Patna, beside River Ganga, is the capital of the Indian state of Bihar. It is an urban city with all modern amenities. But just like all cities in India, it has a strong traditional, historical, mythological and socio-cultural and religious influences. Patna also is also a major archaeological hub.All this gives shape to local life in Patna, that is deeply rooted in an Indo-Aryan Mithila culture. The ancient Indian religion of Buddhism also has a strong bearing because Patna is a transit point to many Buddhist spots like Vaishali, Nalanda, Bodhgaya and Pawapuri. The best way to explore all this is by Patna taxi service.
If you have the budget, you can stay at Hotel Maurya with its Mithila suite featuring local artworks and a speciality restaurant called “Spice Court”. Buddha Heritage is another luxurious palace-style hotel inspired by Patna’s link with Buddhism. Look out for the traditional Maharaja suits and the ethnic artwork. The Hotel Republic is one of the oldest (1954), but modernly maintained hotel in Patna. It was the 1st 3-star hotel in Patna. There are also many budget hotels that can give you a contemporary, local stay.
The discovery of a city in its elements is incomplete without a taste of its local flavours. These quintessential local items can be found at every street corner:
Litti chokha: Round bread (litti) of roasted gram flour (sattu) with a veg curry (chokha).
Sattu drink: Made with roasted Bengal gram flour (Sattu). It is the poor man’s best source of protein, energy and has a cooling effect.
Shikanji: Cooling lemon-soda-mint drink.
Batatapuri, bhelpuri : Fluffy snacks, locally called chaat. Served with curd, fried, spicy veg mixtures, sauces.
Chana ghugni/ghugri: Spicy white pea curry, eaten with or without Indian bread.
Mutton kebabs: Moghul style meat balls, best in Kadamkuan, Patna.
Chicken kadhai/korma: Spicy chicken curry, popular pan-India.
Deep-fried desserts like khaja, khurma, malpua, laung-latika, chandrakala, pedakiya, gujia, dahi jalebi: Puffy, wafery, crispy; made of cereal base dipped in sugar, jaggery syrup, butter, ghee.
Lababdar rolls: Wraps stuffed with spicy veggies. Served with spicy cream gravy.
You can also go shopping for colourful traditional clothes of Patna:
Men: Lower garment (dhoti) that needs to be wrapped; upper shirt (kurta); a very colourful headgear (turban) that also needs to be wrapped.
Salwar-kameez/churidar of upper long covering tunic, lower pants and a bust or head-covering scarf called churni/dupatta.
Sari and blouse.
Patna is a historical city with many archaeological sites.You can buy the famous local Madhubani paintings, replicas of rock paintings of Bihar, stone pottery and jewelry, bead jewellery, applique cloth work garments and home décor, brass statues of local deities etc.
You can visit Patna during festivals and fairs to get the best of its local charm:
● Chatth Puja (March-April/Oct-Nov)
● Sonepur animal fair or mela (Nov)
● Pitripaksha Mela (Sept)
● Kite festival (Jan)
● Buddha Purnima (April/May)
● Mahavir Jayanti (April)
You can do all this while sightseeing the famous ancient monuments of this city; it’s museum, archaeological sites, religious places etc. by taking a car on rent in Patna.