10 Extraordinary cultural experiences you can’t miss when in Bihar

10 Extraordinary cultural experiences you can’t miss when in Bihar

Image souce – @iammad_rj

Bihar is an ancient land having a vibrant culture. Religious diversity played a crucial role in contributing to the inimitable cultural significance of Bihar. The earliest history can be traced back to the epics of Ramayana and Mahabharata whose glimpse is still present in Mithila paintings. Bihar takes pride in being the land where Buddhism and Jainism flourished.

The culture of Bihar is best reflected through the festivals, fairs, folk arts, monuments, and cuisines enjoyed by the locals. Here we look at some of the cultural experiences that stand out uniquely.

Chhath Puja is an ancient Hindu festival celebrated in Bihar. It is the only Vedic festival dedicated to the Sun God. It is celebrated twice a year. In this four-day long festival, people fast and offer prayers to the Sun-God. As per ancient belief, this festival was first performed by Karna, the son of Lord Surya and Kunti.

Sama-Chakeva is a unique festival celebrated in the Mithila region of Bihar. This festival has both religious and cultural importance. it is celebrated in November and is dedicated to the affectionate bond of siblings. The celebration also marks the arrival of colorful migratory birds from the Himalayas.

Rajgir Mahotsava is a festival with a key focus on showcasing the dance and music of Bihar. This cultural event is held in Rajgir and organized annually since 1986. It is a three-day event, celebrated to highlight the historically and culturally rich heritage of Nalanda and Rajgir. Many renowned artists from all over the country take part in this cultural event.

Vaishali Mahotsava is a unique celebration held in Vaishali every year. This festival enlivens the entire Vaishali area on the occasion of Buddha Parinirvana which is a remembrance of Buddha who attained Parinirvana at this location. Jains also celebrate this festival with ample zeal. This festival is celebrated on the 13th day of the Hindi month of Chaitra.

Bihar has witnessed Sufi Culture since the medieval era. Kako Festival is one of the many prominent Sufi Mahotsavas celebrated in Bihar. this festival is organized at Kako, Jehanabad in the memory of eminent Saint Sufi Bibi Kamal. With themes of peace and harmony, this festival aims at popularizing the Sufi Culture in the region through the annual Urs at Hazrat Kamal Saheb Bibi’s mausoleum which enchants visitors from all over the country.  

Patna Sahib Mahotsava is an annual two-day cultural event organized by the Tourism Department of the Government of Bihar. It is celebrated at the time of Baisakhi near Takht Sri Patna Sahib, the birthplace of the tenth Sikh Guru, Guru Gobind Singh. Medieval Bihar served as an important corridor for Sikh dispersal to eastern and north-eastern India. It stimulated the birth of native Sikh groups that significantly differ from their Punjabi-speaking counterparts in their mother tongue.

Folk Songs and dance are a part of the rich culture of Bihar. Folk songs are generally based on the everyday life of people and are a must during special occasions like weddings, festivals, and other important ceremonies. Birth and marriage ceremonies are incomplete without traditional songs. Folk dance is also equally important in the culture of Bihar.

Darbhanga International Film Festival is the international film festival of Bihar held every year in Darbhanga since 2013. Darbhanga IFF is celebrated for a better development of Cinema, Film, Art, and Culture in Bihar. Films, filmmakers, and artists from all over the world participate in the festival every year.

 Bihar has numerous authentic lip-smacking cuisines and Litti Chokha is one of them. Its recipe originated centuries ago in the court of Magadha, an ancient Kingdom in southern Bihar. This regional dish is the pride of Bihar. Healthy and rich in protein, Litti is a smoky flavored ball of wheat, stuffed with sattu that is roasted on a coal fire. It is dipped in ghee and served hot with chokha.

Champaran meat curry, also known as ahuna or ‘batlohi’ mutton comes from the nondescript town of Champaran, where Gandhi famously started the Satyagraha. The migrant workers from north Bihar brought this dish to Patna. It is traditionally prepared in earthen pots or matka. The marinated mutton is placed inside the matka, which is then covered from the top and sealed by wheat dough to prevent the steam from going out. The steam inside makes the mutton robust and decadent.

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