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Bihar: A Quick Guide To Buxar

09 Min Read

Buxar is a city of gods, demons and ancient civilisations

Every school child in India has heard of Buxar, albeit in the context of the famous Battle of Buxar (1764), where the forces of the East India Company vanquished the army of the Mughals, the Nawab of Bengal and the Nawab of Awadh. Today, Buxar, located on the banks of the Ganga, is one of the most prominent towns of western Bihar. Although there are not too many sights here to attract visitors–most of the tourist spots have either mythological, historical or religious significance and are not much to look atBuxar offers an insight into India’s history.

History
This town has been known since the epic period for being the seats of eminent saints, battlefield of gods and demons, according to the Puranas, and a combat zone between foreign invasion and countrymen in modern Indian history. The discoveries from excavations have established a link between Buxar and the civilisations of Mohenjodaro and Harappa. The word Buxar is said to have been derived from VyaghraSar. The tiger face of Rishi Vedshira, an outcome of the curse of the sage Rishi Durvasha, was restored after bathing in a holy tank which was later named VyaghraSar. This place has also been known as Siddhashram, Vedgarbhapuri, Karush, Tapovan and Chaitrath, in ancient history. According to mythology, sage Vishwamitra, the family guru of Lord Rama and eighty thousand saints, had their sacred ashram at the banks of holy river Ganges that reside inside the modern District Buxar. He was disturbed in the yagna (sacrificial offering) by the demons. The place where due killing of the famous rakshasi (demoness) Tadika by Lord Rama, is said to fall within the present Buxar town area. Besides, Lord Rama and his brother Laxman took their teachings at Buxar. It is also said that Ahilya, the wife of Gautam Rishi, who had been turned to stone, regained her human body by a mere touch of Lord Rama’s feet. This place is presently known as Ahirauli and is situated 6km away from Buxar town. The Kanwaldah Pokhara also known as VyaghraSar is a tourist spot now. The significance of Buxar is mentioned in epics such as Brahamana Purana and Varah Purana. During the Mughal period, the battle between Humayun and Sher Shah was fought at Chousa in 1539 CE.

 Things to See & Do

Buxar Fort
Built by the king Rudra Deo in 1054 CE, the Buxar fort is located on an artificial mound on the banks of the Ganga. Excavations in 1926-27 along the river bank unearthed two seals with inscriptions in the early Brahmi script that date back to the 3rd and 4th century CE, indicating that the mound is quite ancient. In 1812 CE, Francis Buchanan visited the fort. It only had the southern side and its bastions standing. He mentioned that the fort had a subterranean passage which housed ancient images. It was known as Patalganga. When Alexander Cunningham visited the fort in 1871-72, he did not find any historical artefacts there. He said that it was “a purely Brahmanical site” and that it had “nothing of archaeological interest.”

Kathkauli Maidan
The Battle of Buxar was fought on the Kathkauli maidan (field). The British built a memorial at the site to commemorate their victory and honour the soldiers who died during the battle. It is now in ruins.
Location: Near Kathkauli village, about 9 km east of Buxar on NH84

Sita Ram Upadhyaya Museum
Although founded in 1979, in 1993 the museum was renamed Sita Ram Upadhyaya Museum in honour of Upadhyaya, a resident of Buxar who donated many artefacts to the museum. The museum has stone statues, coins and terracotta figures amongst its exhibits.
Entry: Free; Timings: 10.30 am to 4.30 pm

Steps leading up to the Ram Rekha Ghat

Ram Rekha Ghat
Ramayana, the great Indian epic, mentions that Rama drew a line on the Ganga river with his bow so that demons could not cross into that territory. The Ram Rekha (literally Rama’s line) Ghat is believed to be that holy site. According to folklore, Ram, Laxman (his younger brother) and saint Vishwamitra crossed the Ganga at this spot on their way to Janakpur for Sita’s swayamvara (a ceremony in which a woman chooses the man she wants to marry). There is a mark on the riverbank, which is believed to be the impression of Rama’s feet. During the festival of Makar Sankranti (14 January), people throng the ghat to take a dip in the holy river, after which they eat khichri (a dish made of lentils and rice). Hence, it is also known as Khichri Parv (festival). The ghat sees a lot of devotees during the Chhath festival as well.

Intricate shikhara of Navlakha Mandir

Navlakha Mandir
The Navlakha temple, also known as Charitravan Baikunth, is one of the most famous temples of Buxar. Its structure is highly influenced by the temple architecture of South India. According to folklore, Lord Rama (of the epic Ramayana) completed his studies under sage Vishwamitra in Charitravan, where the temple is located.

