Past Cities

Biharsharif, Bihar, India

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Situated in the heartland of India, Biharsharif stands as a testament to the rich history and cultural heritage of Bihar, a state known for its vibrant past.

Biharsharif is located in the Nalanda district of Bihar, approximately 72 kilometers southeast of Patna, the capital city of the state. Nestled on the fertile plains of the Gangetic basin, the region is blessed with abundant natural resources and a favorable climate. The serene landscape, surrounded by lush green fields and flowing rivers, provided a conducive environment for early human settlements.

The history of Biharsharif dates back to ancient times, with traces of civilization dating as far back as the Mauryan Empire (322-185 BCE). It is believed that the city was founded by Ashoka the Great, the legendary Mauryan emperor, who established a Buddhist monastery in the area.

During the reign of the Mauryan Empire, Biharsharif flourished as an important political and cultural center. The nearby city of Nalanda, just a few kilometers away, became renowned as an intellectual hub with the establishment of Nalanda University in the 5th century CE. Scholars from all over the world flocked to this prestigious institution, making it a melting pot of knowledge, philosophy, and religion.

The political landscape of Biharsharif witnessed several transformations over the centuries. After the decline of the Mauryan Empire, the region fell under the influence of various dynasties, including the Gupta Empire, the Pala dynasty, and the Mughals. These rulers left their indelible mark on the city, contributing to its cultural and architectural heritage.

Under the Pala dynasty, Biharsharif and Nalanda thrived as centers of learning and Buddhist pilgrimage. The region experienced a golden age, marked by flourishing trade, art, and literature. However, with the decline of the Palas in the 12th century, Biharsharif underwent a period of political turmoil and invasions, including the plundering by Muslim rulers.

With the establishment of Muslim rule in India, Biharsharif became a part of the Delhi Sultanate and subsequently the Bengal Sultanate. Islamic influence permeated the region, leading to the construction of mosques, tombs, and other architectural marvels. Notable structures such as the Tomb of Malik Ibrahim Bayu and the Mughal-era Khanqah of Makhdum Shah Sharif-ud-din added to the city's architectural grandeur.

Biharsharif, like the rest of India, came under British colonial rule in the 18th century. The city witnessed significant political and social changes during this period. The British administration introduced modern educational institutions and infrastructure, leading to the emergence of Biharsharif as a center for education and trade.

Post-Independence, Biharsharif became a part of the newly formed Indian state of Bihar. The city continued to grow and develop, with the establishment of industries, improved transportation networks, and the expansion of educational institutions. Today, Biharsharif is a bustling urban center with a diverse population, representing various religions, languages, and cultures.