Ruins of Pataliputra

Things To Do in Patna

There are many places you can visit in Patna. Some of them are:

1. Patna Museum

Behind its impressive and freshly renovated exterior, this museum houses a splendid collection of Mauryan and Gupta stone sculptures. With period weapons, including Humayun’s dagger, and a gallery of wonderful Rajasthani miniatures on display, the place is a must visit. The fabulous collection of Tibetan antiques and thangkas (cloth paintings) brought to India by the scholar and traveler Rahul Sankrityayan in the early 20th century are also on display.

Patna-Museum

Patna Museum

Upstairs in a locked gallery (an extra 500) you can glimpse a tiny casket believed to contain some of Buddha’s ashes that were retrieved from Vaishali. In another gallery is a motley collection of stuffed animals, including tigers, a large gharial (a type of crocodile), a bizarre three-eared and eight-legged goat kid, and a wombat.

2. Golghar

For a dome with a view, climb this massive, bulbous granary, built by the British army in 1786. The idea behind its construction was to avoid a repeat of the 1770 famine; fortunately it was never required. Its dual spiraling staircases (250 steps each) were designed so that workers could climb up one side and down the other.

The viewing gallery on top of the monument affords views  of the city and Ganges. Golghar is a short walk west of Gandhi Maidan, a large, messy park with a couple of sights located south of the river.

3. Takshila

Hotel Chanakya in Birchand Patel Path has two good restaurants. One of them, the Takshila exudes the ambiance of the North-West Frontier with its solid furniture and exposed brick decor. The specialty is meat-heavy Mughlai, Afghan and tandoori dishes. Vegetarians, try the Diwan-i-Handi, a creamy mixed-vegetable masala with fluffy butter naan (only a half portion is needed).

4. Qila House (Jalan Museum)

This intriguing and eclectic private museum overflows with antiques ranging from elaborate Mughal-period silverware and weaponry to the wooden bed of Napoleon III. Look for Marie Antoinette’s Svres porcelain and the Crown Derby dinner service printed bold and garish for the failing eyes of King George III. To visit,  do telephone ahead and provide a photocopy of your passport identity and visa pages.

5. Khuda Bakhsh Oriental Library

This fascinating library, founded in 1900, contains a renowned collection of Arabic and Persian manuscripts, Mughal and Rajput paintings, and even the Quran inscribed in a book just 25mm wide. A significant exhibit is Nadir Shah’s sword, perhaps the very weapon he raised at Delhi’s Sunehri Mosque in 1739 to order the massacre of the city’s residents.

6. Ruins of Pataliputra

These historic ruins are unfortunately often flooded, but excavations of this ancient capital have found evidence from the periods of Ajatasatru (491-459 BC), Chandragupta (321-297 BC) and Ashoka (274-237 BC). The ruins/ponds are surrounded by well cared for gardens and a museum that details the site’s historic past. Take a day out to visit these beautiful ruins, once a hallmark of the long lost culture of the Maurya dynasty.

Ruins of Pataliputra

Ruins of Pataliputra

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