WATERFALLS IN BIHAR- A SUMMARY
The word ‘Bihar’ has been derived from the Sanskrit and Pali language ‘vihara’ meaning ‘abode’. The state had ‘abodes’ of the Buddhists in nearly all parts of the state. The waterfalls in Bihar have some significance attached to the religion for both the Hindus and Buddhists.
Most of the waterfalls in Bihar are found in or near wild life sanctuaries. Visitors to these waterfalls relish these advantages on their weekends and picnics. The sound of cool water gushing down from rugged territories up ahead relieves all tensions and tiredness after the visit to the waterfalls. The bright and transparent pool at the bottom of the cascade invites and rejuvenates the visitor.
Some of these pools have the advantage of water sports facilities and such falls have become a major destination in Bihar. Some of them hold religious significance also. Most of them make a pretty breath taking view as they are located in dense wilderness and they behold such tranquility in an otherwise busy life of these visitors.
These waterfalls mostly come alive during the monsoon season and present an awe inspiring picture. The mist that generates from the down pour and the thundering sound creates the kind of ambience that is really fascinating.
Bihar had been inhabited even during the Mesolithic period. There are stone paintings on the rocks and caves displaying sun, moon, stars, animals, plants, trees and rivers. These paintings were found in the hilly regions of Kaimur, Nawada and Jamui.
The state beholds a treasury of variegated wealth of human civilization. Ancient Bihar was known as Magadha. The place was a great centre for learning and a centre of power for more than a century. There are a number of ruins and sites in Bihar that testifies to the fact it has been the centre of culture and learning. Bihar was the region where the oldest and the first empire established by the Mauryas was situated. This was the place where the world’s first pacifist religion, Buddhism was born. The state also witnessed the birth of ancient texts, excluding religious epics. The Abhijnanasakunthalam was created here. The state also had been a mute witness to various dynasties that ruled that part of India like the Mauryas, Guptas and many others. Bihar was also a great learning centre of Buddhism, Jainism, Sikhism and Hinduism. Bihar has an important Buddhist circuit where the Buddhist pilgrims and tourists flock to learn more about the preaching of Buddha and his travel over the region.
There are some important places like Vaishali, which was one of the earliest republics during the 6th century BC. This was the place where Buddha last preached his sermon. Vaishali was also the place where Lord Mahavira, the prophet of Jainism was born, a sacred place to the Jains.
Another place that has been mentioned in the realms of history is Pataliputra, now known as Patna, the present capital of Bihar. Pataliputra is one of the first ever capitals in the world with a continuity of many decades as an imperial metropolis even of the great Gupta and Maurya dynasties.
Rajgir, a town about 19 kms. from Nalanda was the capital of the Magadha Empire. It was here that the great Gauthama Buddha often went to meditate and to preach. This place is also sacred to the Jains as Lord Mahavira spent some time in this place.
Bihar also saw the rise and fall of many dynasties including that of the Suri dynasty and in 1912 this region became a part of the British Indian Empire.
The climate of the region is generally sub tropical; being hot in summers and cold in winters. The temperatures hover between 00C to 100C in winter and between 350 to 400C in summer.
It may be noted that civilization dawned in this area close to rivers. The rivers that flow in the state are the River Ganges and its tributaries Gandak and Koshi flowing in from the Nepal Himalayas and River Bagmati flowing from the Kathmandu Valley.
Bihar is one fascinating tourist spot since it is one of the oldest places in the world with inhabitant’s history of over 3000 years. There are many monuments, temples and other places of interest like sanctuaries and waterfalls. This is one place where the old meld with the living present; where temples and monuments stand as memories of the past in places near places where waterfalls are situated. Most of these waterfalls are sacred and have stories added on. Pilgrims revere the waters and believe that a dip in these sacred waters absolve them of all sins. They also believe that a dip in one such waterfall relieves them from being a snake in the next re- birth. Some of the more famous waterfalls in Bihar are:
- Kakolat Waterfalls: Located about 33 kms from Nawada, this is a popular tourist site in Bihar. The water cascades from a height of 160 feet and the place is a refreshing change where the visitor feels rejuvenated. There is a natural pond at the base of the fall. It is situated near the border that Bihar shares with Jharkand. There is a legend connected to the waterfall. The story is that during Treta Yug, a king was cursed and he took the form of a python. The king was later absolved from the curse when the Pandavas came to the place on their exile. The falls have facilities for watersports, and boating and is an important tourist destination.
- Karkat Waterfall: The Kaimur Hills in Kaimur District is famous for the Karkat waterfall. It is a picturesque spot and an enchanting one. Visitors are drawn to the location where the water gushes down from a ravine. Karkat Waterfall has facilities for boating, swimming and fishing. The Kaimur Wildlife Sanctuary is near this waterfall.
- Telhar Waterfall: It is located near B T Road in Kaimur District. Water cascades down from a great height into a very deep pool. It is believed that the pool is very deep with strong under currents. Bathers are prohibited from swimming in this pool.
- Manjhar Kund and Dhua Kund Waterfall: These two waterfalls are in Sasaram. The flow is strong and the authorities have utilized them to produce 50 to 100 MW of electricity. There is a big festival in the premises during Raksha Bandhan.
- Tutrahi waterfall: This waterfall is beautiful and is situated in a unique setting. The falls is surrounded by three hills in an extraordinary arc form. The stream gushes out at a height of 100 metres and because of the arc like form, water that flows down is not very cold. The river that flows down is seasonal. The falls is located in Telauthu. There are monkeys and langurs in this place.
There are some other minor falls and springs like Sita Kund, Rishi Kund and North Tank that are of interest to visitors and to the religious minded. The religious offer prayers and take a dip in some of these tanks and streams on auspicious days.