Patna

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View of Patna city from the top of Golghar.
Plan of Pataliputra compared to present-day Patna

Patna is the capital and largest city of the state of Bihar in India. 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, Sunga, Gupta and Pala empires.

Quotes[edit]

  • The competitive advantage of Patna lies in its being the state capital and its central location. It is the centre for all higher order services in the state education, health and the political centre... Patna’s location on the banks of the River Ganga ensures that there is abundant water and fertile soil in the region.
    • Urban, in "City Development Plan (2010-30), Patna"
  • As a busy capital, Patna serves as a major transportation hub for the region.
    • Michelle Decary, Kory Goldberg, in "Along the Path: The Meditator's Companion to the Buddha's Land", P.200
  • Commercial establishments within the city are mainly lined along the arterial and major roads and there is extensive mixed land use of commercial and residential use throughout the city.
    • Urban, in "City Development Plan (2010-30), Patna"
  • Legend ascribes the origin of Patna to a 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.
    • Nancy Nancy, in "Thesis synopsis-Patna: A historic riverine city more".
Enlightened Buddha with disciples
  • Towards the end of his life, the Buddha went to visit Pataliputra...thousands of people gathered at the hall to hear the Dhamma directly from the Buddha...the city folk came to see him off and in the Buddha’s honour, named the gate through which he left “Gotama’s Ghat” (Gotamudvara) and the ferry landing that he used to cross the river “Gotama Ferry Landing” (Gotamatitta).
  • The Buddha then set off to continue his journey... he turned back to look at the city, and shared with Ananda a prediction that it would grow into a great metropolis, but then fall into ruin caused by fire floods, and war (which in fact did happen). Several years after the Buddha’s death King Ajatasatru moved his capital from Rajagar to the humble Pataligama (Patali village), which blossomed into the prosperous Pataliputra (Patali City). This city remained a capital for almost 1000 years and reached the apex during the Maurya dynasty led first by Chandragupta and later his grandson, the benevolent Ashoka.
    • Michelle Decary, Kory Goldberg, in "Along the Path: The Meditator's Companion to the Buddha's Land", p. 187
  • The history and tradition of Patna go back to the earliest dawn of civilization. The original name of Patna was Pataliputra or Patalipattan and its history makes a start from the century 600 B.C. The name Patna has undergone many changes at its earliest stages like Pataligram, Kusumpur, Patliputra, Azimabad etc., ultimately terminating to the present one. Chandragupta Maurya made it his capital in the 4th century A.D
  • Historically it [Patna] went back to antiquity and was the capital of Mauryan Empire at the time of Alexander…centrally located on the south bank of the Ganges in central northern India. It was major trading center and wealthy. Gautama Buddha passed through Patna in 490 BC. At the time of Alexander, Chandragupta Maurya ruled an empire from the Bay of Bengal to Afghanistan.
    • George Barclay, Jr., in The Son of Man, SaoshyantiUniverse, 27 October 2010, p. 211
Ajatashatru’s son had moved his capital from Rajagriha to Pataliputra and this status was maintained during the reign of the Mauryas and the Guptas. Ashoka the Great, administered his empire from here. Chandragupta Maurya and Samudragupta, valiant warriors, took Pataliputra as their capital...
  • Ajatashatru’s son had moved his capital from Rajagriha to Pataliputra and this status was maintained during the reign of the Mauryas and the Guptas. Ashoka the Great, administered his empire from here. Chandragupta Maurya and Samudragupta, valiant warriors, took Pataliputra as their capital. It was from here Chandragupta sent forth his army to fight the Greeks of the western frontier and Chandragupta Vikramaditya repelled the Shakas and the Huns from here.
  • It was there [Patna] that the Greek ambassador Megasthenes stayed during the reign of Chandragupta Maurya. The famous traveler Fa-Hien in the 3rd century and Hiuen-Tsang in the 7th century inspected the city. Many noted scholars like Kautilya stayed here and works like ‘Arthashastra’ were written from this place. This city was the fountainhead of the spring of knowledge and wisdom in ancient times.
