and the Sone enters the Ganga from the south, some miles to the west of the city. A smaller river, the Punpun, also enters the Ganga from the south at Pataliputra. Because of the city's location near the confluence of three large rivers, trade has always been an important part of its economy.
History of Pataliputra
According to the legends, the mythological King Putraka magically created Pataliputra for his queen, Patali and he named the place Pataligram. When their first son was born the city was renamed Pataliputra. In Sanskrit, putra means son and gram means village.
The recorded history of Pataliputra began with Ajatshatru, who was the second of the Magadhan kings. He established a small fort in 490 BCE at Pataligram. According to Buddhist texts Buddha visited Pataligram during the construction of this fort.
Chandragupta Maurya (322-301 BCE) ruled his kingdom from Pataliputra. Megasthenes described life at the Mauryan court as one of "splendor and luxury".
Chandra Gupta I married a woman of the Licchavis who were then in control of Pataliputra. The place was brought as her dowry and he established his capital at Pataliputra and used this foothold to expand his power into the neighboring regions. His son, Sumudra-Gupta, reigned for 50 years and expanded the Gupta influence over twenty more kingdoms. There was a strong central government during the reign of the Guptas. The Gupta era is considered to have been the Golden Age of Indian culture. It was the time when learning and arts flourished. The Guptas founded the Nalanda University in the fifth century.
By the mid-12th century, Pataliputra had become a part of the Delhi Sultanate. During the Mughal period, Pataliputra continued to be ruled from Delhi. As the Mughal Empire declined in the 17th century, the city came under the control of the Nawabs of Bengal. The British Raj renamed Pataliputra as Patna from 1704 and it was the capital of Bihar.
Places of interest in Pataliputra
The places of interest are :
which is situated in front of the Patna city.
the unfathomable well that dates back to the time of King Ashoka.
Kumhrar, the site of the ruins of Pataliputra.
Takht Shri Harmandir Saheb
, consecrates the birthplace of Guru Gobind Singh.
State Secretariat Building and its Clock Tower
the second largest cricket ground in India.
the oldest British buildings in Patna.
has a fine collection of stone and bronze sculptures and terracotta figures of Hindu and Buddhist artists. Didarganj Yakshi is the most prized collection of this museum.
Begu Hajjam's mosque
Pathar ki Masjid
built by the elder brother of Shah Jehan.
that is famous for its jade collection, Chinese paintings and other far eastern work of art, Collected by Diwan Bahadur Radhakrishan Jalan.
on the banks of the river Ganga.
Zoological and Botanical garden
Padri Ki Haveli,
deemed to be the oldest church in Bihar dating back to 1772
called the Patna Lawns during the British Raj.
is an example of unique architecture with beautiful garden of Mughal style.