How to Reach Bhagalpur
Bhagalpur: 225 km from Patna by train or bus is Bhagalpur, associated with memories of the great Bengali novelists Sarat Chandra and Banaful. Bhagalpur is well connected from Kolkota, Patna, New Delhi, Ajmer Sharif, Banglore, Ranchi, Dhanbad, Lucknow, Varanasi, Mumbai.
Tour Bhagalpur town by a taxi on contract basis. First see the High Tower, Temple of Dudheswara Mahadeva, the University and the Jain Temple at Nathnagar. On return to the town, you may visit Kuppa Ghat Ashram on the Ganges in a charming environment by rickshaw. On the return road there is the Agricultural college. Bhagalpur is reputed for its silk. Next morning travel to Sultanganj, 25 km away from Bhagalpur by train and visit the Shiva Temple of Aajgaibinath on the summit of the hill on the Ganges. Boat is the only conveyance here. Buses and mini buses also run to Sultanganj from Bhagalpur. .
On the way to Howrah tourists may get down at Vikramsila Halt to see the ruins of the Vikramsila University of the past. They may go up to Bhagalpur by 16-01 hr Burdwan-Jamalpur Passenger train and from Bhagalpur they may back to Howrah by Jamalpur-Howrah Exp or Mughalsarai- Sealdah Exp which leave Bhagalpore at 20-10 hr and 1-20 hr respectively and reach Howrah and Sealdah next morning at 5-10 and 12-55 hr respectively.
The University of Vikramsila
The royal university of Vikramsila, 38 km from Bhagalpur ranks next to Nalanda and owes its origin to Dharmapala (770-810 A.D.), the devout Pala king who loved to call himself Paramasaugata (chief worshipper of the Buddha)and was a great patron of Mahayana Buddhism.Dharmapala was impressed by two things which prompted him to establish Vikramsila university. Firstly, the rocky hillock anchored around the confluence of Kosi and Ganga at Vateshwarasthan was not only a scenic attraction but a popular tantric site as evident from the presence of a Kali temple (instead of Parvati’s) in front of Shiva temple, besides various other caves and rock cut sculptures dating back to the 67th century A.D. Secondly, the place was associated with pilgrimage due to Uttarbahini which drew large crowds during Varsavardhana.Unlike Nalanda, sources of information on Vikramsila is confined to Tibetan texts and they make us believe that Dharmapala in his earlier birth was an accomplished acharya, Kampilya, who had attained siddhi or perfection in Mahayana mudra mysticism here and was determined to build a monastery one day
Mandar Hills (50 km), steeped in legend and laced with landscape of extraordinary splendour exposes the 800 feet high granite hill. Mandar is associated with amritmanthana which suggests that the hill was used by the gods to churn the ocean to procure amrit. The serpent, Basukinaga offered to serve as the rope and has left behind an impression of the coil on the granite hill. It is believed that panchjanya, the conch shell used in Mahabharat War was discovered here in the Sank kund. The puranas refer to various sacred places on the hill which is also believed to be the abode of Vishnu under the title of Madhusudana or the destroyer of a demon called Madhu who was killed by Vishnu and then covered by the Mandar hill. Kalidasa’s kumarasamahava refers to foot marks of Vishnu on the slopes of Mandar.The hill is replete with relics of bygone ages. Besides inscriptions and statues there are numerous rock cut sculptures depicting various Brahmanical images. The hill is equally revered by the Jains who believe that their 12th Tirthankara attained nirvana here on the summit of the hill.