Museums & Art Galleries: Bihar

State Museum, Patna
The State Museum, established in 1917, has an excellent collection of stone and terracotta sculpture especially from the Mauryan period. The most outstanding piece is of course the Didarganj yakshi. A larger than life voluptuous female figure carved from the yellowish sandstone from Chunar, Bihar, the glossy sheen of the surface is a characteristic feature of the Mauryan school.

The terracotta collection includes excavated antiquities from Pataliputra, Kosambhi, Gaya and other important Mauryan and Gupta sites. On view are toys, icons and mother goddess figures. The bronzes on view include early Buddhist figures, a standing Buddha and bodhisattvas.

State Museum Budh Road,
Timing: 10.30 am to 4.30 pm
Closed on Mondays and government holidays.

Gaya Museum, Gaya
Gaya, 206 km from Patna is an ancient Hindu and Buddhist pilgrimage site. It is believed that Vishnu's sacred footprint is preserved in the Vishnupad temple.

The museum was established in 1952 to house the many antiquities discovered in this historic land. On view are ancient sculpture, bronzes and terracotta. There is a section on numismatics, the decorative arts, paintings, manuscripts, arms and armoury, geology and natural history. The children's section includes a dolls' house.

Gaya Museum
Gaya 823 001
Timing: 10.00 am to 5.00 pm
Closed on Mondays and some government holidays.

Archaeological Museum, Nalanda
Ninety kilometres south of Patna lies Nalanda, the historic Buddhist university. It is believed that the Buddha preached here and the Mauryan emperor Ashoka built the famous monastery. The excavated ruins are spectacular, with chapels, monasteries and lecture halls symmetrically spread over a large area.

The museum, established in 1915, exhibits archaeological discoveries like sculpture, terracotta, bronzes as well as architectural friezes, panels, pillars and other fragments. The antiquities on view portray the spiritual and meditative principles of Buddhism, especially as it must have existed at Nalanda.

Archaeological Museum
Nalanda Timing: 9.00 am to 5.00 pm
Open on all days.

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