पटना paṭanā

‘Port’ [Pataligram, Pataliputra, Patalipatnam] City,/Capital/District, Bihar (Bih)

From Dra/Skt: paṭṭanam, ‘city’, ‘port’

Patna lies at the confluence of four rivers (the Ghaghara, Ganges, Sone, and Gandak) which has made it an important trading post for Indian and colonial empires alike.

Patna is a resurrection of the ancient and adjacent  Pataliputra/Pataligram [Skt/Pal: pāṭalī, ‘trumpet flower [Stereospermum chelonoides]; Pal: puṭa, ‘container (for wares or merchandise)i.e. ‘trading post’; ].

Pataliputra was founded in the 5thC BCE and was the capital of the successive Magadha, Shishunaga, Nanda, Maurya Empire, Gupta, and Pala Empires.

In the Maurya period , it became one of the largest cities in the world but its fortunes faded from the 7thC onwards and it was then abandoned.

The city was restored in the 16thC  and renamed Patna by Sher Shah Suri, an Afghan ruler and founder of the Suri Empire. Under the Portuguese and British Patna became an important trading post for calico, saltpetre and silk.

For related place names see Indian Place names and Bihar place names.