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