Ah, the monsoon season, the time when it all turns green, the clouds dance and the atmosphere makes everything nice and happy everywhere.
Just when the world has given up on everything after burning in the hot summer season, the rains arrive as a promise to make things better.
Every year, I choose a place to experience the changes that it goes through during this season. To me, it is an incredible sight to behold the numerous wonders that this weather creates. In South it is The Western Ghats that take your heart away, in Rajasthan, the arrival of clouds over the deserts is an incredible sight. So when you are done with all, where would you go? Well I decided to come to Bihar.
Monsoon in Bihar is considered very important. The summer season is harsh and the need for rain becomes high as the temperature rises. About 60% of the population of Bihar is dependent on farming. For them, the arrival of this season ensures that their crops will find the fertile soil that the floods of Ganga and Sone would bring.
On the other hand, the monsoon season also means huge toll on life and property as a majority of rivers flood and cause disaster during this season.
Bihar’s monsoon experience is unique because hardly anyone has seen it from a traveler or a photographer’s POV. Some of the best places to visit in Bihar have the scenic views as a major highlight but it often goes unnoticed.
Last year, I did an extensive monsoon trail of this state and visited some of the most beautiful places from where you can enjoy the rains.
Warning: Bihar’s flood situation makes a lot of places avoidable. Do your research and confirm with Bihar Tourism before planning a solo trip.
Gujhandi, Bihar Jharkhand Border
Gujhandi is a small sleepy town on the border of Bihar and Jharkhand. Once known for the presence of Naxals, Gujhandi marks the point from where the hills of Chhotanagpur Plateau start to rise. The sheer greenery of these hills, which are not that huge in size, is so mesmerizing that you can simply stare in awe for hours. Trains that travel between Patna and Ranchi, cross Gujhandi to leave Bihar and enter Jharkhand. The difference in landscape of these two states is so recognizable that you can see the plains changing into hills slowly.
Hajipur is known for two reasons. Vaishali is the birthplace of Lord Mahavira, which is the district headquarter of Hajipur and yummy small bananas that are grown on the floodplains of Ganges. Traveling to Hajipur is an act of absolute daredevilry. You travel from Patna and reach an ancient bridge known as Gandhi Setu. This bridge has lived its course and can no longer sustain the weight of vehicles passing by. But for now, this is the only way to travel to Hajipur. This or if you have courage to sit on the overcrowded trains that take a lifetime to reach its destination.
So you cross the bridge and reach the point where the Ganges end its stretch. The soil is so fertile that you’ll only see greenery and nothing else during this time. The endless cluster of banana plantations spread across distances create a sight that teaches the importance of monsoon in this state.
Koilwar, A small town located on the banks of River Sone is the sign that you are about to arrive Patna. River Sone is not very noticeable, it dries up in summers and becomes a raging ground for the sand mafia. So when monsoon arrives in Koilwar, Sone River magically fills and almost floods. A mesmerizing composition of white sand and turquoise waters of Sone makes everything look really pretty.
Koilwar is between Aarah and Patna. The local passenger trains take 45 minute to reach here. You can also enjoy the sight from express trains traveling on Mughalsarai – Patna route.
While the Ganges remain a simple river-stream around Patna, it becomes a mighty structure as it moves further. One such place is Bhagalpur. Filled with mythical stories, old timey industries and hundred year old temples, Bhagalpur’s villages are depended on The Flooding Ganges so that their winter crops give the best yield.
The Ganges division of Bhagalpur has a number of islands where ancient artifacts have been found. The river route to these islands is closed during this weather, visiting the boating point will certainly show the beauty of monsoon in this region.
I would not mention Patna if I didn’t live here. Of many troubles and major inconvenience that this city has given me over ages, I can still vouch for the fact that monsoon changes everything here. You go to Mahendru Ghat in the evening and watch the sunset. The town itself changes its appearance if you can survive the occasional flooding :P.
Bihar is not mainstream or well known on the tourism maps of the country. But slowly, a lot is changing. People here are simple and the local politics that once ruined this state’s image is going away. Even though the monsoon season means never-ending battle with mosquitoes, and surviving clogged drains, that is limited only to cities. The villages still make you appreciate the simplicity and love for slow things in life.