History of Patna
Patna an ancient and historical city was founded in the 6th century BC by Ajatshatru, a Magadha king, who first built a small fort in Pataligram on the banks of the holy river Ganga which later developed into the present day Patna.Patna has witnessed different phases of Indian history from ancient Mauryan days to Sultanate era and also saw the arrival of English East India Company. It became a hub of nationalism during struggle for freedom during Quit India Movement of 1942.
How the City Got Its Name ?
Patna received its current name during the reign of Sher Shah Suri. It is believed that the name of the city Patna is derived from the name of Hindu goddess Patan Devi. The other theories are that as Patna is situated near the confluence of four rivers, it has been a major port over the years, hence the name is derived from “pattan” which means port in Sanskrit.Another popular belief is that Patna is the short form of its earlier name Pataliputra.Pataliputra has been an intrinsic part of ancient India’s two great empires - the Mauryas and the Guptas. Patna remained capital of the Magadha Empire for over 1000 years (600BCE to 600CE). It is counted amongst the oldest imperial metropolis capital city of the world. Over the years the capital city was renamed by the reigning kings and thus Patna was known by many names-Pataligram, Palibothra, Kusumpura, Pataliputra, Pushpapura, Azeemabad.
Patna during ancient periods of history
The Haryanka dynasty (684BCE -424BCE) had his capital in Rajagriha. This dynasty was overthrown by the Nanda dynasty, which ruled for over a 100 years. They were followed by the Mauryan dynasty. It was Ajatshatru, a Magadha king (491-461 BCE) who moved the capital from Rajagriha to Pataliputra the present day Patna. As the Mauryan empire grew to its glory, Pataliputra became a significant centre of power in the Indian subcontinent.Between 6th century BC and 5th century AD, Pataliputra was the dominant place for political fortunes of the whole north India. Pataliputra was considered a centre for learning and fine arts. Under emperor Ashoka’s reign, Patna emerged as an important capital of the Indian subcontinent. It was he who transformed the city with stone constructions.After the Mauryan period, the Gupta dynasty took over the empire and it used Patna as its capital for its expanding kingdom. After the decline of Gupta empire Patna /Pataliputra lost its prominence as the political capital of India.
Patna during medieval periods of history
In the mid 12th century Patna became a part of the Delhi Sultanate, but by then it had lost its prominence as the learning and arts centre of India. During the reign of Sher Shah Suri in the 16th century, the city returned to its former glory, which can be experienced in the present day Patna. One of the first mosques in Patna was built by Alauddin Hussani Shah, the ruler of Bengal in the year 1489. It is known as Begu Hajjam's mosque as it was later renovated by a barber in the year 1646. The Nawabs of Bengal took over Patna after the end of the Mughal era.In the 17th century, Patna was popular for international trade. It is a birth place of Guru Gobind Singh, the last Sikh guru . Gurudwara Har Mandir Sahib is considered as one of the most important Takts in Sikhism.
Patna during British rule
The British took over Patna and found it to be an ideal regional capital.The old city was extended by the British and was called Bankipore. In 1620 they established a factory in Patna for the purchase and storage of calico and silk. During the British rule, Patna was a prominent commercial and trading hub in the eastern Indian subcontinent. It started regaining its lost splendor as a prominent learning and art centre of India.Patna was also home to two of the important freedom struggle movements, namely the Champaran movement against the Indigo plantation and the Quit India Movement in 1942.Patna has continued to be the capital of Bihar state after independence in 1947. However Bihar state was partitioned in the year 2000 and Jharkhand with capital Ranchi was formed as a separate state.