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On the southern banks of The River Ganges, Patna is located in the north eastern reaches of India, tucked neatly between Calcutta and Lucknow in the state of Bihar.

Patna is one of the oldest continuously inhabited places in the world, and was founded in 490 BC by the king of Magadha, serving as the seat of power, political and cultural centre of the Magadha empire, under the Maurya and Gupta empires. When the Gupta empire fell in 550 BC, Patna too lost its glory, and in the years that followed it passed through uncertain times. Patna was revived in the middle of the 16th century, by Sher Shah Suri (the Sher Shah Suri mosque built in Afghan architectural style still exists today), and during the 17th century, Patna was an important centre for international trade, when the British East India Company established a factory trading in silk.

Little trace of the glory days remains today, however a number of historical highlights including Gol Ghar, Raj Bhawan, the Law Courts and Secretariat are interesting and integral parts of the city’s history. Gol Ghar is a large granary in the west of Patna, built in the 1700s by Captain John Garstin of the Bengal Engineers, to prevent famine in the local provinces. The spiral steps now lead to an observation deck overlooking the Ganges and the city. The Patna High Court and Secretariat Building are also examples of Indo-British architecture.

The Maurya Patna Patna North India 1 The Maurya Patna Patna North India 1
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