Infobox Indian Jurisdiction
type =state
native_name =Bihar
state_name =Bihar, India
nickname ="The Land of Buddha and Mahavira"
skyline = Mahabodhitemple.jpg
skyline_caption = The Mahabodhi Temple, among the four holy sites related to the life of the Lord Buddha and UNESCO World Heritage Sitecite web
title=UNESCO Website
publisher= UNESCO
date= June 26, 2002
accessdate= 2002-06-26


base_map_label = yes
locator_position = right
inset_map_marker = yes
map_caption = Map of Bihar

latd = 25.37
longd =85.13
area_total =99200
area_total_cite =
area_rank =12th
area_magnitude =10

climate = ETh
precip = 1200
temp_annual = 27
temp_winter = 10
temp_summer = 34

population_total =82,998,509
population_total_cite =cite web
title = census of india
url =
work = Census of India 2001
publisher = Government of India
date = 27 May 2002
accessdate = 2007-04-14
population_year =2001
population_density =880
population_rank =3rd
official_languages =Hindi, English, Urdu, Bhojpuri, Magadhi and Maithili
sex_ratio = 919
literacy = 47.0
literacy_male = 59.7
literacy_female = 33.1

capital =Patna
largest_city =Patna
largest_metro =Patna
region =Angika Region, Bhojpuri Region, Magadh Region, Mithila Region
division =Patna, Tirhut, Saran, Darbhanga, Kosi, Purnia, Bhagalpur, Munger, Magadh
districts =38

leader_title_1 =1st Governor
leader_name_1 =J.Daulatram
leader_title_2 =1st Chief Minister
leader_name_2 =Sri Krishna Singh
leader_title_3 =1st Deputy Chief Minister
leader_name_3 =Dr. Anugrah Narayan Sinha
leader_title_4 =Governor
leader_name_4 =Raghunanthanlal Bhatia
leader_title_5 =Chief Minister
leader_name_5 =Nitish Kumar
leader_title_6 =Deputy Chief Minister
leader_name_6 =Sushil Kumar Modi
established_title =Bihar
established_date =1912
legislature_type =Bicameral
legislature_strength =243 + 96
parliament_const =parliamentary constituencies in Bihar
jurisdiction_title_1 =High Court
jurisdiction_name_1 =Patna High Court
jurisdiction_title_2 =District Courts of India

blank_title_2 = Governing body
blank_value_2 = Government of India, Government of Bihar

abbreviation = IN.BR
unlocode = INBR
vehicle_code_range = BR

portal = Bihar

footnotes =

seal_caption =Seal of Bihar
seal_size =100px

coord_title = yes
autocat = no|

Bihar (Hindi:बिहार, Urdu: بہار, IPA2|bɪhaːr, audio|Bihar.ogg|pronunciation) is a state in eastern India [cite web
last =
first =
title = State Profile
publisher = Bihar Government website
accessdate =
] [cite web
last =
first =
title = Food riots, anger as floods swamp South Asia
publisher = Reuters India
accessdate =
] . Bihar, which is the 12th largest state in terms of geographical size 38,202 sq mi (99,200 km²) and 3rd largest by population, has close to 85 per cent rural population. Almost 58 per cent of Biharis are below 25 years of agecite web
last = Guruswamy
first = Mohan
authorlink =
coauthors = Kaul Abhishek
title = The Economic Strangulation of Bihar
work =
publisher = Centre for Policy Alternatives, New Delhi, India
date = 2003-12-15
url =
format = pdf
doi =
accessdate =
] , which is the highest in India. It is a land–locked state, although the outlet to the sea through the port of Kolkata is not far away. Bihar lies mid-way between the humid West Bengal in the east and the sub humid Uttar Pradesh in the west which provides it with a transitional position in respect of climate, economy and culture. It is bounded by the country Nepal in the north and by Jharkhand in the south. The Bihar plain is divided into two unequal halves by the river Ganga which flows through the middle from west to east. Bihar has notified forest area of 6,764.14 km², which is 7.1 per cent [cite web
last =
first =
title = State Profile
publisher = Gov. of India
accessdate =
] of its geographical area. Hindi and Urdu are the official languages of the state, whilst the majority of the people speak one of the Bihari languages (once considered to be dialects of Hindi) - Bhojpuri, Magadhi, Maithili or Angika.

