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The Stereotyped State

Bihar Diwas is celebrated to commemorate the date on which the province came into existence during British rule. Bihar was carved out as an independent state from Bengal in 1912. I remember the reactions of my acquaintances on their Bihar identity, they all seemed to be a little hesitant and that reluctancy is hard to hide. 

Dr Richa, a famous Sports Physiotherapist says, “ Bihar is stigmatised. Its beauty, its people, its culture, everything has been downplayed. The media and movies also portray Biharis in a bad light so it all contributes to that image that is in the society.”

“The state affair is such in the state that the place with the first residential university is now experiencing a massive brain drain. We ignore all the beauty that lies in the state and often get swayed by the stereotyped discourse.’

“ I always experience a sense of bewilderment in people whenever I tell them that I am from. There is a flood of judgements and stereotypes in the eyes of those people. It is hard to hide that awkwardness.” Ritu Sharma says. Ritu Sharma is a working professional in a big consultancy firm in Mumbai who is originally from Bihar. 

“I know it is underdeveloped. We have poverty and a high crime rate, but these are the things the government should work upon and there are many such states. But our state is beautiful too, there are so many beautiful destinations and places people are not aware of,” she adds. 

So, let’s talk about those places and destinations which wouldn’t make it to your travel plans because of the lack of awareness or you wouldn’t think that it would exist in Bihar. You know why? The answer is — a stereotype.

GURPA HILLS, GAYA

A small village, Gurpa in Bihar forms an essential part of the Buddhist pilgrimage site in India. After the death of Buddha, Maha Kassapa succeeded him. A steep path takes you to the base of a cliff with a narrow crack, which takes you to Gurpa in Bihar. The magnificent view from the hilltop and the soothing atmosphere is perfect for meditation. 

RUINS OF NALANDA

The next in line is a UNESCO World Heritage site — the Ruins of Nalanda. The Ruins of Nalanda is an exciting exploration trip which is also a significant destination on the Buddhist tourism circuit. As soon as you enter Nalanda University, the massive covers of the well-maintained gardens welcome you. Strolling around one of the world’s first residential universities is enthralling. Built by the Gupta emperors in 450 AD, the University complex could house 10,000 students and 2000 teachers.

SHER GARH FORT, ROHTAS 

The Hill Fort of Sher-Garh which is lying unattended for more than 400 years on the eastern banks of the river Durgawati is also known as ‘Badal Garh.’ It is a natural hill fort situated about 32kms south-west of the town of Sasaram and north-west of Rohtasgarh Fort on the bank of the River Sone.

ASHOKAN PILLAR

Ashoka, the third emperor of the Mauryan dynasty who ruled from c. 279 B.C.E. — 232 B.C.E., was the first leader to accept Buddhism and was a major patron of Buddhist art. One of Ashoka’s first artistic programs was to erect the pillars that are now scattered throughout what was the Mauryan empire. One of the first pillars was discovered in the sixteenth century. The size of the pillars varies from 40 to 50 feet in height. The pillars are carved out from two types of stones — one for the shaft and another for the capital. The pillars weigh about 50 tons each. Only 19 of the original pillars could withstand time and the rest are in fragments.

DHAUD KHAN FORT

The Dhaud Khan Fort is on the eastern bank of the River Sone and was founded on the 17th of Palamu Fort from the Cheros by the then Governor of Bihar under Aurangzeb — Dhaud Khan. It is said that ahead of this conquest, he camped here and founded a town known after him. 

TELHAR WATERFALL

Telhar waterfall is a famous waterfall found in the Kaimur district in Bihar. This waterfall is on the Rohtas plateau which is in close proximity to the Durgavati River on Bhabua. The waterfall also consists of a dam that’s called Karamchat Dam located near it. It’s surrounded by amazing views on all sides and is perfect for a picnic with your family or friends.

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