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Patna
Metropolis
Anticlockwise from top: South-West Gandhi Maidan Marg, Stupa of Buddha Smriti Park, Skyline near Biscomaun Bhawan, Patna Museum, Statue of Mahatma Gandhi in Gandhi Maidan, Mithapur Flyover and river Ganges
Anticlockwise from top: South-West Gandhi Maidan Marg, Stupa of Buddha Smriti Park, Skyline near Biscomaun Bhawan, Patna Museum, Statue of Mahatma Gandhi in Gandhi Maidan, Mithapur Flyover and river Ganges
Country India
State Bihar
Division Patna
District Patna
Ward 75
Founded by Ajatsatru
Elevation 53 m (174 ft)
Population (2011)
 • City 1,695,000 (IN: 19th)
 • Urban 2,046,652 (IN: 18th)
 • Metro N/A
Demonym(s) Patnaite
Languages
 • Official Hindi, Urdu
 • Native Magahi dialect
Time zone IST (UTC+5:30)
Pincode(s) 8000xx
Area code(s) +91-612
ISO 3166 code IN-BR-PA
Vehicle registration BR-01
UN/LOCODE IN PAT
Sex ratio 980 (females per 1000 males) /
Literacy 91.1%
Lok Sabha constituencies Patna Sahib and Pataliputra
Vidhan Sabha constituencies Digha (181), Bankipur (182), Kumhrar (183), Patna Sahib (184), Fatuha (185), Danapur (186), Maner (187), Phulwari-SC (188)
Planning agency Patna Metropolitan Area Authority
Bihar Urban Infrastructure Development Corporation
Climate Cwa (Köppen)
Precipitation 1,100 millimetres (43 in)
Avg. annual temperature 26 °C (79 °F)
Avg. summer temperature 30 °C (86 °F)
Avg. winter temperature 17 °C (63 °F)
Website patna.nic.in
patnanagarnigam.in

Patna Listeni/ˈpætnə, ˈpʌt-/, also known as Pataliputra is the capital and largest city of the state of Bihar in India. Patna is the second-largest city in Eastern India after Kolkata. It had an estimated city population of 1.68 million in 2011, making it the 19th largest city in India. With over 2 million people, its urban agglomeration is the 18th largest in India. Patna also serves as the seat of Patna High Court.

One of the oldest continuously inhabited places in the world, Patna was founded in 490 BCE by the king of Magadha. Ancient Patna, known as Patliputra, was the capital of the Magadh Empire under the Haryanka, Nanda, Mauryan, Shunga, Gupta and Pala empires. Pataliputra was a seat of learning and fine arts. Patliputra was home to many astronomers and scholars including Aryabhata, Vātsyāyana and Chanakya . Its population during the Maurya period (around 300 BCE) was about 400,000. Patna served as the seat of power, political and cultural centre of Indian subcontinent during the Maurya and Gupta empires. With the fall of Gupta Empire, Patna lost its glory. It was revived again in the 17th century by the British as a centre of international trade. Following the partition of Bengal presidency in 1912, Patna became the capital of Bihar and Orissa Province.

The modern city of Patna is situated on the southern bank of river Ganges. The city also straddles the rivers Sone, Gandak and Punpun. The city is approximately 35 kilometres (22 mi) in length and 16 to 18 kilometres (9.9 to 11.2 mi) wide. In June 2009, the World Bank ranked Patna second in India (after Delhi) for ease of starting a business. As of 2015, Patna's per capita gross domestic product is INR1,06,000 ($1581). Using figures for assumed average annual growth, Patna is the 21st fastest growing city in the world and 5th fastest growing city in India according to a study by the City Mayors Foundation. Patna registered an average annual growth of 3.72% during 2006–2010.

The Buddhist, Hindu and Jain pilgrimage centres of Vaishali, Rajgir, Nalanda, Bodh Gaya and Pawapuri are nearby and Patna City is also a sacred city for Sikhs as the tenth Sikh Guru, Guru Gobind Singh was born here.

