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Patna is the capital of the Indian state of Bihar, and one of the oldest continuously inhabited places in the world. It lies on the southern bank of the Ganges, as it flows past this city with the combined waters of the rivers Ghagra, Son and Gandak. At the point where the city is located, the sacred Ganges looks more like sea than river: mighty, powerful, wide and never-ending.
Patna is a sacred city for the Sikhs. The tenth and last of the "human" Gurus, Guru Gobind Singh, was born in this city in 1666. The city also houses one of the five Sikh Takhats (Seat of Authority) - Takhat Patna Sahib
A bustling city of 1,200,000 people, the city is approximately 15 km long and 5 km to 7 km wide. The Buddhist and Jain pilgrim centres of Vaishali, Rajgir or Rajgriha, Nalanda, Bodhgaya and Pawapuri are all nearby. It is the ideal gateway for all the places on this circuit. The monuments in and around the city take one back in history to its glorious past.
Apart from being the administrative centre of the state and its historic importance, the city is also a major educational and medical centre. Sadly, because of the neglect by the Union government of India and the apathy of the state government, the educational institutions, some of the oldest and most prestigious in the country, have fallen behind over the last decade.
The walled old area, called Patna City by the locals, is also a major trading centre.
Patna is located on the south bank of the River Ganga. Ganga means (swift goer) in Sanskrit it is known in the west as the Ganges. Patna has a very long riverline, and it is surrounded on three sides by rivers—the Ganga, Sone and Poonpun (also spelled Punpun). Just to the north of Patna across the river Ganga flows the river Gandak making Patna a unique place by having four largish rivers in its vicinity. It is the largest riverine city in the world.
The Mahatma Gandhi Setu (bridge) over the river Ganga, named after Mohandas K. Gandhi, is 5850m long and is said to be the longest bridge spanning a single river in the world with 40 piers. It connects Patna on the south side of the river to Hajipur on the northbank in Bihar.
- Altitude: 53 meters
- Temperature: Summer 43 °C to 21 °C, Winter 20 °C to 6 °C
- Rainfall (average): 1,200 mm