Ancient Bihar, also called Magadha, was a center of power, learning and culture in Ancient India. From Magadha arose India's first empire, the Maurya empire as well as one of the world's greatest pacifist religion, Buddhism. Magadha empires, notably under the Maurya and Gupta dynasties, unified large parts of northern South Asia under a central rule [cite web
last =
first =
title = The History of Bihar
publisher = Bihar Government website
accessdate =
] . Its capital Patna, earlier known as Pataliputra, was an important center of Indian civilization.

Today Bihar lags behind the other Indian states in human [cite web
first = Planning Commission of the Union Government
title = National Human Development Report
publisher = Planning Commission of the Union Government
date = 2001
url =
accessdate = 2008-08-10
] and economic development terms, [cite web
first = The Times of India
title = Bihar's 'first' Economic Survey Report tabled
publisher = The Times of India
date = 2007
url =
accessdate = 2008-08-10
] , whilst ethnic Biharis living in other states of India are victims of racist hate crimes [cite web
first = Arab News
title = Manmohan Condemns Killings in Assam
publisher = Arab News
date = 2007
url =
accessdate = 2008-08-13
] and prejudice. [cite web
first = Smita Mishra
title = Bihar… on the road to freedom
publisher = Zee News
date = 2008
url =
accessdate = 2008-08-22
] [cite web
first = The Times of India
title = Biharis an unwanted lot: Bal Thackeray
publisher = The Times of India
date = 2008
url =,prtpage-1.cms
accessdate = 2008-03-05
] [cite web
first = The Times of India
title = 'Bihari' has become an abuse
publisher = The Times of India
date = 2008
url =
accessdate = 2008-08-10
] Economists and social scientists claim that this is a direct result of the skewed policies of the central government like freight equalisation policy [Citation
first = Arvind N.| last = Das
author-link =
title = The Republic of Bihar
place = India
publisher = Penguin Books
year = 1992
isbn = 0140123512
] cite news
last = Goswami
first = Urmi A
title = 'Bihar Needs an Icon, a person who stands above his caste'(Dr Shaibal Gupta - Rediff Interview)
publisher = Rediff
date = 2005-02-16
url =
accessdate = 2005-02-16
] , its apathy towards Bihar [cite web
last = Guruswamy
first = Mohan
authorlink =
coauthors = Baitha Ramnis Attar, Mohanty Jeevan Prakash
title = Centrally Planned Inequality, the Tale of Two States – Punjab and Bihar
work =
publisher = Centre for Policy Alternatives, New Delhi, India
date = 2004-06-15
url =
format = pdf
doi =
accessdate =
] [cite web
last = Guruswamy
first = Mohan
authorlink =
coauthors = Mohanty Jeevan Prakash
title = The De-urbanisation of Bihar
work =
publisher = Centre for Policy Alternatives, New Delhi, India
date = 2004-02-15
url =
format = pdf
doi =
accessdate =
] , lack of Bihari sub-nationalism (resulting in no spokesperson for the state) [cite web
last = Gupta
first = Shaibal
publisher = Asian Development Research Institute (ADRI), Patna
accessdate = 2006-04-30
] , and the Permanent Settlement of 1793 by the British East India Company . The current state government has however made significant strides in improving governance [cite web
first = Aditi
last = Phadnis
title = Lalu in the red
publisher = Business Standard
date = 2008
url =
accessdate = 2008-08-10
] .The improved governance has led to an economic revivalcite news
last = Goswami
first = Urmi A
title = Biharis get work at home, bashers realise their worth
publisher = The Economic Times
date = 2008-06-17
url =
accessdate = 2008-06-17
] in the state through increased investment in infrastructure, better health care facilities, greater emphasis on education, and a reduction in crime and corruption. [cite news
last = Sharma
first = Supriya
coauthors = Jha, Abhay Mohan
title = Bihar witnesses a quiet transformation
publisher = NDTV
date = 2008-07-15
url =
accessdate = 2008-07-15
] [cite news
last = Jha
first = Abhay Mohan
title = English makes inroads in Bihar villages
publisher = NDTV
date = 2008-03-08
url =
accessdate = 2008-03-08
] Indian [cite news
last = Modi
first = Ajay
coauthors = Katakey, Rakteem
title = Reliance, Tata, Bharti eye Bihar sugar mills
publisher = Business Standard
date = 2007-12-06
url =
accessdate = 2007-12-06
] and global business and economic leaders feel that Bihar now has good opportunity for sustainable economic development, and as such have shown interest in investing in the state. [cite news
last = PTI
title = Global agencies show interest in Bihar growth
publisher = The Economic Times
date = 2008-02-18
url =
accessdate = 2008-02-18
] [cite news
last = Chaudhary
first = Pranava K
title = Reliance keen to invest in Bihar
publisher = The Times of India
date = 2007-10-20
url =
accessdate = 2007-10-20