History

Ancient Era

Patna assumed importance and grandeur around 490 BCE as Ajatashatru, the king of Magadha, wanted to shift his capital from the hilly Rajagrha (today's Rajgir) to a strategically located place to better combat the Licchavis of Vaishali. He chose the site on the bank of the Ganges and fortified the area. Gautama Buddha travelled through this place in the last year of his life. He prophesied a great future for this place even as he predicted its ruin due to flood, fire and feud.

Mauryan empire

Statue of Matrikas found near Agam Kuan, Patna, 1895
Statue of Matrikas found near Agam Kuan built by Ashoka

Megasthenes, the Indo-Greek historian and ambassador to the court of Chandragupta Maurya, gave one of the earliest accounts of the city. He wrote that the city was situated on the confluence of the rivers Ganga and Arennovoas (Sonabhadra — Hiranyawah) and was 14 kilometres (9 mi) long and 2.82 kilometres (1.75 mi) wide. Megasthenes, the Greek ambassador to India, described the city as the greatest city on earth during its heyday. The Shungas ultimately retained control of Pataliputra and ruled for almost 100 years. The Shungas were then followed by the Kanvas and eventually by the Guptas.

A number of Chinese travellers came to India in pursuit of knowledge and recorded their observations about Pataliputra in their travelogues. One such famous account was recorded by a Chinese Buddhist traveller Fa Hien, who visited India between 399 and 414 CE, and stayed here for many months translating Buddhist texts.

Gupta empire

Main street of Patna, 1814-15
Main street of Patna, showing one side of the Chowk, 1814–15.
City of Patna, on the River Ganges, 19th century
City of Patna, on the River Ganges, 19th-century painting.

In the years that followed, many dynasties ruled the Indian subcontinent from the city, including the Gupta dynasty and the Pala kings. With the disintegration of the Gupta empire, Patna passed through uncertain times. Bakhtiar Khilji captured Bihar in the 12th century and destroyed everything, and Patna lost its prestige as the political and cultural centre of India.

Guru Gobind Singh (22 December 1666 – 7 October 1708), the tenth Guru of the Sikhs, was born as Gobind Rai in Patna to Guru Teg Bahadur, the ninth Guru of the Sikhs, and his wife Mata Gujri. His birthplace, Patna Sahib is one of the most sacred sites of pilgrimage for Sikhs.

Mughal empire

The Mughal empire was a period of unremarkable provincial administration from Delhi. The most remarkable period during the Middle Ages was under the Pathan emperor Sher Shah Suri, who revived Patna in the middle of the 16th century. He built a fort and founded a town on the banks of the Ganges. Sher Shah's fort in Patna does not survive, although the Sher Shah Suri mosque, built in Afghan architectural style, does. Mughal emperor Akbar reached Patna in 1574 to crush the rebellious Afghan Chief Daud Khan. One of the navratnas from Akbar's court, his official historian and author of "Ain-i-Akbari" Abul Fazl refers to Patna as a flourishing centre for paper, stone and glass industries. He also refers to the high quality of numerous strains of rice grown in Patna, famous as Patna rice in Europe.

By 1620, the city of Patna was being described as the "chefest mart towne of all Bengala" (i.e. largest town in Bengal) in northern India, "the largest town in Bengal and the most famous for trade". This was before the founding of the city of Calcutta. Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb acceded to the request of his favourite grandson, Prince Muhammad Azim, to rename Patna as Azimabad, in 1704 while Azim was in Patna as the subedar. Patna or Azimabad did see some violent activities, according to Phllip Mason, writing in the book "The Men Who Ruled India". "Aurangzeb had restored the poll-tax (Jazia) on unbelievers and this had to be compounded for. In Patna, Peacock the Chief of the factory, was not sufficiently obliging and was seized, forced to walk through the town bare-headed and bare-footed and subjected to many other indignities before he paid up and was released." However, very little changed during this period other than the name. With the decline of the Mughal empire, Patna moved into the hands of the Nawabs of Bengal, who levied a heavy tax on the populace but allowed it to flourish as a commercial centre. The mansions of the Maharaja of Tekari Raj dominated the Patna river front in 1811–12.

