Ancient Patliputra to Modern Patna

Patna , the capital of Bihar, is located on the southern banks of the Ganges. The city is also situated close to Kosi, Sone and Gandak rivers. Patna is the largest city in Eastern India after Kolkata in West Bengal. Patna is one of the oldest centers of human civilization in the history of the world. During the days when Magadha thrived as an empire under several dynasties like the Haryankas, Shisunagas, Nandas, Mauryas, Sungas, Kanvas, Guptas, Palas and others, Patna was known as Pataliputra.

Patna is well known among the tourists because of its diversified culture, fusion of various religions and numerous historical monuments. It is a gateway to the Buddhist and Jain pilgrim centers of Vaishali, Rajgir, Nalanda, Bodhgaya, Keshariya and Pawapuri.


There are several stories regarding how Patna is known as Patna. One legend is that Pataliputra was created by the King Putraka for his queen, Patali. He named the place Pataligram for her. When she had their first son, the city was renamed Pataliputra. Second one , many people believe the name has descended from Patan Devi, a Hindu goddess & the third one , Some believe it came from the Sanskrit word ‘Pattan’ meaning port for the city is situated near the confluence of four rivers.

It was my first visit to Patna . Before reaching Patna I was having some other image about it but once I reached there the image about the city got totally changed. People were so helpful and soft spoken. It is a city where all the religions are practised altogether. There is a 400 years old mosque known as Pathar ki Masjid , a historical church known as Paderi ki Haweli , Patan Devi Temple & Patna Sahib (birth place of Guru Govind Singh). Truly a secular state. But I feel the people over there lack mannerism as one can see the people spitting Tobacco and standing for Loo anywhere they feel like. . It is really very ashamed, even in Gandhi Maidan many people were standing and performing this shameful act in the middle of the ground .

On Saturday I was supposed to fly back to Delhi at 6.30 PM by Kingfisher , which was cancelled , next flight was Indian Airlines at 8.00 PM so I got a lot of time to explore the city.

First day I roamed around Gandhi Maidan while coming back from Patna Medical college, which is couple of Kms from Gandhi Maidan. First of all I went to Golghar , it is a dome shaped building built by Captain John Garstain for the storage of Dry Ration for the British Army. It has steep stairs . While climbing upstairs I was so tired that I counted the stairs while coming back which were 145 . Major portion of Patna can be viewed from the top of Golghar. After coming down I captured Golghar in my camera and walked towards Gandhi maidan .


View from Gholghar

View from Gholghar

View from Gholghar

Gandhi Maidan from Golghar

After walking few steps on the left side, Gandhi Museum is there.But I could not get a chance to see it due to the shortage of time.

Gandhi Museum

On the right side there is beautiful park for kids by the name Shaheed Peer Ali Khan Park.

Shaheed Peer Ali Khan Park

Across the road there was a large circular Park known as Gandhi Maidan It was used by East India Company to put temporary shelters for the soldiers. Now it is used for political rallies & exhibitions / fares. On one side of the park there is a tall building by the name of Biscomaun building. On the top of the building , revolving restaurant Pind Balluchi is there. It is first revolving restaurant in Eastern India. It is situated on 18th floor.

View of Biscomaun building from Gholghar

Gandhi Maidan

On the other side of the Gandhi Maidan there is Kargil Chowk. It is built to commemorate the soldiers who sacrificed their lives in Kargil war.

Kargil Chowk

Kargil Chowk

After having my dinner I searched some of the historical places on Internet. Interestingly all the places were on the same route , Ashok Rajpath.

Next day I finished my work and left to explore more about Patna. The best way to visit Patna’s historical places is by Auto. Although the name of the road is Ashok Rajpath , but it is very congested. My route map is given below :-

Gandhi Maidan – 04 Kms – Pattar ki Masjid – 02 Kms – Gaighat – 01 Kms – Badi Patan Devi Temple – 02 Kms – Paderi ki Hawali – 02 Kms – Patna Sahib – 500 mtrs. – Choti Patan Devi Temple. To cover this 12 kms , I took approx 04 hours.

