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    Bihar
Profile of Bihar
Bihar, the ninth largest state of India in terms of its area and the second largest in terms of population, is known as the ‘Land of Nirvana’ and is located in the eastern region of India. The history of the state extends to the very dawn of human civilization as the earliest myths and legends of Hinduism the Sanatana (Eternal) Dharma are associated with Bihar. It was here that Prince Gautama attained enlightenment and became the Buddha at the present Bodh Gaya, thus giving birth to Buddhism. It was here that Lord Mahavira, the founder of another great religion, Jainism, was born and attained nirvana (death). It was here that the tenth and last Guru of the Sikhs, Guru Gobind Singh was born and attained the sainthood of Sikhism. Bihar also gave birth to the first firm tenets for the governance of a people as laid down by the Mauryan king, Ashoka, who ruled the state around 270 B.C., as well as the world’s first known democracy in the city of Vaishali. And it was in Bihar that the world's first seat of higher learning, the University, was established during the Gupta period. In the year 2000, Bihar was divided into two states namely Bihar and Jharkhand.
Crafts of Bihar
Bihar is home to the famous Madhubani Paintings. This art work was originally done by the village women of Mithila by using vegetable dyes on mud hut walls, and was created to help decorate and celebrate weddings and other festivals. Once encouraged by a local artist, the ladies of Mithila and Madhubani started making their paintings, depicting village scenes, human and animal forms, gods and goddesses, on handmade paper, clothing and wall hangings. Bihar’s rich heritage and varied religious and cultural beliefs have ensured an abundance of other craft work in the region as well, namely, stone pottery, white metal statuettes, bamboo artifacts, lac bangles, grass craft products, wooden toys and leather goods.

 



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Profile of India

India is one of the oldest civilizations in the world with a kaleidoscopic variety and rich cultural heritage. With a population now exceeding 1 billion people, the diversity of India’s society is marked by complex structures, diverse groups, and strong religious beliefs. Covering an area of 32,87,263 square km, the country has an equally varied and vibrant landscape - extending from the snow-covered Himalayan heights to the tropical rain forests of the south. As the seventh largest country in the world, India stands apart from the rest of Asia, marked off by high mountains and surrounded by the sea, this country exists as a distinct geographical entity.

Crafts in India

Dating back to the Indus Valley Civilization period of 3000 BC to 1700 BC, the history of Indian crafts is one of the most established civilizations of the globe. From ancient times, the rich crafts tradition in India has spun around religious values, cultural traditions and the confined needs of commoners as well as the special needs of elite clientele and royalty, including those from overseas as well as domestic. Traditionally, Indian handicrafts were created for basic day-to-day use, but the yearning for aesthetic application and artistic expression soon created a flood of designs and motifs. The incalculable artistry and richness of ethnicities, cultures and religious denominations across India has enabled a fusion of motifs, techniques and crafts to emerge from India – a phenomenon unparalleled elsewhere in the world.

 
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