British empire

During the 17th century, Patna became a centre of international trade. In 1620, the English East India Company established a factory in Patna for trading in calico and silk. Soon it became a trading centre for saltpetre. Francois Bernier, in Travels in the Mogul Empire (1656–1668), says ". It was carried down the Ganges with great facility, and the Dutch and English sent large cargoes to many parts of the Indies, and to Europe". This trade encouraged other Europeans, principally the French, Danes, Dutch and Portuguese, to compete in the lucrative business. Peter Mundy, writing in 1632, described Patna as "the greatest mart of the eastern region". After the decisive Battle of Buxar of 1764, as per the treaty of Allahabad East India Company was given the right to collect tax of this former Mughal province by the Mughal emperor. Patna was annexed by the company in 1793 to its territory when Nizamat(Mughal suzernaity) was abolished and British East India company took control of the province of Bengal-Bihar. Patna however continued as a trading centre.

In 1912, when the Bengal Presidency was partitioned, Patna became the capital of the British province of Bihar and Orissa, although in 1935 Orissa became a separate entity with its own capital.

Indian independence movement

People from Patna were greatly involved in the Indian independence movement. Most notable movements were the Champaran movement against the Indigo plantation and the 1942 Quit India Movement. National leaders who came from the city include Swami Sahajanand Saraswati; the first President of the Constituent Assembly of India, Dr. Rajendra Prasad; Bihar Vibhuti (Anugrah Narayan Sinha); Basawon Singh (Sinha); and Loknayak (Jayaprakash Narayan).

Post-Independence

Patna remained the capital of Bihar after India gained independence in 1947, even as Bihar was partitioned again in 2000 when Jharkhand became a separate state of the Indian union.

Geography

Topography

Patna district
Map of Patna district
Patna's Urban agglomeration
Jurisdiction Population
Town Type Estimate
(2011)
Patna' Municipal Corporation 1,684,222
Danapur Nagar Parishad 182,429
Badalpura Out Growth 75
Danapur Cantonment Cantonment Board 28,723
Khagaul Nagar Parishad 44,364
Nohsa Census Town 16,680
Pataliputra Housing Colony Census Town 3,531
Phulwari Sharif Nagar Parishad 81,740
Saidpura Census Town 7,392
Patna UA 2,049,156
Patna district 5,838,465
Source:

Patna is located on the southern bank of the river Ganges in Eastern India. The total area of Patna is 136 km2 (53 sq mi). Of this, the municipal area constitutes 99 km2 (38 sq mi), while the suburban area constitutes 36 km2 (14 sq mi). The exact cartographic co-ordinates of Patna are 25°36′N 85°06′E / 25.6°N 85.1°E / 25.6; 85.1. It has an average elevation of 53 m (174 ft). A characteristic feature of the geography of Patna is at the confluence of rivers.

During the British Raj, Patna was part of the Bengal Presidency. After Nalanda district was carved out of Patna district in 1976, Patna was purged of all hilly regions. It is an alluvial, flat expanse of land .The land in the district is too fertile and is almost entirely cultivated with no forest cover . Alluvial soil found herevis ideal for cultivation of rice, sugarcane and other foodgrains. The area under cultivation is studded with mango orchards and bamboo groves . In the fields along the banks of river Ganges, weeds such as ammannia, citriculari, hygrophile and sesbania grow. But palmyra, date palm and mango orchards are found near habitations. Dry stretches of shrubbery are sometimes seen in the villages far from the rivers. Trees commonly found are bel, siris, jack fruit and the red cotton tree. Patna is unique in having four large rivers in its vicinity. It is the largest riverine city in the world. The topography of Patna city is saucer shaped as per Patna City Development Plan prepared in 2006 . The bridge over the river Ganges named Mahatma Gandhi Setu is 5575m long and is the longest river bridge in the India.