From Gandhi Maidan , Pattar ki Masjid was about 4 kms & I took almost 20 minutes to reach there. As its name suggests the structure of Pathar Ki Masjid is built of stones in 1621. I met one Mawlvi , he informed me that this mosque is 400 years old & built by Pervez Shah, the elder brother of Shah Jahan and the first Mughal prince who made Bihar his residence. This Masjid is also known by various names such as Saif Khan’s Mosque, Chimni Ghat Mosque and Sangi Masjid. As I was refrained to go inside the mosque , I just bowed my head and returned .

Pattar ki Masjid

Two kms ahead I landed Gaighat beside river Ganga . There we saw Mahatma Gandhi Setu, the bridge over the river Ganges connecting Patna and Hajipur , Darbangha. The length of the bridge is approx. 5.5 kms, It is world longest bridge over river. Mahatma Gandhi Setu stands on forty piers.For 5- 10 minutes I just stood beside the river Ganga , I could see only water all around, there was no end of it , I captured some pictures of Sethu (bridge) & river Ganga & proceeded further towards my next destination Badi Patan Devi temple.

River Ganga - Gaighat

Mahatma Gandhi Setu

Badi Patan Devi temple is one of the Sid Peeth. It is a holy place for Hindu devotees. The temple enshrines the black stone idols of Goddess Kali, Goddess Lakshmi, GoddessSaraswati who once protected Putraka, who was the founder of Pataliputra in a standing posture. It is said that when sati, the wife of siva,gave up her life in the yajna started by her father and shiva was carrying her body to Kailash, her pat (thighs) fell here.

Badi Patan Devi Temple

Badi Patan Devi Temple

Badi Patan Devi Temple

Badi Patan Devi Temple

After offering pooja we proceeded further for 2 kms to visit Paderi ki Havali , also known as St Mary”s Church, it is the oldest church in Bihar, when Roman Catholics were arrived in Bihar. The foundation stone was laid on Oct. 18th, 1772 & completed on Dec. 08th, 1779. The church is seventy feet in length, forty feet wide and fifty feet in height. The magnificent monument was designed by Tirreto, the venetian architect who came from Calcutta. The church has association with Mother Teresa who completed her apprenticeship in nursing from the church.

Paderi ki Havali

Paderi ki Havali

Next destination was Patana Sahib , birth place of Guru Govind Singh which is about 2 kms from Paderi ki Haveli , I will write a separate detailed post on Patna Sahib.

Just behind the Patna Sahib Gurdwara one lane goes left where Choti Patan Devi temple is situated. There are three statues of Goddess Kali, Goddess Lakshmi, GoddessSaraswati same as Badi Patan devi.

Choti Patan Devi

Choti Patan Devi

Choti Patan Devi

Choti Patan Devi

After visiting all these places I went back to Hotel. By the time I reached Hotel it was 4.00 PM , I had my Tea & thought of visiting Mahavir Temple which is situated just out side the Patna Junction, From our Hotel – Smarat International it was just at a walking distance. I walked down towards the temple. This multistory temple is dedicated to lord Hanuman. From the top floor of the temple one can see the magnificent view of near by areas. On the first floor of the temple there is a glass cube which contains 24 kg stone floating on water, which was used for Ram Setu (Bridge) to reach Lanka.

Mahavir Temple

Mahavir Temple

Main Road Gate - Mahavir Temple

View from Top Floor - Mahavir Temple

View of Patna Station from Top floor - Mahavir Temple

Circle out side Patna Station - view from Mahavir Temple

Under construction Park view (Bhudha Smriti Park ) from Mahavir Temple

IInd Floor - Mahavir Temple

Floating stone - Ist floor - Mahavir Temple

The trustees of Mahavir temple also run a cancer Hospital, Mahavir cancer Hospital in Patna.

Mahavir Cancer Hospital

By the end of the day my legs were shivering because of tiredness. There are some other worth visiting places which I could not explore due to shortage of time. These places were :-

Patna Planetarium – one of the largest planetariums in Asia.

