History of Patna

Situated on the banks of the river Ganges, the city of Patna is the capital of the state of Bihar and has a history which spans three millennia. The city is mentioned in accounts of the Greek scholar Megasthenes and in later accounts by Fa-Hien and Hieun-Tsang. Also known as Patliputra, the city has been associated with the mighty empires of the Mauryas and the Guptas.

Home to the earliest democracy in Vaishali, the city of Patna has been associated with various religions, like Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism. It has been graced by Lord Buddha, Lord Mahavira and also by the birth of tenth guru of the Sikhs, Guru Govind Singh at Takht Shri Patna Sahib.

Close to the city of Patna is the ruins of the famous Nalanda University which was considered to be the fountainhead of the spring of knowledge and wisdom in the ancient times and attracted pupils and scholars from Korea, Japan, China, Tibet, Indonesia, Persia and Turkey. Another university which was a centre of Buddhist learning was developed at Vikramshila.

The ancient city of Patna was home to some of the greatest minds of that time. One of them was Aryabhata who wrote the treatise ‘Aryabhatiya’, which contains several works on astronomy, algebra and trigonometry. He is remembered as giving the place-value system to the world and introducing the concept of zero to the world. Chanakya, the writer of ‘Arthashashtra’ and ‘Neetishashtra’ treatises on economics and politics, played an important role in the establishment of the Mauryan Empire and is also known as the ‘Indian Machiavelli’ though his ideas predate Machiavelli’s.

Patna has many buildings which showcase elements of Afghani, Mughal and British architecture. While the Padre-ki-Haveli is the highest watershed of European architecture in Patna, Golghar is one of the most outstanding buildings of British India which makes use of the design of the stupas. It is a massive granary constructed for the British army after the famine of 1770. There are tombs and mosques which showcase Mughal architecture. The Patna Museum highlights the Indo-Saracenic architecture.

In short, Patna is a city with great historical importance and this has a deep impact on culture and education in present times.

This article is based on the following sources: