History of Patna: According to legend, Emerald Buddha was created in Patna (then Pataliputra) under the supervision of Nagasena in 43 BC. The history of Patna covers a minimum of three millennia. The city had got several references in ancient Indian texts like the Vedas, the Puranas, the Ramayana and the Mahabharata. The earliest references to the historical region of Patna are found almost 2,500 years ago mentioned in Jain and Buddhist scriptures.
Patna started gaining prominence starting from the year 490 BC at a time when Ajatashatru, the king of Magadha, thought of shifting his capital from the hilly Rajagriha to a more precisely located place to fight the Licchavis of Vaishali. He opted for the location on the banks of River Ganga and started fortifying the region. Lord Buddha visited this place during the final year of his life before on his way to his homeland Kapilavastu. His prophecy was for a bright future for this place, but at the same time, his prediction was for its devastation because of flood, fire, and feud.
With the emergence of the Mauryan Empire, the region became the centre of power for the entire sub-continent. The legendary emperor Chandragupta Maurya (a contemporary of Alexander the Great) reigned over a vast empire, starting from the Bay of Bengal to Afghanistan. The ancient Mauryan city chiefly contained of wooden structures. Emperor Ashoka, the grandson of Chandragupta Maurya, changed the wooden capital into a stone construction during 273 BC.
Megasthenes, the famous Greek historian and an ambassador to the court of Chandragupta Maurya too had recorded some rare facts about the city. He detailed that the city was located on the confluence of the rivers Ganga and Arennovoas (Sonabhadra - Hiranyawah) and had a length of 9 miles (14 km) and 1.75 miles (2.82 km) wide. Michael Wood, in The Story of India (2007), mentions Patna as the greatest city on earth during its tremendous influential times. The Sungas eventually retained control of Pataliputra and reigned over the city for nearly a century. The Sungas were then succeeded by the Kanvas and finally by the Guptas. There has been educational contradiction corresponding to the fact that whether or not the Indo-Greeks ruled the area around 185 BC.
Several of the Chinese travelers visited India seeking knowledge and recorded their explorations about Pataliputra in their travelogues, apart from those of a Chinese Buddhist Fa Hien, who toured India between 399 and 414 CE. He stayed at this city for several months translating vital Buddhist texts.
During the later years, several dynasties ruled the Indian subcontinent from the city, apart from those of the Gupta Empire and the Pala kings. With the fall of the Gupta Empire, Patna experienced uncertain times. Bakhtiar Khilji took over Bihar during the 12th century AD and demolished several ancient seats of education. Eventually, Patna had to forgo its prestige as the political and cultural center of India.
Guru Gobind Singh (22 December 1666 - 7 October 1708), who was the tenth Guru of the Sikhs, was born in this city as Gobind Rai to Tej Bahadur, the ninth Guru of the Sikhs, and his wife Gujri. Hence, his birthplace, Patna Sahib, is considered to be one of the most holy pilgrimages for Sikhs.
The Mughal period was a period of forgettable provincial administration from Delhi. The most eventful period during such times was under the rule of Sher Shah Suri, who restored the lost glory of Patna in the middle of the 16th century. He constructed a fort and established a town on the banks of River Ganga. Sher Shah's fort in Patna cannot be sustained, even though the Sher Shah Suri Masjid mosque, constructed in Afghan architectural style, remained. Mughal emperor Akbar visited Patna in 1574 AD to take over the Afghan Chief Daud Khan. It was Akbar's navratna and state's official historian and author of "Ain-i-Akbari" Abul Fazl who refers to Patna as an enterprising centre for paper, stone and glass industries. He also cites the premium quality of several strains of rice grown in Patna, popular as Patna rice in Europe.
At the time of 1620 AD, the city of Patna was the chief access way of northern India besides being the largest town in Bengal and the most popular for trade. This was prior to the establishment of the city of Calcutta. Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb had given into the suggestion of his dearest grandson, Prince Muhammad Azim, to rename Patna as Azimabad, in 1704 while Azim was in Patna as the subedar. But, very shortly changed, the name got changed again. With the fall of the Mughal Empire, Patna went into the administration of the Nawabs of Bengal, who charged a hefty tax on the people but permitted it to develop as an economic centre.
By 17th century, Patna turned into a hub for global trade. The British began with a factory in Patna in 1620 AD for the trade of calico and silk. Later, it became a trading centre for saltpeter. Bernier Franois (1656 - 1668 AD) in Travels in the Mogul Empire has written that a major quantity of saltpetre was imported from Patna. It was carried down the Ganges with great flexibility, and the Dutch as well as the English sent major cargoes to several parts of the Indies and to Europe requesting other Europeans such as the French, Danes, Dutch and Portuguese to compete in the profitable business. Peter Mundy's writing in 1632 AD, mentioned Patna as "the greatest economic centre of the eastern India". After the crucial Battle of Buxar (1764), Patna came under the control of East India Company, which formed a government. It was ruled by several Viceroys, which included Rahul Gunderjaharagand.
