Being a regular reader (of news and stuff of social media, no books ha!), I happened to visit Quora. It is one of the best sites to pass your time on while grasping on some mind-blowing tales of history, politics and almost every topic under the sun.
So yesterday somebody asked me a question: What are the places in Bihar which are worth traveling and to be learned about?
Being from Bihar, this appeared to me as a great opportunity to repel some of the prejudices that are formed in the minds of the people regarding Bihar and its tourism. So here is the answer that I wrote on Quora:
If you are travelling to Bihar, I am sure you would visit the Ruins of Nalanda University (above). Most definitely you have it in your 'to visit' list. But if you take my opinion, then before going to this place you should go here:
This is Veer Kunwar Singh’s Memorial in Jagdishpur, Ara. Here you would see the inspirational story of an 80-year old man fighting against the mighty British for his land and his people. You would see the true Bihari spirit of fighting against suppression.
Again, with your preconceived mind, you would want to visit this famous Jain pilgrimage center commonly known as the Jal Mandir of Pawapuri. And surely you should visit it as most people would tell you about it.
But I am going to ask you to visit a place which most people would not tell you about.
This is the ancestral house of Jaya Prakash Narayan, or JP as he was famously known. This is located in the village of Sitab Diyara in Saran district. The house is now being converted into a Museum. Here you would come to know about a man who challenged the supreme authority that Indira Gandhi was at the time of Emergency in the '70s. The man who inspired students to join his movement and who threw Mrs. Gandhi out of power. It is places such as these that would inspire you to fight against all odds in your life.
Now moving further, people would also suggest you to visit various places in Patna like the Buddha Smriti Park, Gol Ghar, Bihar Museum etc. No doubt that you should visit these places but again, I have an advice for you. Before you visit them, you should go to the Tomb of Sher Shah Suri located in the city of Sasaram.
I think you would be interested to know about the man who, with his small kingdom and a small army, defeated Humayun and the Mughal army and sat on the throne of Delhi. Yes! This again is a place which introduces you to another fighting spirit.
There are many more places which are immensely interesting and full of tales of inspiration like this.
The next destination of yours should be the city of Munger. Currently the Yoga capital of the East, this city has witnessed history like no other. From being the Midlands of the Aryans to being the capital of Mir Qasim’s Riyasat to being the gun factory of the East, this city has seen it all. Surrounded by a lot of temples and even more by the tales of history, this is one of the tourist’s delight.
Now take a right turn from Munger to Gaya. When you are in Gaya, first of all you should visit Thishiuen-Tsang Memorial Hall.
This is the Tomb of Huan Tseng, the Chinese traveler who came to India. He was so impressed by the standard of education (Nalanda University) and ruling that when he got back to China, he wrote an entire book about it. You would definitely want to know more about him. And what better place than his own tomb!
And finally, after seeing all this, you must be tired. So, to find that inner peace of mind and solace, make sure that you reach the Mahabodhi Temple. Are you impressed? Well. you should be. Bihar is not just what you see through your TV or social media spectacles; it is much more, rather totally beyond that image.
But that’s not all. It was just Central and South Bihar. There is entire North that’s left to discuss. But we shall do that some other day.
For now, pack your bags, get your stuff ready and come visit this historic land of inspirations.