Patna comes under India's seismic zone-IV, indicating its vulnerability to major earthquakes, but earthquakes have not been common in recent history. Patna also falls in the risk zone for floods and cyclones.

Climate

Monsoon clouds over Priyadarshi Nagar
Monsoon clouds over Priyadarshi Nagar, a part of Kankarbagh- residential area in Eastern Patna.

Patna has a Humid subtropical climate under the Köppen climate classification: (Cwa) with extremely hot summers from late March to early June, the monsoon season from late June to late September and chilly winter nights and foggy or sunny days from November to February Highest temperature ever recorded was 46.6 °C (115.9 °F), in the year 1966, the lowest ever was 0.0 °C (32 °F), on 9 January 2013, and highest rainfall was 204.5 mm (8.05 in), in the year 1997.

Economy

Patna has long been a major agricultural hub and centre of trade . Its most active exports are grain, sugarcane, sesame, and medium-grained Patna rice. There are several sugar mills in and around Patna. It is an important business and luxury brand centre of eastern India.

Demographics

Maurya Lok Patna
Maurya Lok is one of the oldest and major shopping area of the city

With an estimated population of 1.68 million in 2011, Patna is the 19th most populous city in India and with over 2 million people, its urban agglomeration is the 18th largest in India. Residents of Patna are referred to by the demonym Patnaite.

Patna metropolitan region constitutes the second largest metropolitan region in eastern India.

Mahavir Mandir from Buddha Smriti Park
The Mahavir Mandir is a famous temple in Patna.

According to the 2011 census of India, Patna's major religion is Hinduism with 86.39% followers. Islam is second most popular religion in Patna with approximately 12.27% following it. Christianity, Jainism, Sikhism and Buddhism, with smaller followings, are also practised in Patna. During last census report, around 0.01% stated other religion and approximately 0.49% stated no particular religion.

Roughly 0.25% of Patna's population lives in slums which makes Patna, the city with the lowest percentage of people living in slum in India.

Religions in Patna (2011)
Religion Percent
Hinduism
  
86.39%
Islam
  
12.27%
Christianity
  
1.92%
Sikhism
  
0.98%
Jainism
  
0.09%
Others
  
0.52%

Hindi is the official language of the state of Bihar but many other languages are spoken too. The native dialect is Magadhi or Magahi, named after Magadha, the ancient name of South Bihar is most widely spoken. English is widely spoken by Patnaites, and other widely spoken dialects and languages include Bhojpuri, Maithili, Bengali, Urdu and Oriya.

Transport and connectivity

Patna is located about 100 km south of national East – West Highway corridor. The NH 30, NH 31 and NH 2 passes through the city. The Ashok Rajpath, Patna-Danapur Road, Bailey Road, Harding Road and Kankarbagh old bypass Road are the major corridors.

Patna was one of the first places in India to use horse-drawn trams for public transport. Public transportation today is provided for by buses, auto rickshaws and local trains. Auto rickshaws are said to be the lifeline of the city. BSRTC has started City bus service on all major routes of Patna. App based cab service is available within city.

Radio Taxis
Digha–Sonpur Bridge connecting Patna with North Bihar.
River port on national inland waterways-1 at Gai Ghat

Air

Patna Airport known as Lok Nayak Jayaprakash Narayan International Airport is classified as a restricted international airport. The arrival of several low-cost carriers and a number of new destinations have caused a growth in air traffic in recent years, as has an improvement in the situation with regard to law and order. For the period April to December 2009 the airport ranked first in a survey of 46 airports in the country in terms of percentage growth of domestic passengers as well as domestic aircraft movement. The Airport Authority of India (AAI) has proposed to develop a civil enclave at Bihta Air Force Station to serve as the new airport for Patna. The military airfield lies 40 kilometres (25 mi) southwest of Patna, in Bihta.

Rail

Patna is served by several railway stations located in different areas of the city. The Patna Junction railway station is the main railway station of the city, and one of the busiest railway stations in India. Patna lies in between New Delhi and Kolkata on Howrah–Delhi main line, which is one of the busiest rail routes in India.