Etymology of the name

The name "Bihar" is derived from the Sanskrit "vihār" ["Foreign invaders often used abandoned viharas as military cantonments; the word Bihar may have come from the large number of viharas thus employed in the area that later became Bihar. Originally Bihar was name of a town, which was headquarter of the Muslim invaders in the Magadha region in the medieval period. The town still exists and is called Bihar or Bihar Sharif (Nalanda District). Later on the headquarter was shifted from Bihar to Patana (current Patna) by Sher Shah Suri and the whole Magadha region was called Bihar."] (Devanagari: िवहार), means "abode". The region roughly encompassing the present state was dotted with Buddhist vihara, which were the abodes of Buddhist monks in the ancient and medieval period.


Bihar was called Magadha in ancient times. From Magadha arose two world religions, Jainism and Buddhism. The first Indian empire, the Maurya empire, originated from Magadha, with its capital at Patliputra (modern Patna) in 325 BC. The Mauryan Emperor, Ashoka, is believed to be one of the greatest rulers in the history of India and the world. Bihar remained an important place of power, culture and education during the next one thousand years. The Gupta Empire, which again originated from Magadha in 240CE, is referred to as the Golden Age of India in science, mathematics, astronomy, religion and Indian philosophy. The peace and prosperity created under leadership of Guptas enabled the pursuit of scientific and artistic endeavors. Historians place the Gupta dynasty alongside with the Han Dynasty, Tang Dynasty and Roman Empire as a model of a classical civilization. The capital of Gupta empire was Pataliputra, present day Patna. The Vikramshila and Nalanda Universities, were among the oldest and best centres of education in ancient India.

Buddhism flourished till 400CE. The period between the 400 CE and 1000 CE saw gains by Hinduism at the expense of Buddhism. [ [ Online BBC News Article: Religion & Ethics - Hinduism] ,BBC News, 2 January 2007] .

Muhammad Bin Bakhtiar Khilji, captured Bihar in 12th century. Many of the viharas and the famed universities of Nalanda and Vikramshila were destroyed, and thousands of Buddhist monks were massacred during the invasion. [Gopal Ram, Rule [,M1 Hindu Culture During and After Muslim] , pp. 20, "Some invaders, like Bakhtiar Khilji, who did not know the value of books and art objects, destroyed them in large numbers and also the famous Nalanda ..."] [The Maha-Bodhi By Maha Bodhi Society, Calcutta (page 8) ]

The region saw a brief period of glory for six years (1540 -1546 CE) during the rule of Sher Shah Suri, who built the longest road of the Indian subcontinent, the Grand Trunk Road. The economic reforms carried out by Sher Shah, like the introduction of Rupee and Custom Duties, is still used in the Republic of India. He revived the city of Patna, where he built up his headquarter. During 1557-1576, Akbar, the Mughal emperor, annexed Bihar and Bengal to his empire. With the decline of the Mughals, Bihar passed under the control of the Nawabs of Bengal. Thus, the medieval period was mostly one of anonymous provincial existence. The 10th and the last "Guru" of Sikhism, Guru Gobind Singh was born in Patna.