Kumhrar – Archeological site, explore the ancient ruins of Pataliputra.

Patna Museum

Patna Zoo

The main delicacy in Bihar is Litti – Chokha. Litti is a ball of wheat flour stuffed with chana sattu & chokha is mashed potato with salt & Indian spices.

A new park, Bhudha Smriti Park is being developed near Patna Railway station on Fraser Road.

Bhudha Smriti Park

There is no detailed post on Patna in Ghumakkar till now , from tourist point of view I tried to put as much as information as I could. If you like the post kindly leave your comments.



  • Mukesh Bhalse says:

    Dear Mahesh,

    Very good post supported by nice pictures. I have never been to Patna, but while going through your post i was feeling as i were in Patna alongwith you.

    I am surprised knowing you enjoy travelling your official visits too. How do you manage to satisfy your tourism urge even with tiresome and monotonous official visits. How do you manage time for the same. How true somebody said: Where there is a will there is a way. Hats off to you.


    • Mahesh Semwal says:

      Dear Mukesh,

      Thanks for liking the post !!!!!!!!!

      It does not happen every time. As this was my first visit to Patna & I was not aware how much time it will be going to take to finish the work. Couple of the places were very close to Patna Medical collage. Other historical places were also on one route – Ashok Rajpath , I took hardly 3 -4 hours to visit those places.

      If you get the opportunity than its better to grab it, same I did. :-)

      Thanks for your sweet words.

  • Sanjay Singh says:

    Dear Mahesh,

    While I am the resident of Bihar, I have never felt such type of touring places of Patna. Great job done. this is really a eye-opener for the officials of Bihar – By promoting tourism, Bihar can simply improve his image in front of the outsiders.

    Once again thanks mahesh – for providing very interesting stories & photographs of Patna.


  • Onil Gandhi says:

    thanks to laloo and his group of politicians I had a very different frame of patna …. but NOW a beautiful realty dawns….what about us ghumakkar cum foodies???

  • Patna is looking Patliputra now……..

  • aurojit says:

    Hi Mahesh,

    A great post, elaborating upon the requisite details in your typical style.

    It is a perfect ‘Tourist Guide to Patna’.

    Litti chokha is a favourite term in Bongland, relished as much as laughed at. My personal favourite.

    The stone in Mahavir Temple was intriguing.

    Even in seventeenth century, Patna was an important stopover on route from Delhi/Agra through UP to Kolkata – through water route over Ganges.

    Very interesting post, highly informative. Thanks fo the same.


    • Mahesh Semwal says:

      I am glad Dada that you liked the post !!!!!!!!!!!!

      We all heard about the floating stones which were used for Ram Setu , but never seen before visiting Mahavir Temple.

      Once again Thanks for calling this post as a ” Tourist Guide “.

  • Roopesh says:

    Great post about Patna which is known generally for its notoriety. However, from the pictures it looks like any other bustling town with even a revolving restaurant! Eager to visit Patna some time.

    • Mahesh Semwal says:

      Thanks Roopesh for your appreciation !!!!!!!!!!!!

      Other than Patna , Gaya , Nalanda & Vishali is worth visiting place.

  • Sahil says:

    Hi Mr. Mahesh ,

    I have never been to Patna , but thanks for taking me there. Pics are really nice.


  • Mahesh Semwal says:

    Thanks Sahil for liking the post.

  • Nidi... says:

    Your post truly shows that you love your small trip to Patna……
    Being resident of Patna I would like to ask you for another trip and have a close look of other places as well. Patna zoo, Gurudwara and Planetarium are some more places. Nalanda, Pawapuri, Bodh Gaya, Rajgir are few more visiting places which require for a week tour.

    Thanks for placing these pictures and showing a positive image of Bihar to other people. This does increase the tourism..

    • Mahesh Semwal says:

      Dear Nidi ,

      Thanks for your kind words.

      I have been to Gurdwara (Patna Sahib).

