Beneath the din and bustle of Patna, the capital of Bihar state, has a fascinating past. And in each chapter of its history, it has been crowned by a new name- Kusumpur, Pushpapur, Patliputra and Azeemabad.
Turning over the pages of early Indian history one comes across the name of the pre-eminent city of Patliputra. Located at the site where Patna is today, this city saw the rise and fall of India’s first major kingdoms. Its period of glory spanned a thousand years, from 6th century BC to 6th century AD. Ajatsatru, second in the line of Magadha kings, built a small fort at Pataligram at the confluence of rivers Ganga and Sone. This later became the famous Mauryan metropolis of Patliputra and was ruled by Chandragupta Maurya ( a contemporary of Alexander), and his grandson Ashoka, acclaimed for the spread of Buddhism. Other emperors who ruled from Patna were the Gupta and Pala kings, Sher Shah Suri (16th century) and Azimush-Shan (18th century), grandson of the Mughal emperor Aurangzeb who renamed it Azeemabad.
Today, Patna is an important business centre of eastern India. More significantly, it is a gateway to the Buddhist and Jain pilgrim centres of Vaishali, Rajgir, Nalanda, Bodhgaya and Pawapuri.