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Bihar

Bihar is a state/Union Territory of India.

Bihar is a state in eastern India. It is the 12th largest state in terms of geographical size at 38,202 sq mi (94,163 sq km) and third largest by population. Bihar lies mid-way between West Bengal in the east and Uttar Pradesh in the west. It is bounded by the country of Nepal to the north and by Jharkhand to the south. The Bihar plain is divided into two parts by the river Ganges which flows through the middle from west to east. The state of Jharkhand was carved out of Bihar in the year 2000. The state is divided into 09 divisions and 38 districts, for administrative purposes.

Patna is the capital city of Bihar. The central region of what is now known as Bihar was called Magadha in ancient days. Its capital Patna, then called Pataliputra, was the capital of the Mauryan empire which ruled over much of the Indian Subcontinent and extended as far as Iran and Afghanistan. Emperor Ashoka ruled between 273 BC and 232 BC was the most famous ruler of the Mauryan dynasty. Just north of Magadha across the river Ganges is the Vaishali region. It is here that the first republic of the lichchvis was established even before the Magadha empire reached its peak. Bihar remained an important place of power for about a thousand years.

This is due to the fact that Bihar was a center of power, learning and culture. It has been a cradle of Indian civilization and the birth place of two of the major religions that have emanated from India: Buddhism and Jainism. The first known republic, a state without a sovereign king, existed in this region more than two thousand years back. The tenth and the last Guru of Sikhism, Guru Gobind Singh was born in Patna. It was from Bihar that Mahatma Gandhi launched his pioneering civil-disobedience movement, Champaran Satyagraha.

Bihar is one of the oldest inhabited places in the world with an history that dates back as far as 3000 years. The rich culture and heritage of Bihar is evident from the many ancient monuments spread all over the state. In the earliest day, tourism in this state was purely based on educational tourism as Bihar was home of ancient universities like Nalanda University and Vikramasila University. Bihar has many sacred places of various religions like Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, Sikhism and Islam. Many tourist travel to Bihar to visit their pilgrimage. Mahabodhi Temple, a Buddhist shrine and UNESCO World Heritage Site is also situated in Bihar. Mahatma Gandhi Setu, Patna, is the longest river bridge in the world.

Bihar is a vast stretch of fertile plain. It is drained by the Ganges River, including its northern tributaries Gandak and Koshi, originating in the Nepal Himalayas and the Bagmati originating in the Kathmandu Valley that regularly flood parts of the Bihar plains. Bihar is mildly cold in the winter with the lowest temperatures being in the range from 4-10 °C. Winter months are December and January. It is hot in the summer with average highs around 35-40 °C. April to mid June are the hottest months. The monsoon months of June, July, August, and September see good rainfall. October, November, February, and March have a pleasant climate. Bihar has notified forest area of 6,764.14 sq km, which is 7.1% of its geographical area.

The economy of Bihar is largely service oriented, but it also has a significant agricultural base. The state also has a small industrial sector. Hindi and Urdu are the official languages of the state (recently Maithili is also included as one of the official languages of the state, although the usage of the language for official purposes is negligible), while the majority of the people speak one of the Bihari languages - Bhojpuri or Magadhi.