After the Battle of Buxar (1764), the British East India Company obtained the diwani rights (rights to administer, and collect revenue or tax) for Bihar, Bengal and Orissa. From this point, Bihar remained a part the Bengal Presidency of the British Raj until 1912, when the province of Bihar and Orissa was carved out as a separate province. In 1935, certain portions of Bihar were reorganised into the separate province of Orissa.

Babu Kunwar Singh of Jagdishpur and his army, as well as countless other persons from Bihar, contributed to the India's First War of Independence (1857), also called the Sepoy Mutiny by some historians. Resurgence in the history of Bihar came during the struggle for India's independence. It was from Bihar that Mahatma Gandhi launched his pioneering civil-disobedience movement, Champaran Satyagraha. Raj Kumar Shukla drew the attention of Mahatma Gandhi to the exploitation of the peasants by European indigo planters. Champaran Satyagraha received the spontaneous support from many Biharis, including Rajendra Prasad, who became the first President of India and Anugrah Narayan Sinha who ultimately became the [cite web
title=First Bihar Deputy CM cum Finance Minister;Dr. A N Sinha
author=Indian Post
publisher=official Website
] first Deputy Chief Minister cum Finance Minister of Bihar.

In North and Central Bihar, peasants movement was an important side effect of the freedom movement. This movement aimed at overthrowing the feudal (zamindari) system instituted by Britishers. It was being led by Swami Sahajanand Saraswati and his followers Pandit Yamuna Karjee, Rahul Sankrityayan, Pandit Karyanand Sharma, Baba Nagarjun and others. Pandit Yamuna Karjee along with Rahul Sankritayan and a few others started publishing a Hindi weekly Hunkar from Bihar, in 1940. Hunkar later became the mouthpiece of the peasant movement and the agrarian movement in Bihar and was instrumental in spreading the movement.

Bihar's contribution in the Indian freedom struggle has been immense with outstanding leaders like Swami Sahajanand Saraswati, Dr. Rajendra Prasad, Sri Krishna Sinha, Dr.Anugrah Narayan Sinha, Brajkishore Prasad, Mulana Mazharul Haque, Jayaprakash Narayan, Satyendra Narayan Sinha, Basawon Singh, Rameshwar Prasad Sinha, Yogendra Shukla, Baikuntha Shukla, Sheel Bhadra Yajee, Pandit Yamuna Karjee and many others who worked for India's freedom relentlessly and helped in the upliftment of the underprivileged masses. [cite web
title=Great freedom Fighters
publisher=Kamat's archive
] Khudiram Bose, Upendra Narayan Jha "Azad", Prafulla Chaki and Baikuntha Shukla were active in revolutionary movement in Bihar.

The state of Jharkhand was carved out of Bihar in the year 2000. [ [] ] 2005 Bihar assembly elections ended the 15 years of continuous RJD rule in the state, giving way to NDA led by Nitish Kumar. Bihari migrant workers have faced violence and prejudice in many parts of India, like Maharashtra, Punjab and Assam. [cite web
title=Scared Biharis arrive from Mumbai
author=Kumod Verma
publisher=The Times of India
] [cite web
title=30 Killed in Northeast Violence in India
publisher=Washington Post
] [cite web
title=40 Bihari Workers Killed by ULFA Activists in Assam

Geography & climate

Geography: Bihar is mainly a vast stretch of very fertile flat land. It is drained by the Ganges River, including northern tributaries Gandak and Koshi originating in the Nepal Himalayas and the Bagmati originating in the Kathmandu Valley that regularly inundate parts of the Bihar plains. Other Ganges tributaries are the Son, Budhi Gandak, Chandan, Orhani and Falgu. The Himalayas begin at foothills a short distance inside Nepal but influence Bihar's landforms, climate, hydrology and culture. Central parts of Bihar have some small hills, for example the Rajgir hills. To the south is the Chota Nagpur plateau, which was part of Bihar until 2000 but now is part of a separate state called Jharkhand.

