History and Geography
Bihar finds mention in the Vedas, Puranas, epics, etc., and was the main scene of activities of Buddha, and 24 Jain Tirthankars.
Great rulers of the State before the Christian era were Bimbisar, Udayin, who founded the city of Pataliputra. Chandragupta Maurya and
Emperor Ashoka and Maurya dynasty, the Sungs and the Kanvas. Then came the Kushan rulers followed by Chandragupta Vikramaditya of the
Gupta dynasty. Muslim rulers made in-roads into the territory during medieval period. The first conqueror of Bihar was Mohammed-bin-Bakhtiar
Khalji. The Tughluqs and then the Mughals followed the Khaljis.
One of the major states of the Indian Union, Bihar is bounded on the north by Nepal, on the east by West Bengal, on west by Uttar
Pradesh and on the south by Jharkhand. Bihar has a number of rivers, the most important of which is the Ganga. The other rivers are the
Sone, Poonpoon, Falgu, Karmanasa, Durgawati, Kosi, Gandak, Ghaghara, etc.
Bihar has a total geographical area of about 93.60 lakh hectare, out of which only 56.03 lakh hectare is the net cultivated area and
gross cultivated area being 79.46 lakh hectare. About 33.51 lakh hectare net area and 43.86 lakh hectare gross area receive irrigation
from different sources. Principal food crops are paddy, wheat, maize and pulses. Main cash crops are sugarcane, potato, tobacco,
oilseeds, onion, chillies, jute and mesta. Bihar has notified forest area of 6,764.14 sq. km, which is 7.1 per cent of its geographical
Major Industries are: Railway Wagon Plants of Bharat Wagon Limited at Muzaffarpur and Mokamah; Oil Refinery of Indian Oil Corporation
at Barauni; Fertilizer Manufacturing Plant of Hindustan Fertilizer Corporation Limited (HPCL) at Barauni and Pyrites Phosphates &
Chemicals Limited (PPCL) at Amjhor; Cotton Spinning Mills at Siwan, Pandaul, Bhagalpur, Mokamah and Gaya; 13 sugar mills in private
sector and 15 in the public sector located in south and north Bihar with a total crushing capacity of 45,000 TPD. In addition,
distilleries at Gopalganj, West Champaran, Bhagalpur and Riga (in Sitamarhi district); Finished Leather Industry in West Champaran,
Muzaffarpur and Barauni; Jute Mills at Katihar and Samastipur; Medicine Manufacturing Unit at Hajipur; Food Processing Units as also
Vanaspati Manufacturing Units at Aurangabad and Patna; besides Kalyanpur Cement Limited at Banjari, are notable in the industrial map
Roads: Bihar has around 13,000 km of pucca roads including around 2,500 km of national highways and roughly 11,000 km of state
highways and major district roads.
Railways: Bihar has a fairly good railway network. Communication in north Bihar is difficult as there is only one railway bridge
at Mokamah. A few railway routes connecting important places like Muzaffarpur-Samastipur-Barauni-Katihar and Muzaffarpur-Chapra-Siwan
have been converted into broad gauge. The main rail junctions are at Patna, Gaya, Muzaffarpur, Katihar and Samastipur, etc.
Aviation: There is an international airport at Patna, besides landing grounds in all major districts of the State.
Ruins of NalandaImportant places of tourist interest are Rajgir, Nalanda, Vaishali, Pawapuri (where Lord Mahavira breathed his last and
attained Nirvana), Bodh Gaya, Vikramshila (ruins of Buddhist University of higher learning), Gaya, Patna (ancient city of Patliputra),
Sasaram (tomb of Shershah Suri) and Madhubani (known for famous Madhubani Paintings).