#BlissfulBihar: Rendezvous with Art, Culture and Cuisine

#BlissfulBihar: Rendezvous with Art, Culture and Cuisine
The Pillar of Ashoka at Vaishali is a prominent part of the Buddhist circuit , Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Often overlooked, Bihar is a treasure trove hidden in plain sight

OT Staff
December 10 , 2020
04 Min Read

Bihar’s rich culture, abundant heritage and architectural ruins are treasures hidden in plain sight. Not just perfect for those looking for spirituality, but the state also feels like home to those looking to immerse themselves in history. It is in Bihar where the ancient empires rose and fell. The state is also where one can find the ruins of the earliest libraries and universities. While history, culture and spirituality can always been seen on blissful Bihar’s surface, it’s the art and food that steal the show for the intrepid traveller.

Cuisine
The litti chokha is a famous savoury dish of Bihar
When talking about cuisine in Bihar, simplicity is what comes to mind. Richly flavoured and made using wholesome ingredients, food in Bihar is reflective of its culture. The Litti Chokha is one of the famous main course dishes of the state. The Litti and Chokha are two separate items clubbed together. The litti is a wheat cake, prepared with fried gram flour which is then salted and baked. Filled with special spices and served with ghee, it often combined with mashed potato or brinjal—chokha. For those with a sweet tooth the options here aplenty. From the moist and soft malpua to the crunchy balushahi, desserts here do not disappoint. The malpua is a specialty of the state and made with flour, milk, coconut, cashews and raisins coated with sugar and green cardamom. For a crunchy, unusual blend, try the balushahi, in Runi-Saidpur particularly famous for the sweet. Coked in ghee it is deep fried and made of flour. While talking about lip-smacking desserts, the laddoo of Maner can not be left out. A ball-shaped sweet, made of gram-flour, sugar and ghee, you will find them in almost every sweet shop, but if looking for the best, head to Maner (about 30km from Patna). Another hard to miss sweet in the state is tilkut and anarsa. These round shaped sweets comprise of til, sugar and a combination of rice flour and white sesame seeds. 

READ: Gwalior, Orchha on UNESCO World Heritage City List

Art
A traditional Madhubani painting in the making
Art forms in Bihar are delicate, detailed and intricate work. Apart from Madhubani painting, traditional art forms in Bihar are many and will often leave you spoilt for choice. One such art from is Tikuli painting. With a history of over 8 centuries, it is a from of hand painting that has continued to evolve over the years. This historically significant art form is a source of livelihood for many and is done using small bindis. The well-renowned Madhubani painting has put the art forms of Bihar on a global map. Initially done on walls and floors using natural dyes, these paintings can now be found on paper and canvas also.

Done using fingers, twigs, and match sticks amid other things, geometrical patterns generally grace the the medium on which the painting is done. Bihar is also known for the ancient art form of terracotta products. Aesthetically pleasing this art form involves artisans using potters’ wheel and forming shapes using mitti. The handcrafted pieces are also subjected to burning over coal and ultimately are of great cultural value. 

READ: Rajasthan is UN-ravelling Potential of Intangible Cultural Tourism

Circuit Networks 
The Maner Sharif forms a part of the Sufi Circuit in Bihar
In order to promote tourism within the state, the government has also devised various tourist circuits, namely Sikh circuit, Buddhist circuit, Eco circuit, Jain circuit, Ramayan circuit and Sufi circuit. Each network trail is equal parts spirituality and religion. While the Buddhist circuit traces the footsteps of Lord Buddha, the Sufi circuit has its doors wide open for all devotees and emphasises spirituality. Bihar is also naturally abundant with scenic vistas and sprawling landscapes, which helps promote ecological tourism and hence enabling the Eco circuit. The circuit covers undisturbed and pristine natural areas along with familiarising tourists with the area, local people as well as conservation efforts. A journey across the Jain circuit takes people back in time to the life and journey of Lord Mahavira. The Ramayan circuit, significant to Hindus, features locations that were mentioned in the mythological legend and the temples here can be found depicting the tales of Ram and Sita. The Sikh circuit takes one through the gurdwaras and Sikh shrines that commemorate the events in the life of Shri Guru Gobind Singh Ji who’s birth place was Bihar.

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