      Definitely I will make a plan with family to visit Patna, Gaya , Nalnda & Vaishali.

  • Mukesh Bhalse says:

    Dear Mahesh Ji,
    Me alongwith my family (My wife and 2 kids) have planned to visit Bhopal-Hyderabad-Srisailam(Jyotirling) -Tirupati-Kanchipuram-Chennai-Bhopal from 17.10.2010 to 24.10.2010, train reservation is already done. I am attaching herewith the itinerary for your review. I request you to kindly spare few minutes for me and review my plan and provide your valuable suggestions so as to enable me make this trip more enjoyable.

    Tour Planning Bhopal-Hyderabad-Srisailam-Tirupati-Chennai-Bhopal

    1)Start at Sunday (By AP Sampark Kranti Express)

    Train Time Table from Bhopal to Hyderabad

    Train Tr. No. Time Kms Hrs
    AP Sampark Kranti Express 2708 17:55-09:45 972 16

    2) Getting at Hyderabad at 09:45 AM (Monday)
    3) Move to Srisailam same day and reach there in the evening and perform Pooja, Abhishek etc.)
    4) Stay Srisailam Monday, Tuesday & Wednesday noon.
    5) From Srisailam (Wednesday) take Bus for Tirupati
    6) Bus Timings from Srisailam to Tirupati (425 Kms) 11:00 AM, 01:00 PM & 08:30 PM.
    7) Reach at Tirupatiat Wednesday / Thursday.
    8) Stay at Tirupati Thursday.
    9) Move to Chennai Friday morning (100 km/ 2 Hrs) by bus.
    10) Stay at Chennai on Friday (See Marina Beach etc.)
    11) Start Saturday Lucknow Express 6093 at 05:15 AM

    Train Time Table from Chennai to Bhopal

    Train Tr. No. Time Kms Hrs
    Lucknow Express 6093 05:15-10:05 1506 29

    12) Reach Bhopal on Sunday at 10:05 AM.
    13) Start from Bhopal to Indore and then for Home.

    Some of my queries are:
    1. Can we see some important places in hyderabad in 3-4 hours?
    2. From Srisailam to Tirupati there are 3 buses @ 11AM, @01 PM and @ 8PM journey is 11 hrs. trains are available from kurnool town (Venkatadri Express etc.). Shall i get reservation of train or bus will be ok.
    3. We will be reaching Tirupati on Wed’day/ Thursday i.e. 20/11 October, and i haven’t got any reservation for accomodation & darshan, Will we get both easily?

    Please reply with your views and if needed please enquire with your circle if they have visited these places.

    Waiting for your reply.


    Mukesh Bhalse
    Indore (MP)

  • Mahesh Semwal says:

    In Hydrabad you can visit Hussain sagar Lake , Lumbani Park & Charminar in 3-4 hours.

    I never have been to Tirupati so not much idea about the Tirupati.

  • Ram Dhall says:

    Thanks Mahesh ji for taking us on a virtual tour of Patna.

    Very interesting to know the history of Patliputra.

    Shall await your write up on one of the most revered gurdwaras – Patna Sahib, a dream destination for many of us.

    • Mahesh Semwal says:

      Dear Sir,

      When ever I publish my new post , I always look forward to see the comments of some people, you are one of them, waiting for Nadan’s & Prof. Sab’s comments.

      I am glad to know that you liked the post.

      Working on Patna Sahib , try to publish by next week.

  • VJ says:

    Hi Mahesh,

    Thanks for sharing wonderful details… I had visited Patna in 1998 when I was in 9th for some quiz competition and had very bad experience there… From your description and photographs, I think we missed many things there…

    I remember Gol ghar, which is near to science museum….

    + VJ :)

  • Mahesh Semwal says:

    Thanks VJ,

    Its my pleasure that you liked the post.

  • Manish Khamesra says:

    Very interesting description of Patna Mahesh.

