The capital of Bihar, an immensely fertile, arched stretch of land along the southern bank of the Ganges. The history and cultural heritage of modern day Patna, go back well over two millennia. Like Delhi, Patna too had been the regal seat of governance for successive kingdoms, since ancient times. Early in the 5th century BC, Ajatasahtru shifted his capital of the Magadha Empire from Rajgir to Patna, then called Pataliputra. Fulfilling Buddha's prophecy that a great city would arise here. For almost a 1000 years it was one of the most important cities of the subcontinent and the capital of a huge empire spanning most of ancient India under the rule of Chandragupta Maurya and Ashoka.
The city regained its political importance in the mid 16th century AD when Sher Shah made it his capital and renamed it Azimabad after defeating the Mughal emperor Humayun. Subsequently it passed to the British in 1764 after the Battle of Buxar.
Today Patna is an important business centre of eastern India. More significantly, it is a gateway to the Buddhist and Jain pilgrim centres of Vaishali, Rajgir, Nalanda, Bodhgaya etc.