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Buddha park, Patna, Bihar

By Prakhar Patidar

We didn't always live in cities. They are a result of gradual settlement of our civilisations. The very first cities are known to have emerged in Mesopotamia around 75000 BCE. However, as history has shown us, not all the ancient cities were lucky enough to survive and see the light of the 21st century.

Patna, the capital city of the Indian state of Bihar Aerial view, Patna | Aerial view of Patna. In the background… | Flickr

The few that achieved this feat, have stood the test of time and today, are crowned as heritage sites all around the world. Patna, the capital city of the Indian state of Bihar, is one of those jewels. Patna's cultural evolution spans over two millennia and draws from the many dynasties that ruled and the many religions that had an influence on it. In this trajectory of greatness Patna has existed as Patliputra, Kusumpur, Pushpapuri, and Azimabad.

The city was founded in the 5th century, during the Magadh Empire as Patliputra and was the center of the mighty empire till the Mauryan empire took over. Followed by the reign of the Mauryans, the city saw the rise and fall of the Guptas, Palas, Mughals, The British Raj, and finally gaining independent status in 1947. It has remained the capital of Bihar since then.

We can find mentions of the city in the records of world famous historians. One of the earliest accounts can be found in the writings of Megasthenes, a Greek scholar who also served as ambassador in the court of Chandragupt Maurya. The CHinese traveller, Fa Hein also wrote about the prosperity of the city. The industrial advancements of the city have been accounted for in the writings of Akbar's historian Abul Faizal. The commerce and trade in the city was further elaborated on by the British traveller Peter Mundy.

golden hour, ganga, ganges, india, patna, religion, hinduism ...

Nestled along the banks of Ganga, today, Patna spans across an area of 250 km square. It has not yet been listed as a heritage city by UNESCO but the national and local government as well as various heritage foundations recognise the city's historic value and deem it to be an important heritage site.

Keywords: Heritage cities, Patna, Bihar, Ancient Cities, Oldest Cities, India


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