Road

The city is served by several major road highways and state highways, including National Highways 19, 30, 31, and 83. Asia's longest river bridge, the Mahatma Gandhi Setu (built 1982), is located in Patna and connects the city to Hajipur across the Ganga. In recent times, the bridge has been witnessing major traffic chaos and accidents due to exceeding number of vehicles passing over it and regularly overloading the structure. A new six lane road bridge across the Ganges parallel to Mahatma Gandhi Setu is proposed which would connect Kacchi Dargah in Patna City to Bidupur in Vaishali district, which will be the longest bridge in India after completion.

Patna is 1,015 kilometres (631 mi) East from Delhi, 1,802 kilometres (1,120 mi) North East from Mumbai,1,527 kilometres (949 mi) North from Hyderabad and 556 kilometres (345 mi) North West from Kolkata. Luxury bus service between Patna and several neighbouring cities is provided by the Bihar State Tourism Development Corporation and the Bihar State Road Transport Corporation. Auto Rikshaws are a popular mode of transportation. Prepaid auto services operated by an all-women crew was started in 2013 in Patna, which is the first of its kind in India. Radio Taxi services are also available within city limit as well as outskirts. There are also private options such as Ola Cabs.

Rapid transit

Patna Metro is a planned rapid transit system for the city. According to government,the project will be completed in 5 years with an estimated cost of Rs.13,365.77 crore.

Inland waterways

The Ganges – navigable throughout the year – was the principal river highway across the vast north Indo-Gangetic Plain. Vessels capable of accommodating five hundred merchants were known to ply this river in the ancient period; it served as a major trade route, as goods were transported from Pataliputra to the Bay of Bengal and further, to ports in Sri Lanka and Southeast Asia. The role of the Ganges as a channel for trade was enhanced by its natural links – it embraces all the major rivers and streams in both north and south Bihar.

In recent times, Inland Waterways Authority of India has declared the stretch of river Ganges between Allahabad and Haldia National Inland Waterway and has taken steps to restore and maintain its navigability. The National Waterway-1, the longest Waterway in India, stretches 1620 km in the River Ganga from Allahabad to Haldia via Varanasi, Munger, Bhagalpur passes through Patna. This National Waterways has fixed terminal at Patna. In September 2014, a luxury cruise called ‘MV Rajmahal’ from Patna to Varanasi was launched by the state-based Assam Bengal Navigation Company (ABN).

Culture

Magahi folk singers
Magahi folk singers

Patna's native language is Magahi or Magadhi a language derived from the ancient Magadhi Prakrit, which was created in the ancient kingdom of Magadha, the core of which was the area of Patna south of the Ganges. It is believed to be the language spoken by Gautama Buddha. It was the official language of the Mauryan court, in which the edicts of Ashoka were composed.

The name Magahi is directly derived from the name Magadhi Prakrit, and educated speakers of Magahi prefer to call it "Magadhi" rather than "Magahi".

Patna has many buildings adorned with Indo-Islamic and Indo-Saracenic architectural motifs. Several well-maintained major buildings from the colonial period have been declared "heritage structures"; others are in various stages of decay. Established in 1917 as the Bihar's first museum, the Patna Museum (पटना संग्रहालय) houses large collections that showcase Indian natural history and Indian art. The Khuda Bakhsh Oriental Library and Sinha Library are historic public libraries of Patna.

Holi being played in the courtyard, ca 1795 painting
Holi being played in the courtyard, ca 1795 painting. Patna style Inscribed on the back of the drawing is: 'No.4. The Gift of E.E. Pote Esqr. Elizath Collins.
Durga Puja, 1809 watercolour painting in Patna Style
Durga Puja, 1809 watercolour painting in Patna Style

Several theatres are located in or near the central part of the city, including the Bhartiya Nritya Kala Mandir, the Rabindra Parishad, Premchand Rangshala and the Kalidas Rangalaya, which is home to the Bihar art theatre. Kalidas Rangalaya also hosts the Patliputra Natya Mahotsav, a dance festival. But in the last two decades, the popularity of commercial theatres in the city has declined.