Linga at the Brahmeshwarnath Mandir

Brahmeshwarnath Mandir
The Brahmeshwar Nath is a temple dedicated to Shiva. It is believed that Tulsidas, the author of a retelling of the Ramayana, worshipped Shiva here. During the month of Shravan, many Shiva devotees walk from Ram Rekha Ghat to Brahmeshwar Nath temple to make offerings.
Location: In Brahmapur, 38 km east of Buxar on NH84

Baba Nath Mandir
Built on the banks of the Ganga, the temple has 22 shivalingas collected from all over the country. The Baba Nath temple is located close to the Buxar Fort.

Bihariji Mandir
Jaiprakash Singh, the maharaja of Dumraon estate, ordered the construction of this temple in 1825. The temple is significant because Ustad Bismillah Khan, the renowned shehnai  maestro and a native of Dumraon, used to play the instrument in the temple along with his father Bachai Miyan, who was the official shehnai player of the estate.
Location: In Dumraon, about 19 km east of Buxar on NH84

Angrez Kabristan
The Angrez Kabristan (English cemetary) houses the graves of the British soldiers who died during the Battle of Buxar and the 1857 uprising. It is located in the Kairpurawa locality of Buxar.

Navratan Garh Quila
Raja Rudrapratap Narayan Singh built Navratna Garh (also known as Bhojpur Quila or Raja Bhoj Quila) in 1633 CE. It is said that there were 52 lanes and 56 doors in the fort. According to folklore, the fort used to shine so bright at night that it was visible from Delhi and that is why the Mughal officer Abdullah Khan demolished it within three years of construction. And so, there are barely any remains of the fort today. According to folklore, Raja Bhoj of Malwa (Madhya Pradesh) conquered the area now known as Bhojpur and settled here. There are ruins in the region believed to be the palaces of Raja Bhoj and his descendants. However, there is no historical evidence to back this claim. When Francis Buchanan visited the site in 1812 CE, he noticed traces of the old channel of the Ganga (which is now more than 20 km north) there. From this, he concluded that Bhojpur was once an extensive town which the river had washed away.
Location: In Naya Bhojpur, 19 km east of Buxar on NH84

Chausa
This place is known for the Battle of Chausa (1539 CE), in which Sher Shah Suri defeated  Humayun and gained dominion over Bihar and Bengal. Excavations around Chausa have yielded bronze statues of Jain tirthankara, ancient coins and a terracotta panel now housed in the Patna museum among other antiquities.
Location: 11 km west of Buxar

Fairs

Panchkoshi Parikrama
The Panchkoshi Parikrama (circumambulation) is a pilgrimage in which people walk through five villages around Buxar in five days. During the pilgrimage, they eat litti chokha. On the last day, litti chokha is cooked all over Buxar, especially in Charitravan.

Sita Ram Vivah Mahotsav
The Sita Ram Vivah Mahotsav (popularly known as Siya Piya Milan) is a marriage celebration held in the month of November. Thousands of saints and pilgrims from across the country descend upon the Sita Ram Vivah ashram in the Naya Bazar locality of Buxar to celebrate the occasion.

Tips
 Buxar is the first major station in Bihar on the Delhi-Patna rail route. There are at least 50 trains from Patna to Buxar, most of which cross through Buxar. If you plan on booking a train from Patna to Buxar, choose one which originates from Patna. On the return journey, many trains get delayed, so book a taxi instead. Buxar is also well-connected by road to other parts of the state and work has begun to widen the road between Buxar and Patna
Location: 135 km from Patna

The Information

When to Go: October-March

Getting There
Air Patna (150 km/3 hrs). Taxi charges approx. â‚¹3,150-3,465 to Buxar
Rail Buxar Station is well connected with Patna and major cities in North India such as Howrah, Mumbai, Ahmedabad and New Delhi
Road Buxar is linked by good roads to Patna and other major cities. A road bridge over the Ganga connects Buxar with Ballia district in UP.
Bus Several state transport and private buses connect Buxar with the major cities

Where to Stay & Eat
BSTDC’s Vishwamitra Vihar (Tel: 06183-232383, Mobile: 09304841101; Tariff: ₹1,000-1,200) with 15 rooms and a suite is the best choice in Buxar. They have a restaurant and power back-up. Apsara Hotel (Mobile: 09431083521; Tariff: ₹300-1,000) is located on Station Road. It has AC and non-AC rooms with a restaurant and generator. Their restaurant serves Indian fare. There are some small eateries in town but nothing exceptional.

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