  • The Chinese Scholar Fa Hein who took Buddhism back to China in 400 BC described Patna in his dairy as the greatest city of earth. It was capital to the Mauryas and Gupta India empires.
    • George Barclay, Jr., in "The Son of Man", p. 211
  • In the middle of 16th century, Sher Shah Suri built a fort on the banks of the Ganga understanding the strategic location of the city and importance of the port. The place has continued to be a significant trading centre during Sultanate period and flourished during the rule of Mughals and Nawabs of Bengal.
    • Nancy Nancy, in "Thesis synopsis-Patna: A historic riverine city more".
  • Akbar himself came to capture the city, the downfall of which completed the conquest of Bengal. Then came the great days in which Patna was the center of political life in Bengal. Azim-us-Shan, the grandson of Aurangzeb held his court there, and gave to the city his own name – Azimabad, which it bears in works such as Seir-i-Mutaqherin. It is said writes O ‘Malley, “that the young prince aspired to make the city a second Delhi, but this ambition was cut short by the patricidal war which broke out on the death of Aurangzeb, in the course of which he met his death (1712) by being swallowed up alive by quicksand.
    • Walter Kelly Firminger, ed.(1909), in "The Diaries of Three Surgeons of Patna - 1763"
City of Patna, on the River Ganges, 19th-century painting.
  • It was a walled city and the European trading companies settled outside the fort area all along the river front. The city developed in three phases during the European influence and the British rule: First along the river front, Next on the southern side of Maidan to railway station and Third after being made the capital of the province of Bihar along the Bailey road, the new capital area.
    • Nancy Nancy, in "Thesis synopsis-Patna: A historic riverine city more".
  • It was a major port on the Ganges before the British and Calcutta. After the Battle of Bihar (1765), the East India Company took charge and installed a puppet Raj, and Patna became capital of Bihar Province under the British Raj.
    • Nancy Nancy, in "Thesis synopsis-Patna: A historic riverine city more".
  • They [British] built their residences and residential quarters, churches, schools, clubs, institutions and official buildings. One of the major intervention in the city was development of the Race course the present day Gandhi Maidan, in the central part of the city. These are significant heritage components of the Institutional area along the river front today. They are notonaly historically important but also form the prominent Institutional, Public-Semi-Public space of the city continuous in use from more than 200 years.
    • Nancy Nancy, in "Thesis synopsis-Patna: A historic riverine city more".
The bridge across the Ganges River.
  • Patna’s biggest break as entrepot came with the consolidation of Mughal control over Bengal – particularly with the final suppression of the Pathan chiefs of Eastern Bengal in 1612... the city also served as an outlet for several commodities produced in its hinterland...By 1620 Patna was being described as the “chefest mart towne of all Bengala".
    • R. Huges and J. Parker, quoted in “Merchants, Politics, and Society in Early Modern India: Bihar, 1733-1820”, p. 15
The modern city.
  • Situated on the south bank of the Ganges River, this crowded, dirty, and noisy state capital has lost all resemblance of its past glory. It is difficult to imagine that modern Patna was once the largest city in the world and the seat of India’s greatest empire from the 6th century BCE to the 4th century CE. A series of fires, floods and wars eventually destroyed most of Pataliputra, and all that now remains of the past are the ruins of a large pillared assembly hall at Kumrhar Archeological Park (6 km from the railway station), and some fantastic art in the Patna Museum.
    • Michelle Decary, Kory Goldberg, in "Along the Path: The Meditator's Companion to the Buddha's Land'", P p. 198
  • Patna Museum, Rajput fashioned, was built by the [[British in 1917 and now houses a collection of poorly labeled Buddhist statues from the past 2000 years. The museum’s marvelous collection of stone and metal statues and painyings of the Buddha and the bodhistvas demonstrate how the Dhamma had inspired beauty and creativity throughout the centuries.In addition to the art work, the museums most prized possession is a relic casket containing what is believed to be the portion of the Buddha’s ashes obtained by Lichhavi rulers after the Buddh;as passing.