The Patna School of Painting or Patna Qalaam, some times also called Company style, is an offshoot of the well-known Mughal Miniature school of painting, which flourished in Bihar during the early 18th to the mid-20th centuries.

Some well known dishes of Bihari cuisine include sattu paratha (parathas stuffed with roasted gram flour), "sattu ka sharbat"(a spiced drink with roasted gram flour as main ingredient), chokha (spicy mashed potatoes), fish curry, Bihari kebab, postaa-dana kaa halwaa, malpua, dal pitha (Bihari version of momos), kheer makhana (fox nut) and thekua/khajuria (a type of snack).

Street foods such as Samosa, Chaat, litti chokha, phuchka (a deep-fried crêpe with tamarind sauce), South Indian and Chinese cuisine are favourite among Patnaites.

Bihari Women have traditionally worn sari but shalwar kameez and other western attire are gaining acceptance among younger women. Western attire has gained wide acceptance among the urban men, although the traditional dhoti and kurta are seen during festivals. Chhath, also called Dala Chhath, is a major ancient festival in Bihar. It is celebrated twice a year: once in the summer, called the Chaiti Chhath, and once about a week after Deepawali, called the Kartik Chhath. Durga Puja, held in September–October, is Patna's another important festival; it is an occasion for glamorous celebrations. Among the city's other festivals, are Saraswati Puja, Eid, Holi, Christmas, Vishwakarma Puja, Makar Sankranti, Raksha Bandhan and Rath Yatra. Cultural events include the Patna Book Fair, Patna Sahib Mahotsav, the Patna Film Festival, Bihar Diwas, Rajgir Mahotsav, Vaishali Mahotsav and the Sonepur Cattle Fair in neighbouring towns.

Tourism

Golghar 01
Golghar was originally built to serve as a granary for the British East India company army during the famine of 1786. It now features an observation deck overlooking the Ganges and the city.
Sabhyatadwarpatna
Sabhyata Dwar in Patna

Patna is home to many tourist attractions and it saw about 2.4 million tourists (including day visitors) in 2005. Tourists visiting the city accounted for 41% of the total number of tourists visiting Bihar although Bodh Gaya was the most popular destination for foreign visitors.

The cultural heritage of Bihar is reflected in its many ancient monuments. Kumhrar and Agam Kuan are the sites of the ruins of the Ashokan Pataliputra. Didarganj Yakshi remains as an example of Mauryan art.

Takht Sri Patna Sahib is one of the Five Takhts of Sikhism and consecrates the birthplace of the tenth Guru of the Sikhs, Gobind Singh. There are five other Gurdwaras in Patna which are related to different Sikh Gurus; these are Gurdwara Pahila Bara, Gurdwara Gobind Ghat, Gurdwara Guru ka Bagh, Gurdwara Bal Leela and Gurdwara Handi Sahib.

Padri Ki Haveli, High Court, Golghar and Secretariat Building are examples of British architecture. Gandhi Maidan is a historic ground in Patna where several freedom movement rallies took place. Newly built Buddha Smriti Park near Patna Junction is also becoming a major tourist attraction.

The Patna Planetarium (Indira Gandhi Planetarium) is located in Patna's Indira Gandhi Science Complex. It claims to be one of the largest planetariums in Asia and to attract a large number of tourists.

The Patna zoo (Sanjay Gandhi Biological Park) is located at Bailey road, Raj Bhawan, Rajbanshi nagar, and includes over 300 mammals, 300 birds and 450 species of reptiles as of January 2019.

Recently, the Bihar government has built a state-of-the-art art landmark museum in Patna at a cost of approximately INR530 crores on a site of 13.9 acres at Bailey Road. 5 firms were shortlisted for the architectural design, of which the Japanese firm Maki and Associates was chosen. It is now completed and opened for all.

The Eco Park is located in Jawaharlal Nehru Marg. It has more than 3,000 varieties of plants and includes several theme parks, a restaurant and an area for boat riding.

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