    The first picture of Patna Rly station gives an interesting start of the tour. It forces readers like me to click on the story to read more and the story that follows is a delight. I can see shades of Ram as well :-)

    It gives a panoramic view of the city. And yes, the massive Golghar impresses. I am also happy to see the vast expanse of the Ganga. It looks endless.

    Picture of II nd floor Mahavir temple is very beautiful as well. Though the rly station in background looks an eye sore.

    Kudos to you for criticizing us for spitting tobaccos and using every avaliable space as public loo. I know it will take time, but sincerely wish that such strong criticism makes some people to think and change their habits.

    In total, a great travel article on Patna. Hope to see your post on Patna Sahib soon.

    • Mahesh Semwal says:

      Thanks Manish for liking the post. Not even Patna but the entire Bihar is a Historical Place. I request all the Ghumakkars that when ever they get time , visit Patna, Vaishali , Nalanda & Budh Gaya.

      Working on Patna Sahib post , try to publish in this week only.

  • Mahesh Khugsal says:

    Dear Mahesh,
    With your Photographic Description, Patna seems to be very Interesting place & with your explanation One must visit Patna once.
    You are really a very good Travel writer & Guide. After I have gone through your Char Dham Yatra Tour details, now I am eagerly looking for post.
    Even one has 2 -3 hours waiting time there are lot of places around Railway Station one can go and visit.
    Thanks a lot for the Information provided.
    Warm Regards
    Mahesh Khugsal

    • Mahesh Semwal says:

      Tons of Thanks to you Mahesh for your Golden words.

      Not only Patna but I request to visit Budh Gaya , Vaishali , Nalanda beside Patna.

      Once again Thanks for going through the post & liking it.

  • nandanjha says:

    I am very late to the party. So I apologize profusely for the mammoth delay.

    I did read this story though and then read this again today so as to earn the privilege of commenting . First, a BIG Thank You, for writing such a beautiful story on Patna. All the years of neglect (about last 20 years) have created such a bad image of this city that a lot of us would rather sit at home even if someone offers us a free ride.

    Just like any other state in the new India, Bihar was going through at the normal development pace. In 1987, when my elder sister was getting married, our village was among the ‘electrified villages’. Its been 23 years, and the situation is almost same. Since then, the situations degraded vastly. Though Laloo comes to fore but even his predecessors were in the same league. Things have taken a bug U turn post Nitish and I hope that it carries on the current pace (highest among all states) of development.

    I am from Darbhanga and ‘North Bihar’ is altogether a different phenomenon. Education, farming and fish is what keeps this region busy. The real politik is central Bihar (Patna, Gaya, Badh and so on) and our connection to Patna was almost zero before my father got transferred to this city. He worked for Min I & B and that started my trips to Patna. Our first abode was at ‘Ashok Rajpath’ and I must have spent so many full evenings at Gandhi Maidan. It has its own eco-system, from chiniya-badaam to shila-jeet. Let me know come back to your story.

    I guess even after so many visits, your story is a great resource for me when I visit Patna next. You are so right about your observations around ‘multi faith co-existence’. If I am not wrong, there has not been a single riot in Patna for last whatever years the city is in existence. I totally agree with you about ‘civic sense’ / ‘hygiene’. I guess these are the off-shoots of development (the lack of it), education (the lack of it) and so on.

    The mohan (in lack of a better word in English) of Ganges is indeed a sight to watch. Thanks for great pics. This is the first story on Patna at Ghumakkar and I hope that this motivates people like me, who do pass through Patna, to visit these places.

    Tourism ministry of Bihar should promote this story :-)

    Brilliant work Mahesh. I am again sorry for taking so long. Look fwd to your post on Patna sahib.

    • Mahesh Semwal says:

      Dear Nandan,

      It is better to be late than never.

      Thanks for going through the post & appreciating it.

      If we go back to the history , Bihar was a big source of Education (Nalanda) , our politicians are totally responsible for today’s situation in Bihar . As you said the current situation is improving day by day & I hope it may continue in future also.

      Only after going through the history of Bihar , I would like to visit along with my family to Budh Gaya , Vaishali & Nalanda in near future along with Patna.

