4,00,000 BCE

From Pre-history
to Proto-history

The dawn of civilization: first stone tools, early rock art in Bihar, farming in Chirand; discovery of copper and birth of Indus cities. The Aryans arrive. Vedic hymns are composed.
    600 BCE

    Rise of the Mahajanapadas

    Of the 16 Mahajanapadas, Magadha emerges supreme. Rajagriha becomes capital. First coins are minted. Mahavira is born. Buddha attains enlightenment. Ajatashatru’s fort Pataligrama marks the future city of Pataliputra.
      362 BCE

      Nandas: War and Peace

      The Nandas conquer Magadha and build a mighty army, attempting the earliest empire. Agriculture and irrigation advance. Greek conqueror Alexander reaches Punjab. His exhausted army refuses to advance further.
        323 BCE

        Mauryans: The First Empire

        Chandragupta Maurya overthrows the Nandas, aided by astute counsel Chanakya, writer of Arthashastra. Ashoka establishes largest empire of India. Kalinga War violence turns Asoka to Buddhism. He inscribes dhamma edicts.
          185 BCE

          Shunga: New Trends in
          visual arts and architecture

          The Shungas seize Magadha. Buddhism spreads far and wide. Stories are sculpted on railings of Mahabodhi Temple, Bodh Gaya. Buddhist art depicts Buddha through symbols as footprints and Empty Throne.

            Kushana: Cross-cultural encounters

            Kushana Empire stretches from Afghanisthan to Gangetic plain. Gandhara and Mathura become dominant art centres; Buddha is depicted in human form. Trade through Silk Route expands culture. Buddhism travels east.
              320 CE

              Gupta: Age of creativity
              and prosperity

              Chandragupta strengthens his kingdom with a Licchavi alliance. Gupta political influence spreads. Fa Hien visits India. Art, culture and learning reach unsurpassed heights with Nalanda and works of Aryabhatta and Kalidasa.
                606 CE

                Vardhana: A transitory phase

                Gauda King Sasanka rules over Magadha. After his death, King Harshavardhana gains control. He is a great patron of arts. Hieun Tsang visits Nalanda and Bodh Gaya, writing important travel accounts.
                  755 CE

                  Pala: Zenith of
                  intellectual exchange

                  Pala dynasty rule Bihar and Bengal. Vikramshila and Odantapuri universities are founded. Kurkihar becomes centre for metal art. Pala stone sculpting develops. Other Tantric forms of Buddhism develop, as Vajrayana.
                    1206 CE

                    The Sultanates: Delhi becomes the new centre of power

                    The Delhi Sultanate marks the beginning of Muslim rule in India; successive dynasties rule Bihar from Delhi and Bengal. Bhakti and Sufi movements gain momentum. In 1526, Babur establishes Mughal Empire.

                      Sher Shah Suri:
                      The Afgan interlude

                      Afghan Sher Shah Suri defeats Mughal Emperor Humayun and becomes ruler of India. His achievements include consolidation of the major route Sadak-e-Azam, today Grand Trunk Road. He issues the silver Rupiya.
                        1556 CE

                        Mughal: Consolidation
                        of Mughal Rule

                        Akbar becomes Emperor of India. Abu’l Fazl’s Ain-i-Akbari records Bihar as an important province under Mughal rule. British set up textile factory in Patna. Guru Gobind Singh is born in Patna.
                          1717 CE

                          Nawabs of Bengal and British accession to power

                          Winning the Battles of Plassey and Buxar, in1757 and 1764, the British East India Company take control of Bihar, Bengal and Orissa. Patna becomes an international trading centre. Golghar granary is built.
                            1858 CE

                            British Raj:
                            Archaeological exploration

                            British Crown takes over reign. Prinsep deciphers ancient scripts. Cunningham begins excavations at Nalanda and Bodh Gaya. Mauryan pillared hall is discovered at Kumrahar,1912. Bihar Province is created in 1936.
                              1947 CE

                              Independent India

                              Dr. Rajendra Prasad of Bihar is the first President of the Republic of India in 1950.

                                Children’s Section


                                Why the peepal is wise

                                More than 2500 years ago, a baby boy was born to Queen Maya in the gardens of Lumbini in Nepal. King Suddhodhana and Queen Maya named him Siddhartha. It was predicted that the boy would become a great king or an ascetic. Fearing the prince would turn to the path of a sage, King Suddhodhana protected him from all the ugly truths of life. When Siddhartha grew to be a young man, he became curious. Everything could not be so wonderful, he thought. And so, he ventured out of the palace gates and saw the real world. He saw poverty, sickness, old age and death. All this disturbed him very much and he decided right then to go out into the wide world and find out what life is all about. Leaving his wife, child and kingdom behind, the young prince made his way down to this region we now called Bihar. He was drawn here like iron filings to a magnet, as if he secretly knew this place would give him answers.

                                Siddhartha was especially bothered by the question, “What is suffering?” In his search to find out what every human being’s purpose in life is, he went through many trials. He starved himself with such intensity that he became skin and bones. A young village girl called Sujata appeared right in time and offered him a bowl of milk and rice. On consuming the food, he got sustenance. It was then Siddhartha realized that taking extreme measures was not the answer.

                                He sat peacefully meditating under a peepal tree in Bodh Gaya for several days, when in a sudden flash of enlightenment, the truth of life appeared to Siddhartha. He realized how to transcend the worldly dissatisfaction we all experience. The sage meditated for seven days more after his awakening and formulated the Four Noble Truths. He eventually started to teach these principles through sermons. Called The Middle Way or Eight-fold path, this showed a meaningful way of life.

                                Bodhi means enlightened in Sanskrit and ever since his awakening to the truth, the prince who became a wise man was called The Buddha. The Buddha’s awakening happened under a peepal tree. This peepal tree in Bodh Gaya was henceforth called the Bodhi Tree. It is loved everywhere as the Tree of Wisdom. Visit the peepal at the Wildlife Sanctuary in the Children’s Gallery! Come closer to Buddha and his life’s teachings at the Bihar Museum!



                                +91 0612 2235732



                                Nehru Path (Bailey Road),
                                Patna, Bihar 800001, India

                                View Map

                                • Facebook
                                • Twitter
                                • Instagram
                                • Pintrest