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Bihar: Home To Some Of The World’s Oldest Republics

Indian State Bihar

States and UTs

Bihar: Home To Some Of The World’s Oldest Republics

The state saw the birth of two religions, Buddhism and Jainism.

Bihar is spread over an area of 94,163 sq. km.  It shares its borders with Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand and West Bengal. It also shares an international border with Nepal.

Quick Facts

  • Capital – Patna
  • Districts – 38
  • Population – 104,099,452
  • Legislative Assembly seats – 243
  • Legislative Council seats – 75
  • Lok Sabha seats – 40
  • Rajya Sabha seats – 16
  • Literacy rate – 63.82%
  • Sex ratio – 918
  • Life Expectancy – 68.1 years
  • Infant Mortality Rate – 42 

Political Background

Krishna Singh was the first chief minister of the state which was created on 1 April 1936. The current incumbent Nitish Kumar belongs to the Janata Dal United (JDU). He was sworn in on 22 February 2015. The Governor of the state is Satya Pal Malik. 

Historic Relevance

The birth place of Sita in the epic Ramayana is believed to be situated in Bihar. A number of ancient republics like Vaishali and Magadha flourished in the state.

Patna, originally known as Pataliputra, was part of the ancient Indian civilization. The city was founded by Ajatashatru who made it his capital.

The medieval period saw the reign of Sher Shah Suri. 

(Read- Understanding India’s Demography, From Population to Literacy and Sex Ratio)

State Exclusives

  • The Ashoka Chakra which adorns the national flag of India is found in Sarnath.
  • It was in Bihar that Gautam Buddha founded Buddhism and Lord Mahavira created Jainism.
  • Mahatma Gandhi Setu, one of Asia’s longest river bridges, is built across the Ganga river.
  • Aryabhatta, Chanakya, Ashoka The Great and India’s first President, Dr Rajendra Prasad, belonged to this state.
  • The Sikh pilgrimage Harmandir Takht Saheb, the birth place of Guru Gobind Singh, is located in Patna.
  • One of the oldest universities, Nalanda University, is located in the state.

Cultural Heritage

  • Urdu and Hindi are the official languages of the state. Other languages like Bhojpuri, Maithili and Magadhi are widely spoken.
  • Chhath Puja, Madhushravani, Makar-Sankranti, Holi, Diwali, Ram Navami and Bihula are the major festivals of Bihar.
  • The main festival, Chhath Puja, is devoted to Surya Dev and Chhath Maiya.
  • The main folk dance of the state is Saraikella Chhau.
  • Major rivers flowing in the state are Ganga, Son, Ghagra, Mahananda, Bagmati, Ajay, Budhi Gandak, Koshi and Kamala.
  • Sonpur Animal Fair which is held during Kartik Purnima is famous all over the world. 


The famous pilgrim centres in Bihar are Mundeshwari Temple, Bodhgaya, Gaya, Harmandir Takht Saheb, Pathar ki Masjid, Parasnath Hill, Rajgir, Baidyanath Dham, Janki Kund, Mahabodhi Temple and the Bodhi Tree.

(Read-India’s Geography: Get To Know The Country’s Distinct Regions)

Trade and industry

The major economic activities of the state are:

  • Agricultural produce like rice, wheat, maize, pulses, tobacco, onions, chillies and potato
  • Cotton spinning mills
  • Jute mills
  • Leather industry
  • Sugar mills

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