The birthplace of Buddhism in india, Bihar occupies an important place in india s cultural and spiritual history .Siddhartha Gautama – the Buddha – spent much of his life here and attained enlightenment beneath a bodhi tree at bodhgaya –making it the most significant Buddhist piligrimage site in the world Little more than a rural village , bodhgaya is peppered with international monasteries and attracts devotees from around the world to meditate and soak up the powerful ambience . Following a trail of ancient and modern Buddhist sites you can visit the extensive ruins of Nalanda , one of the ancient worlds first universities ,the many shrines and temples at nearby rajgir and the great Ashokan pillar at vaishali .
Prince Siddhartha Gautama arrived in bihar during the 6th century BC and spent many years here ,before leaving enlightened as the Buddha . The life of mahavira a contemporary of Buddha and the founder of Jainism, was also entwined with bihar . In the 4 th century BC after Chandergupta Maurya seized power of the Magadha kingdom and its capital pataliputra (now patna ), he expanded to the Indus valley and created the first great Indian empire .His grandson ,Ashoka succeeded him and ruled the maurya empire from pataliputra ,which is rumoured to have been the largest city in the world at that time .Emperor ashoka later embraced Buddhism ,building stupas monuments and his famous Ashokan pillars throughout northern india notably at sarnath ( U P ) and sanchi ( M P ).
The airport is 7 km ,west of the city centre .