Things to do in Bihar, India: The Best Museums

October 21, 2021 Moriah Teneyck

Bihar (/bɪˈhɑːr/; Hindustani pronunciation: [bɪˈɦaːr]) is an Indian state considered to be a part of Eastern as well as Northern India. It is the 13th-largest state of India, with an area of 94,163 km (36,357 sq mi). The third-largest state of India by population, it is contiguous with Uttar Pradesh to its west, Nepal to the north, the northern part of West Bengal to the east, with Jharkhand to the south. The Bihar plain is split by the river Ganges which flows from west to east. Bihar is an amalgamation of three main distinct regions, these are Magadh, Mithila and Bhojpur.
Restaurants in Bihar

1. Jalan Museum

Sher Shah's Fort, Patna India
Excellent
46%
Good
50%
Satisfactory
0%
Poor
0%
Terrible
4%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 26 reviews

Jalan Museum

Reviewed By atulya_sinha - Kolkata (Calcutta), India

The story of this museum began in 1541, when Sher Shah Suri – who briefly occupied the imperial throne at Delhi – revived the ancient town of Patliputra and built a fort on the south bank of the Ganga. Centuries passed and the fort crumbled, while Patna developed into a major trading centre. The site of the old fort, with its commanding view of the river, came into the possession of the East Indian Company and subsequently the Nawab of Gaya. In 1919, this property was acquired by Radha Krishna Jalan (1882-1954) the youngest of four brothers of a renowned business family. Mr (later Dewan Bahadur) R. K. Jalan went on to become a prominent member of Patna’s society and gained fame as a collector of art and antiques. When the original building was badly damaged by the great earthquake of 1934, he engaged the renowned architects Blady, Thomson & Mathew to design a new residential building, with adequate space to house his growing collection. The new bungalow was designed in the “art-deco” style in vogue in those days, while incorporating elements of English and Dutch architecture. This palatial building is now known as Quila House, named after the fort which once stood there. The Dewan Bahadur visited Europe in 1935 and again in 1953, each time for several months. This was an era when Europe was in turmoil and precious works of art were often on sale. This enabled him to acquire a large variety of objets d’art which caught his fancy. But he did not restrict himself to European art – he also collected Chinese, Tibetan, Turkish and – of course – Indian artefacts. The Jalan collection can well be compared with the older and larger collection of the Salar Jung family of Hyderabad. However, there is an important difference: the latter has been taken over by the government and put on public display, but the former is still owned and managed by the Jalan family. Though often described as a museum, Quila House – which houses the bulk of the collection – is a private residence and one has to take an appointment with the owners before visiting it. As far as I know, there is no system of tickets. Photography is not permitted. Visitors arriving at Quila House are greeted by the deep barks of Singham, the Alsatian which lives on the first floor. The spacious entrance lobby – which was used as a ballroom during the British Raj – is lined with vintage wooden cabinets containing a variety of objects, including cut glass and porcelain from different countries, Tibetan and Sanskrit manuscripts; and musical instruments. The highlight of this section is the Crown Derby dinner set once owned by George III of England – the plates have bold motifs and are adorned with gold, so they could be seen by the old monarch despite his failing eyesight! By the time one reaches the far end of the lobby, Mr Mahto, the faithful family retainer who acts a guide, mentions that there is much more to be seen inside! Next, one enters the small drawing room to meet Aditya and Kanak Jalan, the youthful and gracious hosts. The furniture is antique, but beautifully preserved. There are large and small porcelain plates carefully mounted with staples driven into the walls. There are also porcelain tiles decorated with verses from the Quran. Over cups of tea and home-made delicacies served in impeccable style, Mr Aditya Jalan discusses the objects on display and the passion with which they were amassed by his illustrious great grandfather. Successive generations have not only maintained the collection, he says, but also indulged in their own passions, be it sculpture, stamps, coins or miniature paintings. Mrs Jalan, who has been living here since her wedding, shares her own experiences and memories of distinguished visitors. Adjacent to the small drawing room is another room containing the Chinese collection, including pottery from different dynasties and statues of the Buddha and Tara Devi in the Tibetan tradition. An exceptionally fine bronze sculpture of Durga as “Mahishasur-mardini” is placed near the door which leads to this room from the small drawing room. Now we come to the grand drawing room, still used for receiving dignitaries and for holding family functions. The first impression one gets is the feeling of space, thanks to the high ceiling adorned with several chandeliers. There are multiple layers of carpets on the floor and French tapestries on the walls. There are two sets of antique chairs from France, described as Louis XV and Louis XVI respectively. The central portion of the room resembles the chambers of French aristocrats which have been re-created at the Louvre in Paris – but here one can actually step on the carpets and sit on the chairs, not just view them from afar. The French flavour continues as one exits the grand drawing room and enters the little room beyond it. The first thing which catches the eye is a glass cabinet containing some belongings of the unfortunate Marie Antoinette, followed by a four-poster bed once owned by Napoleon III of France. Next, one comes across an interesting collection of walking sticks from different parts of the world, belonging to the Dewan Bahadur himself. There is a small painting with bright colours displayed on the wall – described as a scaled down reproduction of a work by Rubens, but executed on porcelain. At the back of this room, there are a few exquisite examples of miniature paintings of the little-known Patna School, but painted on ivory instead of paper. There is a large oil painting over the doorway leading into the next room, but its colours have become dull with age. Finally, one reaches the Jade Room, said to contain one of the largest collections of jade in the world. Apart from the jade artefacts, there is an ivory palanquin which once belonged to Tipu Sultan, weapons from the Mughal dynasty as well as an assortment of clocks and pocket watches. This room houses some remarkable pieces of furniture, including a cabinet from Henry II of France and a table lined with glazed porcelain tiles from Persia. Another interesting display in this room is a broken chair – which had got damaged when Pandit Nehru stood on it to examine a clock! As one retraces one’s path through the grand drawing room, one notices other highlights, such as Russian panels with Christian themes and a magnificent silver dinner set from the Mughal era, said to have been used when Birbal hosted Akbar – and again when Nehru visited the Jalan family. It is a rare privilege to sign the visitor’s book, which carries autographs of previous visitors including princes, prime ministers, captains of industry, authors and film stars! One leaves with glowing memories of the masterpieces on display, surpassed only by the gracious hospitality of the owners.