    • Michelle Decary, Kory Goldberg, in "Along the Path: The Meditator's Companion to the Buddha's Land'", P p. 198
  • The casket is kept in a separate room making it possible to meditate in the relic’s presence with out any outside disturbance...Behind a glass window, on a raised platform, sits a small soapstone casket, with its contents neatly laid out beside it a copper coin, a shell, two glass beads and a small gold plate (the ashes are still inside the casket). We gaze silently at the casket for a few moments and then tell the guard we want to meditate. It is not every day you get a private audience with the Buddha's remains.
    • Michelle Decary, Kory Goldberg, in "Along the Path: The Meditator's Companion to the Buddha's Land'", P.199
Emerald Buddha
  • Kumhrar, located in the city of Patna, is the site that consists of the archaeological excavations of Patliputra and marks the ancient capital of Ajatshatru, Chandragupta and Ashoka. The remains of the ancient city of Patilputra have been uncovered in Kumhrar, south of Patna. It is six km from the railway station, on the Kankarbagh Road. Excavations here have revealed relics of four continuous periods from 600 BC to 600 AD. An important find is the 80-pillared huge hall of the Mauryan dynasty dating back to 400 - 300 BC.
  • Harmandir Takht is regarded as one of the holiest of the five takhts, Standing in the Chowk area of old Patna. The place once known as Kucha Farrukh Khan is now known as Harmandir Gali. The Sikhs consider the city of Patna as particularly holy, as the tenth guru of the Sikhs was born here. It was here that Guru Gobind Singh was born in the year 1666 and spent his early years before moving to Anandpur. Besides being the birthplace of Guru Gobind Singh, Patna was also honoured by visits from Guru Nanak as well as Guru Tegh Bahadur.
    • Spots, in "Tourist Spots"
  • Padri Ki Haveli, a Church constructed in 1772, is the oldest Christian shrine of Bihar, and was designed and completed by Venetian architect Tirreto from Calcutta. In the quarrel between the English traders in Patna and Nawab Mir Kasim, the ruler of Bengal, on 25 June 1763, the Haveli was pillaged by the Nawab's soldiers for its treasures. The ancient records were destroyed and burnt. The structure was also attacked during the first war of Independence, in 1857. Today, the monument stands as an architectural wonder with intricate details which can be seen in few other churches of India.
  • Agam Kuan (Unfathomable well) is one of the most important early historic archaeological remains in Patna…which is believed to be a part of the legendary hall created by Ashoka.
    • Spots, in "Tourist Spots"
  • ...since Patna college was founded, Patna has been the most important place of education in Bihar; and it is now a university town, the acknowledged headquarters of educational activity in the Province. Moreover, in 1912, with the inauguration of new Province of Bihar and Orissa, Patna was restored to its old station of a Provincial Capital.
  • Similar inscriptions are known to exist in some mosques which are still in use. But they cannot be copied because they have been covered with plaster. Years ago, Dr. Bloch had seen an inscription in the Patthar-kî-Masjid at Patna, the capital of Bihar, stating that the materials for the mosque were obtained from a Hindu temple at Majhauli (now in the Gorakhpur District of Uttar Pradesh).11 The temple was demolished in AH 1036 (AD 1626) by Prince Parwiz, a son of the Mughal emperor Jahãngîr. “I made the car stop,” writes Syed Hasan Askari, “and took my friends to the upper part of the historic Patthar-ki-Masjid. One of my American friends was an Arabist, but there was nothing for him to read, for the demoralised custodians had the inscription plastered with cement, considering that it contained provocative references.”12 Some friends of this author who visited the Jãmi‘ Masjid at Sambhal in the Moradabad District of Uttar Pradesh had the same experience when they expressed a desire to have a look at the inscriptions. This mosque was built in AD 1526 by an officer of Bãbur on the site and from the materials of the local Hari Mandir.
    • S.R. Goel in Shourie, A., & Goel, S. R. (1993). Hindu temples: What happened to them. Vol. II

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