      My post on Patna Sahib is already ready, I was waiting for your response & comment only, as being a native of Bihar, you can share your insight view of Bihar in a better way.

      Patna Sahib post will be published by tomorrow.

  • JNATH says:

    Do we now take this modern Patna back to Patliputra? I am glad that the CM,Nitish,has REJECTED LKAdvanis idea of renaming Patna back to Patliputra.Lets not live on our century old laurels.Hope your”Incredible Patna” Post takes it to the future,and not backwards?

  • Anshu says:

    Seems this was a recent visit and you forgot to visit Patna Saheb. And Bodh gaya which is 5 hours away from the capital city of Patna.

    • Mahesh Semwal says:

      I was on official visit , hence not able to visit Bodh Gaya but I have been to Patna Saheb. Bodh gaya & Vaishali may be next time with family.

  • Manish Kumar says:

    ???? ??? ???? ??? ???? ??? ?? ????? ?? ??? ????? ?? ???? ??? ???? ????? ?? ??????? ???? ???? ?? ???????? ??? ?????????? ????? ???? ??? ?? ??? ?? ???? ????? ???? ??? ?? ????? ?? ?? ????? ??? ???? ????? ???? ?? ????????? ???? ??? ???? ?? ?? ???? ??? ?? ?? ???? ????? ??? ?? ??? ????? ?? ?? ???????? ???? ???? ?? ???????????? ?? ???? ??? ???? ?? ???? ?? ??? ?????? ?????? ?? ??? ??? ?? ??? ?? ???? ??? ???? ?????? ??????? ????? ???????? ????????? ???

  • Prishu says:

    @ Jnath and those who oppose renaming of the city as Pataliputra:
    I think such a name would only help bring back the lost glory. It would be a step forward, not backwards as stated.

  • rajesh kumar says:


  • Mahesh Semwal says:

    Thanks Rajesh for your golden words & for your information which will be very useful for the follow Ghumakkars.

  • abhishek kumar singh says:

    mahesh ji
    thanks for showing the real patna to people ,it’s vry heartning to see the pics and the discriptive part, they are …jst awesome. i m resident of patna too. whtevr had been said abt bihar and especially patna as the crime capital of india, it has moved frm that . i wud lyk invite n encourage people to explore it’s beauty. one more place wch i wud lyk to mention is ‘sasaram’ , it has the tomb of sher shah suri.
    thanks again for all this

  • Mahesh Semwal says:

    Thanks @ Abhishek for liking the post !!!!!!

  • Hemant Dayal says:

    Visiting your website was a trip down the memory lane. I was born in Patna and grew up there till I left for Bombay to work and then to the U.S. after a few years. I don’t go to Patna that often, so looking at these pictures and reading about the town was a great experience. Thanks!

  • rajesh priya says:

    sirji main aapki taarif kin sabdo me karu,samajh nahi aata,english me bhi post kar sakta tha,par shayad wo feeling nahi paida hoti ,jo aapke lie mere dil me hua hai,kyunki main abhi pahli baar ,ghummakar par aaya hun,wo bhi lansdown ke tarkeshwar mandir ke baare me jaan ne ke lie aur aapka post mil gaya ,lansdown ke baare me,usi me patna par likha aapka ye post,marvelous hai. aapne baar bar bodh gaya,nalanda pawapuri ki charcha ki hai,lekin RAJGIR bhi hai, aur bahut hi sunder jagah hai,yahan great film director actor late dev anand ne jhony mera naam ki shuting ki thi. patna fir kabhi aaie to 1 2 din rah kar aur bachi jagho ko bhi dekh lijiyega ummeed hai wo sab bhi aapko bahut pasand aayegi. main bhi bahut ghumakkar hun,aur saal me 2 baar ghumne jarur jaata hun.

  • Mahesh Semwal says:

    Thanks for your kind words.

  • I am residence in Bihar Village. I like Patna city.

  • Shashi says:

    Incredible Bihar…

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