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        Bihar: Patna


Places to visit in and around Patna

Agam Kuan
Agam Kuan literally means "the unfathomable well". It is a huge well dating from the period of emperor Ashoka. The site is situated at a short distance south-west of Gulzarbagh railway station. Agam Kuan is circular in plan with a diameter extending over 20' 2". As many as eight arched windows, all at regular intervals, adorn the well just above the ground and form its most distinctive feature. The well is 105' deep, as far has been fathomed and recorded. Upto a depth of 44' from the surface, it has a finely worked brick-encasing. The lower half, a further depth of 61' is, however, secured by a series of wooden rings.

Waddell on his exploration of the ruins of Patliputra during 1890s identified Agam Kuan with the legendary hell built by Ashoka for torturing people as cited by the Chinese travellers of the 5th and 7th centuries A.D. Another legend, still very strong, is that Ashoka threw 99 of his elder brothers in this well after killing them, in order to become king. The site also feeds the Jain legends. The most famous of them is about a Jain Monk Sudarshana who, when thrown into the well by an atrocious king Chand, was found floating over its water seated on the lotus. People, by and large, believe the well's water to be endowed with miraculous power, and the well auspicious.


Kumhrar, site of the ancient city of Patliputra, lies 5 kms from Patna railway station. Archaeological findings in this area establish Patna's claim to over a thousand years of political glory - 600 BC to 600 AD. Very little of this grandeur remains though, except for the remains of a huge Mauryan hall supported by 80 sandstone pillars dating back to 300 BC.


Gol Ghar
Gol Ghar, which means spherical building, was constructed by Captain John Garstin in 1786. It was built in reaction to a famine in 1770 and has beehive-like shape. It was used as a granary by the British. One can get a complete panoramic view of Patna from top of the Gol Ghar. It, in a way, symbolizes the identity of Patna.

It was inspired by the native Stupa architecture of the ancient Indian tradition. Raised on a 2' high plinth, the enormous dome, over a circular plan, raises well up to 96'. It creates a wonderful echo effect from inside. The walls, all brick-masoned, with its width of 12' 4", are no less impressive. Two spiraling stairways, rising from the opposing sides, reach to the top, which has a small hole at the centre (2' 7"). The doors at the bottom of the dome, are placed on all the four cardinal directions, which opened originally from within. Two inscriptions, one in English and the other in Persian rendering are affixed adjacent to each other giving information about its construction.

Takhat Sri Harimandar Ji Patna Sahib
Guru Gobind Singh, the tenth Guru of the Sikhs, was born in 1660 in Patna. The Har Mandir Takht, one of the four sacred shrines of the Sikhs, stands at this holy site. The original temple was built by Maharaja Ranjit Singh, and contains belongings of the Guru and Sikh holy texts.

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