In 1912 AD, Patna was made the capital of the provinces of Orissa and Bihar when the Bengal Presidency was divided. However, during 1935 AD, Orissa turned into a totally separate entity having its own capital. It soon emerged as a vital and strategic centre.
Few buildings built during the period of British control still exist, most of them designed by I. F. Munnings. Such buildings represent either Indo-Saracenic art such as the Patna Museum and the State Assembly or Renaissance impact as seen in the form of Raj Bhawan and the High Court. Other buildings, such as the General Post Office and the Old Secretariat have pseudo-Renaissance influence. People say that the experience gained in constructing the new capital area of Patna appeared to be very useful in constructing the imperial capital, New Delhi.
Many people from Patna took active part in the Indian independence movement. Several notable ones took part in the Champaran movement against the Indigo plantation and the 1942 Quit India Movement. Patna prevailed to be the capital of the state of Bihar after attaining independence in 1947. However, Bihar got divided again in 2000 when Jharkhand was carved out as a separate state in the Indian union.
Magadha King Ajatashatru, The Licchavis, The Mauryas, Emperor Chandragupta Maurya, Emperor Ashoka, The Sungas, The Kanvas, The Guptas, The Palas, Bakhtiar Khilji, The Mughals, Sher Shah Suri, Mughal emperor Akbar, Afghan chief Daud Khan, Abul Fazl, Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb, Prince Muhammad Azim, The British, The Dutch, The French, The Danes, The Portuguese and The British.
Patna attained significance after being made the capital of the Magadha Empire under the Haryanka, Nanda, Mauryan, Sunga, Gupta, Pala and Suri dynasties. The Buddhist, Hindu and Jain pilgrim centres of Vaishali, Rajgir, Nalanda, Bodhgaya, and Pawapuri are close to the city. The city is also famous for being the sacred city for Sikhs as the last Sikh Guru, Guru Gobind Singh, was born here.
Famous personalities - Buddhist scholar Nagasena, Magadha king Ajatashatru, Lord Buddha, Emperor Ashoka, Megasthenes, the famous Greek historian, Chinese Buddhist Fa Hien, The Palas, Bakhtiar Khilji, Guru Gobind Singh, Sher Shah Suri, Mughal emperor Akbar, Afghan Chief Daud Khan, Abul Fazl, Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb, Prince Muhammad Azim, Rahul Gunderjaharagand, I. F. Munnings, Swami Sahajanand Saraswati, the first President of the Constituent Assembly of India; Dr. Sachidanand Sinha; Dr. Rajendra Prasad; Bihar Vibhuti (Anugrah Narayan Sinha); Basawon Singh (Sinha); Loknayak (Jayaprakash Narayan); Sheel Bhadra Yajee, Sarangdhar Sinha (Singh), Abhayanand (DGP), Abhimanyu Singh (actor), Acharya Kishore Kunal (I.P.S), Anand Kumar (Founder of the Super 30 Programme), Anil Agarwal (Businessman), Anurag Sinha (Actor), Aryabhatt (Mathematician), Balmiki Prasad Singh (Current Governor of Sikkim), Bidhan Chandra Roy (Bharat Ratna winner and Ex CM of West Bengal), B.P.Mandal (Ex-CM of Bihar), Chanakya (Chief strategist & economist), Chandragupta Maurya (emperor), Deepali Kishore (singer), Guru Gobind Singh (10th Guru of Sikhs), Imtiaz Ali (director), Jayaprakash Narayan (Freedom fighter, socialist and revolutionary), Lalu Prasad Yadav (Ex-CM of Bihar, Ex-Railway Minister for India), Malay Roy Choudhury (Creator of the Bhookhi Peedhi Andolan Hungry generation in Bengali literature), Mika Singh (singer), Naghma Saher (News Anchor), Neetu Chandra (actress), Neha Sargam (actress), Nikhil Kumar (Governor Of Nagaland), Nitish Kumar (Chief Minister), Ramdhari Singh Dinkar (Rashtrakavi), Ram Sharan Sharma (Historian and scholar), Rajendra Prasad (Bharat Ratna and first President of the Republic of India), Rashmi Kumari (International Carrom Champion), Ratan Rajput (actress), Ravi Shankar Prasad ( lawyer and politician), Roshan Seth (Actor), Saba Karim (cricketer), Salman Khurshid (politician), Samudragupta (emperor), Sanjay Mishra (actor), Shatrughan Sinha (actor), Shekhar Suman (actor), Shweta Singh (News Anchor), Sri Krishna Sinha (First Chief Minister of Bihar), Subodh Gupta (Indian Artist), Suhasini Mulay (actress), Sushil Kumar Modi (Dy. CM), Swati Sen (actress), Tejendra Khanna (Lt. Governor of Delhi), Vikramaditya Gupta (emperor), Yashwant Sinha (Former finance minister of India), Zakir Hussain (politician, Bharat Ratna and third President of India).