Hin: बिहार bihār
From Skt/Pali: vihāra, ‘abode’, ‘(Buddhist) monastery’.
Bihar has a rich Buddhist heritage. It boasts the site of the Buddha’s Enlightenment at Bodh Gaya and has many other historic Buddist centres and vihāras dating back to ancient and medieval times [see video: ‘Bihar Buddhist Circuit’].
Viharas in India were originally a monsoon refuge for monks with cells and an open courtyard. Bihar was also the birthplace of both the 2nd-4thC BCE Mauryan and 3rd-6thC Gupta dynasties, dominant empires in north India and beyond.
With 1,000 people per square kilometre Bihar is India’s most densely populated state.