Climate: Bihar is mildly cold in the winter (the lowest temperatures being around 5 to 10 degrees Celsius; 40 to 50 degrees Fahrenheit). Winter months are December and January. It is hot in the summer (with average highs around 35-40 Celsius; 95-105 Fahrenheit). April to mid June are the hot months. The monsoon months of June, July, August, and September see good rainfall. October & November and February & March have pleasant climate.


Bihar has close to 90 per cent rural population. Almost 58 per cent of Biharis are below 25 years age, which is highest in India. Hinduism is practiced by 83.2% of the population and forms the majority religion in the state. [ Indian Census] ] Islam is practiced by 16.5% of the population, and other religions less than 0.5%.Since ancient times Bihar has attracted migrants and settlers including Aryans, Bengalis, Turks from Central Asia, Persians, Afghans and Punjabi Hindu Refugees during the Partition of India in 1947. [ [ Census GIS HouseHold ] ]

Government and administration

Historically, Bihar has been a major centre of learning, home to the ancient universities of Nalanda University ("Estd." 450 CE) and Vikramshila University ("Estd." 783 AD) [Altekar, Anant Sadashiv (1965). Education in Ancient India, Sixth, Varanasi: Nand Kishore & Bros.] . Unfortunately, that tradition of learning which had its origin from the time of Buddha or perhaps earlier, was lost during the medieval period when it is believed that marauding armies of the invaders destroyed these centers of learning.cite journal
last = Scott
first = David
title = Buddhism and Islam: Past to Present Encounters and Interfaith Lessons
journal = Numen
volume = 42
issue = 2
pages =
date = May, 1995

Bihar saw a revival of its education system during the later part of the British rule when they established Patna University("Estd." 1917) which is "7th oldest University of the Indian subcontinent" [ Patna University] . Some other centers of high learning established by British rule are Patna College("Estd." 1839), Bihar School of Engineering ("Estd." 1900,now (National Institute of Technology, Patna), Prince of Wales Medical College ("Estd." 1925, now Patna Medical College and Hospital), Science College, Patna ("Estd." 1928) and many more.

After independence Bihar lost the pace in term of establishing center of education. Modern Bihar has a grossly inadequate educational infrastructure creating a huge mismatch between demand and supply. This problem further gets compounded by the growing aspirations of the people and an increase in population. The craving for higher education among the general population of Bihar has led to a massive migration of the student community from the state. This has prompted many students to seek educational opportunities in other states, such as New Delhi and Karnataka, even for graduation level college education. Bihar has the lowest literacy rate in India, with women's literacy being only 33.57%. At the time of independence women's literacy in Bihar was 4.22%. It is a pleasant surprise to find that in spite of the meagre investment on education in Bihar, specially compared to other Indian states, the students have done very well. Famed national institutes of learning such as IITs, IIMs, NITs and AIIMS have always have had a good representation from Bihar which is usually higher than their proportion of the population, though none of these institutions are physically located in Bihar. Other institutions of higher learning, and coveted positions in the government also show a greater share than the percentage of their population. A recent survey by Pratham [ [ Pratham .org | Pratham - A Network of Societal Missions to Achieve Universal Primary Education in India ] ] rated the absorption of their teaching by the Bihar children better than those in other states.

Bihar established several new education institutes between 2006-2008. On 8 August, 2008 IIT of India was inaugurated in Patna with 109 students from all our India. [cite news | last = Jha | first = Abhay Mohan | title = Brand new IIT in Patna impresses all | publisher = NDTV | date = 2008-08-04 | url = | accessdate = 2008-08-04 ] .On 4 August, 2008, National Institute of Fashion Technology, Patna ("NIFTP") was established as 9th NIFT of India. [ [,008700010014.htm NIFT starts classes in Patna] ] Chanakya National Law University a law university and Chandragupt Institute of Management a management institute was established in later half of 2008.


