Bihar is located in the eastern part of India. It is an important pilgrim center of Buddhists and is the home of Emperor Ashoka who preached ahimsa (non-violence) and spread the message of
Buddhism throughout the world. Bihar is bordered by the Himalayan kingdom of Nepal in the north and the states of Orissa, West Bengal,
Jharkhand and Uttar Pradesh. Bihar got its name from the word
vihara, which means 'Buddhist monastery.' Patna is the capital. To the south of Patna is Nalanda where a monastic university flourished from the 5th to the 11th century.
Bihar is one of the largest producers of fruit and the second largest producer of vegetables in India. After the Indus Valley, Bihar was India's second cradle of civilization. It was part of the Magadha kingdom and has many sites associated with the
Buddha's early life, including the site of his enlightenment, Bodhgaya.
The south Gangetic plain is the most fertile region in the world. There is a treasure trove of mineral deposits such as iron, coal, mica, bauxite and uranium in Chota Nagpur area. Bihar has high illiteracy and infant mortality rates. It has a vast labor force and an expanding market. Bihari, an Indo-European language, is predominant. The majority of the people are Hindus.