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Patna

Patna 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 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 Pataliputra, was the capital of the Magadha Empire under the Haryanka, Nanda, Mauryan, Shunga, Gupta and Pala empires. Pataliputra was a seat of learning and fine arts. Its population during the Maurya period (around 300 BCE) was about 400,000.

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 2011-12, Patna had the highest per capita gross district domestic product in Bihar, at 63,063.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.

Patan Devi Mandir is still situated in old Patna near Gulzarbagh mandi along with another Patan Devi Mandir near Takht Sri Patna Sahib in Patna city.Many believe Patna derived its name from Patli, a tree variety that was found in abundance in the historic city.The place is mentioned in Chinese traveller Fa Hien’s records as Pa-lin-fou.The city has been known by various names through more than 2,000 years of existence – Pataligrama, Pataliputra, Kusumapura, Kusumdhwaja Pushpapuram, Padmavathi, Azimabad and the present-day Patna.Legend ascribes the origin of Patna to the mythological King Putraka who created Patna by magic for his queen Patali, literally “trumpet flower”, which gives it its ancient name Pataligrama. It is said that in honour of the queen’s first-born, the city was named Pataliputra. Gram is Sanskrit for village and Putra means son. Legend also says that the Emerald Buddha was created in Patna by Nagasena in 43 BCE.

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); Loknayak (Jayaprakash Narayan);Dr. Sachidanand Singh Sri Krishna Sinha; Sheel Bhadra Yajee and Sarangdhar Sinha

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 1.1 °C (34 °F), on 9 January 2013, and highest rainfall was 204.5 mm (8.05 in), in the year 1997

Pollution is a major concern in Patna. According to the CAG report, tabled in the Bihar Legislative Assembly in April 2015, respirable suspended particulate matter (RSPM) level (PM-10) in Patna was 355, three-and-a-half times higher than the prescribed limit of 100 micro-gram per cubic metre, primarily due to high vehicular and industrial emissions and construction activities in the city. In May 2014, a World Health Organization survey declared Patna the second most air polluted city in India, only after Delhi, with the survey calculating the airborne particulate matter in the state capital’s ambient air (PM-2.5) to be 149 micro-grams, six times more than the safe limit, which is 25 micro-grams. Severe air pollution in the city has caused a rise in pollution-related respiratory ailments, such as lung cancer, asthma, dysentery and diarrhea. The dense smog in Patna during winter season results in major air and rail traffic disruptions every year.

Patna is located about 100 km south of national East – West Highway corridor. The NH 30, NH 31 and NH 2 passes through the town. 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.

There is an airport, Lok Nayak Jayaprakash Airport, which 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.

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. Patna Junction is directly connected to most of the major cities in India. The city has four additional major railway stations: Rajendra Nagar Terminal (adjacent to Kankarbagh), Patliputra Junction (near Bailey road), Danapur (near western outskirts) and Patna Sahib (in Patna City area). Danapur is the divisional headquarters of East Central Railway zone’s Danapur railway division. Patna is well connected with neighbouring Gaya, Jehanabad, Bihar Sharif, Rajgir, Islampur through daily passenger and express train services. India’s longest road-cum-rail bridge, Ganga Rail–Road Bridge has been constructed across river Ganges, connecting Digha, Patna to Pahleja Ghat in Sonepur. The bridge is expected to be completed in 2016, when completed it will be 4.55 kilometres (2.83 mi) long and therefore the longest road cum rail bridge in India and one of the longest in the world.

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 over loading 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 and 556 kilometres (345 mi) North West from Kolkata. Luxury bus service between Patna and several neighboring 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.

Patna’s native language is Magahi or Magadhi a language derived from the ancient Magadhi P 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 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.

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.

Patna is home to many tourist attractions and it saw about 2.4 million tourists 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.