2. Patna Museum

Vidyapati Marg, Patna India +91 612 223 5731
Excellent
42%
Good
44%
Satisfactory
10%
Poor
3%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 179 reviews

Patna Museum

Reviewed By 4G1356sunita - Bokaro Steel City, India

Patna museum is one of the oldest museum of India.It is locally known as Jadughar and situated in Buddhamarg.It is in the style of mughal and rajput architecture.The main items displayed here are archaeological objects,coins,arts,paintings,textiles,etc. of different periods.A fossil of a tree which is more than 200 million years old is also a must see item here.

3. Xuanzang Memorial

Nalanda 803111 India
Excellent
50%
Good
38%
Satisfactory
13%
Poor
0%
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4.5 based on 16 reviews

Xuanzang Memorial

Reviewed By Tulsi53 - Hyderabad, India

Xuan Zang, a Chinese Buddhist, travelled to Nalanda University and various other great centers of learning in India from Xian in China and returned to Xian in 645 AD after traveling a distance of 50,000 km in 17 years. This statue is at his memorial in Nalanda. Nalanda university was discovered based on his chronicles. The memorial has many maps tracing the route Mr Zhang travelled from Xian along the edge of gobi desert on the ancient silk route to Ferghana valley, Smarkhand and through the mountain passes of Hindu Khush mountains he entered the river valleys of northern India from where he travelled to central, western and southern parts of India.

4. Bihar Museum

Jawahar Lal Nehru Marg (Bailey Road), Patna 800001 India +91 612 223 5732 [email protected] http://biharmuseum.org/
Excellent
49%
Good
39%
Satisfactory
7%
Poor
2%
Terrible
3%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 41 reviews

Bihar Museum

Reviewed By 585amritak

This modern world-class museum is a must visit place with friends, family and even children in Patna. Kids love the place and the entire family can learn and enjoy. The food of the restaurant inside the museum is also very good.

5. Archaeological Society of India Museum

Gaya Center, Bodh Gaya 824231 India
Excellent
26%
Good
38%
Satisfactory
33%
Poor
3%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4.0 based on 39 reviews

Archaeological Society of India Museum

Reviewed By PattiR161 - Oakland, United States

This is well laid out. These ancient sculptures and pieces are right before your eyes. If you love ancient archways and sculptures, many from the 8th - 10th centuries, you will be captivated. Mostly Buddha but a great deal of Tara and a few other revered dieties. The carved intricacies are inches from your eyes. It's not huge, but I was compelled to walk through the middle room twice because I wanted to see this beauty again.

6. Bihar Police Museum

Nr. Golf Club Northern side of Jawaharlal Nehru Marg, Patna 800001 India
Excellent
30%
Good
50%
Satisfactory
10%
Poor
10%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4.0 based on 10 reviews

Bihar Police Museum

Reviewed By Excursion26271327442

Great place to visit if u are in patna,The place is meticulously built and presents a wide view of contemporary and historic art and craft.

7. Srikrishna Science Centre

Near Gandhi Maidan, Patna India +91 612 222 6992 http://ncsm.gov.in/
Excellent
40%
Good
44%
Satisfactory
13%
Poor
4%
Terrible
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Overall Ratings

4.0 based on 48 reviews

Srikrishna Science Centre

Reviewed By aui67563326

good place for kids ,the science center is awesome also awesome for kids, fun scence model are awesome , 3d show are awesome

8. Rajendra Smriti Sangrahalaya Museum

Vidyapeeth, Patna India
Excellent
25%
Good
63%
Satisfactory
13%
Poor
0%
Terrible
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4.0 based on 16 reviews

Rajendra Smriti Sangrahalaya Museum

Reviewed By aryan11111111

good place to know about first president of india, and also know about his contribution in his freedom struggle ,the simple life of our leader has affected most this place is awesome,

9. Patna Planetarium

8 Km From Patna, Patna India +91 612 223 5264 http://dst.bih.nic.in
Excellent
39%
Good
44%
Satisfactory
11%
Poor
3%
Terrible
3%
Overall Ratings

4.0 based on 62 reviews

Patna Planetarium

Reviewed By singhsushil - Varanasi, India

Its short name is tara mandal genarally people called it . Here is knowledge about planet . How to became the sun and all solar systems . With the help of videography .

10. Nalanda Archaeological Museum

Nalanda University, Nalanda India +91 98101 15661 [email protected]
Excellent
36%
Good
49%
Satisfactory
15%
Poor
0%
Terrible
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Overall Ratings

4.0 based on 53 reviews

Nalanda Archaeological Museum

Reviewed By Krishhere - Thiruvananthapuram (Trivandrum), India

The museum is located opposite the Nalanda ruins and houses priceless artifacts made of stone, metal and mud, excavated from the site. Some of them have been damaged. Charred remains of rice (part of Nalanda was destroyed by fire) are stored in a bowl.

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