Bihar is located in the eastern part of India. It is bounded by Nepal in the north, and is surrounded by the states of Uttar Pradesh to the west, Jharkhand to the south and West Bengal to the east. Bihar is watered mainly by the River Ganga but also the Saryu, Gandak and Sone. Part of the flat Ganges riverine plain, it is mainly an agricultural state. There's little by way of industry, service sector or infrastructure.
The name Bihar is derived from Vihara meaning monastery and for visitors today Bihar is important as the land where Lord Buddha (6-5th century BC), the founder of Buddhism, spent most of his life, and where Buddhist monasteries flourished. Today, remnants of this past can be seen at Bodhgaya, Rajgir and Nalanda. Bodhgaya is the most important Buddhist pilgrimage destination in the world, hosting the site where Buddha attained enlightenment. Rajgir is important for both Jains and Buddhists. Nalanda was a great ancient centre of learning and still shows impressive ruins of the university. Given the importance of these places for Buddhists from Sri Lanka and Thailand, Gaya airport has a small international airport connected to Colombo and Thailand.
Bihar's capital Patna was the ancient city of Pataliputra, the capital of two of the most powerful dynasties north India has seen the Maurya (4th-2nd century BC) and Gupta (3rd -6th century AD). Patna is situated on the banks of the Ganges and has the 7.5-km long Mahatma Gandhi Setu, one of the longest bridges in the world. Gurudwara Har Mandir marks the birthplace of Guru Gobind Singh, Sikhism's tenth guru.
Sonepur village is situated near Patna, on the confluence of the Gandhak and Ganges, and is famous for its huge two-week cattle fair in November, where elephants, horses, birds are famously traded.
Bihar's single most important festival is Chhath, in honour of the sun god, celebrated by fasting and sun worship in October-November.