Bihar has three airports: Lok Nayak Jayaprakash Airport, Patna, Gaya Airport, Gaya and Bhagalpur Airport . Patna airport is connected to Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Lucknow, and Ranchi. It is categorized as a restricted international airport, with customs facilities to receive international chartered flights. Gaya Airport, airport is a small international airport connected to Colombo, Singapore, Bangkok and more.

Bihar is well-connected by railway lines to the rest of India. Most of the towns are interconnected among themselves, and they also are directly connected to Kolkata, Delhi and Mumbai. Patna, Muzaffarpur, Darbhanga, Katihar, Barauni, Chhapra, Bhagalpur and Gaya are Bihar's best-connected railway stations.

The state has a vast network of National and State highways. For Buddhist pilgrims, the best option for travel to Bihar is to reach Patna or Gaya, either by air or train, and then travel to Bodh Gaya, Nalanda, Rajgir and Vaishali. Sarnath in Uttar Pradesh also is not very far.

Fauna and Flora

The Ganges River dolphin, or “susu” occur in the Ganga and Brahmaputra, south Asia’s largest river systems. It can now be considered amongst the most endangered mammals of the region.

The Ganges river dolphin ranges from 2.3 to 2.6 meters in length. The tail fluke is on average 46cm in width. Females are larger than males. The color of this dolphin varies from lead-colored to black. The undersides are lighter in color. The rostrum is 18 to 21cm in length and the forehead is steep and rises abruptly from the base of the snout. The dorsal fin is rudimentary and ridge-like, and the ends of the pectoral fins are squared instead of tapered. The neck is visibly constricted and the blowhole is a longitudinal slit. There are 28 to 29 teeth on either side of the jaw. The eye and optic nerve of the Ganges river dolphin are degenerate. The eye lacks a lens and is therefore incapable of forming images on the retina. However, it functions in light-detection. It is believed that the lack of a true visual apparatus in the river dolphin is related to its habitat; the water in which it lives is so muddied that vision in essentially useless.

Place of Interest

Bihar is one of the oldest inhabited places in the world with history of 3000 years. The rich culture and heritage of Bihar is evident from the innumerable ancient monuments that are dotted all over the state in eastern India. Bihar is home of many tourist attractions. Bihar is visited by scores of tourists from all over the World all the year round. [ Statics Tourism in Bihar on Indian Government's website] ] .Around total 6,000,000 (6 million) tourist visits Bihar every year.

In the earliest day, tourism in region was purely based Educational tourism as Bihar was home of some prominent ancient universities like Nalanda University & Vikramaśīla University [Wriggins, Sally Hovey. "Xuanzang: A Buddhist Pilgrim on the Silk Road". Westview Press, 1996. Revised and updated as "The Silk Road Journey With Xuanzang". Westview Press, 2003. ISBN 0-8133-6599-6.] [ [ A Record of Buddhistic Kingdoms: Being an account by the Chinese Monk Fa-Hien of his travels in India and Ceylon (A.D. 399-414) in search of the Buddhist Books of Discipline] ". Oxford, Clarendon Press. Reprint: New York, Paragon Book Reprint Corp. 1965. ISBN 0-486-21344-7] .

Bihar one of the most sacred place of various religions like Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, Sikhism & Islam, Many tourist travel to Bihar to visit their pilgrimage.

Mahabodhi Temple, a Buddhist shrine and UNESCO World Heritage Site is also situated in Bihar.Mahatma Gandhi Setu, Patna, is one of the longest bridge in the world.


References and footnotes

External links

Government websites
* [ Official website]
* [ Accurate and authentic about Bihar State]
* [ Profile at the Government of India website]

* [ India's First Multimedia Museum at Nalanda]
* [ Cool Bihari]
* [ Bihar times]
* [ Patna Daily]

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