Banka Bihar – First Impressions

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Buddha at Bodh Gaya in Bihar
Buddha at Bodh Gaya in Bihar

Bihar – the state invokes an image of poverty as if people there have nothing to eat, missing law and order. As if you will be murdered or kidnapped the moment you step out on a road and crime as if everyone roams around with a gun in their hands. The reality that I saw: people are simple and very clean especially in villages. They may not be super rich like urban pockets but they do not die of hunger either. The roads though recently built, do exist and are far less crowded than most other parts of the country. You will see all young girls riding their bicycles to schools and coaching centers. And women going around doing their work as usual without any parda per se.

People were moving around and going on with their regular day to day lives without any fear. There were enough of them traveling in and on top of buses between cities.

Kids at Barabar Hills in Bihar
Kids at Barabar Hills in Bihar

Bihari Pride.

The most amazing discovery of my trip was to see people of Bihar beaming with Bihari pride. I got to talk to a few government officials and people on the road and all of them are very positive about the future of Bihar. They all agree that they have been left behind in the race for development. But they are confident that their time has arrived and now there is no looking back. In my mind to accept that something went wrong somewhere is the first step to a positive change. Each and every one I met in Bihar gave me the same vibes that we will undo the past. They are hurt at being the lowest benchmark in the country. But they do not shout at those who call them backward unlike other places where the tolerance is going down drastically.

Solar panels seen across Bihar
Solar panels seen across Bihar

People are happy with the roads being built for them and we could see lot of widening activities all across the circuit that we travelled. Electricity is still a problem; it is not available around the clock to most people. Except perhaps Bodh Gaya which being the biggest tourist center has more privileges. States that lag behind have the opportunity to leap frog by adopting the latest technologies. And by learning from the mistakes of those who have travelled before.

Solar Power.

Bihar seems to be adopting solar power to cater to its localized electricity needs. At every tourist location we saw these small solar panels that can cater to the small needs of the place. All museums and all monuments had solar panels around them. Thankfully they have not been put in a way that would take away the beauty of the place.

Flowers seen at Bihar
Flowers seen at Bihar

Monuments & Museums of Bihar.

Every monument and museum was surrounded by lush green and well maintained gardens. The flowers of the season welcomed the visitors everywhere. The fertility of the land was visible in the size of the flowers and leaves that were far bigger than what we see in urban areas. Not many places in the country can boast of such manicured gardens around their places of importance. In-situ museums make it easy for the visitor to visualize the place, as it would have existed in its hay days.

Jain Library at Vaishali, Bihar
Jain Library at Vaishali

We often wonder how Bihar is able to send so many candidates to all prestigious educational institutes of the country and to the civil services. Now I know it is because education is highly valued there as most people we met were postgraduates and a lot of them were PhDs. They have beautiful and well-stocked libraries even in remote areas. And people spoke to us passionately about their subjects, about books and life in general.

Lai - a sweet from Bihar
Lai – a sweet from Bihar

Bihari Delicacies.

Since they have not really focused on selling themselves, their cuisine is still pretty much restricted to their region. In fact people still go to certain towns or villages for a particular delicacy. We enjoyed Patna’s Litti Chokha, Jehanabad’s Lai, Silao’s Khaja and Gaya’s Tilkut.

Those of us who hold a pre-conceived, media created view of Bihar need to visit it at least once to see the reality and richness for ourselves.

Recommend you to read following Travel Blog on Tourist Places in Bihar. They are also the Historical Places of Bihar.

  1. Bodh Gaya – Where Buddha achieved Enlightenment.
  2. Patna – Current day version of ancient Patliputra.
  3. Nalanda – Ancient seat of learning.
  4. Rajgir – Host of Buddhist councils.
  5. Vaishali – Birthplace of Lord Mahaveer.
  6. Barabar Caves – First ever caves of India.
  7. Mithila’s Madhubani artist Ganga Devi.
  8. When I became a catalyst by destiny.

14 COMMENTS

  1. Anuradha Goyal, you did a great job by this post! Why?

    If you follow perhaps my stories about Rajahsthan (which I am writing right now), you may see that those are brief impressions of a person coming from Eastern Europe (Romania), who visited part of your country, having other culture, other values, other ideas. I do not write bad things about Rajahsthan but I concentrate myself mainly on culture, religion, art because I had no much time for my visit (2 weeks). This does not mean that I do not have pictures taken in less nice places of the location I visited.
    The reality could not be hidden and some aspects are shoking for most Europeans. But posts like yours may help a lot the understanding. May help to see the real people behind the realities. Their struggle to make it better. And this you succeed with your post. Congratulations!

  2. Good one!

    Being an ardent traveler myself, all I can say is that every place has its own charm which stands out irrespective of its socio-political condition and Bihar happens to be no exception!

  3. Puru, I really enjoyed my trip to Bihar and I hope I am able to do my bit to send some tourists there.

    It the cradle of Bhartiya Sanskriti, I feel sad to see it in neglect.

  4. Hey Anu,

    I accidentally came to know about your blog. I loved the simplicity and purity of the language you used in your blogs. Keep posting… 🙂

  5. Worked my way backwards through the Bihar buddhist circuit posts. These are all places on my plans, and for a very long time. I have studied and lived in Bihar for a while, so some of it is familiar, but a lot – Rajgir, Bodh Gaya, Nalanda – are still on my to visit list. Reading your posts made these places and their history come alive. You are doing a great job, and noone might realize its value now, but the future will.

  6. Anuradha this is my first visit here.You have written a marvelous post,it has definitely changed my opinion about the state ,which was very low down -i confess.

    It is a tragedy that those who were in power earlier only concentrated on filling their own coffers& did nothing to bring up their domain.

  7. My village is near Rajgir,Bihar. I have visted my maternal house so many times. I have seen lots of stone statue, work on stone pillar scattered in whole village. Those are neglected by everyone. Villager are not taking seriously because those are in big number. They use those stone pillar on pavement, binding cattle and fencing in there field. It is so sad but everyone know about that village. Even once C.M Nitish Kumar visited that village. We expect that one day they will give importance to these invaluable nation historical assets as other states are giving in there respective places

  8. Great Blogs… I cannot wait to see it myself. The snap of three smiling boys reminded me of Swasti from “Old path White clouds” by Thich Nhat Hanh. Keep posting such intresting blogs.
    Gauri

  9. Hello Anu

    Interesting blogs! I can’t wait to visit Bihar. The snap of three boys reminded me of Swasti from “Old Path White Clouds” by Thich Nhat Hanh!
    Gauri

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