Name of Patna : There are several theories regarding the source of the appellation Patna:
It is etymologically derived from Patan, the name of the Hindu goddess, Patan Devi.
It comes from Pattan (meaning "port" in Sanskrit), since the city, located near the confluence of four rivers, has been a thriving river port.
It may be a short form of Patliputra, one of the most ancient names of this city. This name was mentioned by Megasthenes (350 BCE-290 BCE), the Greek historian, (calling it 'Palibothra' or 'Palimbotra', in his writings during the 4th century, and also appears in the records of the Chinese traveller, Fa Hien.
The city has been known by various names during its more than two millennia long existence — Pataligram, Pataliputra, Kusumpur, Pushpapura, Azimabad and the present-day Patna. Patna received its current name during the reign of Sher Shah Suri, whose tomb is at Sasaram, a place near Patna.
Legend ascribes the origin of Patna to a mythological King Putraka who created Patna by magic for his queen Patali, literally Trumpet flower, which gives it its ancient name Pataligrama. It is said that in honour of the first born to the queen, the city was named Pataliputra. Gram is the Sanskrit for village and Putra means son.
Patna From a scientific history perspective, it would be appropriate to surmise that the history of Patna started around the year 490 BC when Ajatashatru, the king of Magadh, wanted to shift his capital from the hilly Rajagriha to a more strategically located place to combat the Licchavis of Vaishali. He chose the site on the bank of Ganges and fortified the area. From that time, the city has had a continuous history, a record claimed by few cities in the world. Gautam Buddha passed through this place in the last year of his life, and he had prophesized a great future for this place, but at the same time, he predicted its ruin from flood, fire, and feud.
With the rise of the Mauryan empire, the place became the seat of power and nerve centre of the sub-continent. From Pataliputra, the famed emperor Chandragupta Maurya (a contemporary of Alexander) ruled a vast empire, stretching from the Bay of Bengal to Afghanistan.
Early Mauryan Patliputra was mostly built with wooden structures. Emperor Ashoka, the grandson of Chandragupta Maurya, transformed the wooden capital into a stone construction around 273 BC. Chinese scholar Fa Hein, who visited India sometime around A.D. 399-414, has given a vivid description of the stone structures in his travelogue.
Megasthenes (350 BCE-290 BCE), Greek historian and ambassador to the court of Chandragupta Maurya, gives the first written account of Patliputra. In his book Indika, he mentions that the city of Palibothra (Pataliputra, modern day Patna) was situated on the confluence of the rivers Ganges and Arennovoas (Sonabhadra - Hiranyawah) and was 9 miles (14 km) long and 1.75 miles (2.82 km) wide.
Much later, a number of Chinese travellers came to India in pursuit of knowledge and recorded their observation about Pataliputra in their travelogues, including those of a Chinese Buddhist Fa Hien, who visited India, between A.D. 399 and 414, and stayed here for many months translating Buddhist texts.
In the years that followed, the city saw many dynasties ruling the Indian subcontinent from here. It saw the rules of the Gupta empire and the Pala kings. However, it never reached the glory that it had under the Mauryas.
With the disintegration of the Gupta empire, Patna passed through uncertain times. Bakhtiar Khilji captured Bihar in the 12th century AD and destroyed many ancient seats of learning; Patna lost its prestige as the political and cultural center of India.
Guru Gobind Singh (22 December 1666 – 7 October 1708),the tenth Guru of the Sikhs was born as Gobind Rai in Patna to Teg Bahadur, the ninth Guru of the Sikhs, and his wife Gujri. His birth place Harmandir saheb is a one of most sacred pilgrimage for Sikhs.
The Mughal period was a period of unremarkable provincial administration from Delhi. The most remarkable period during these times was under Sher Shah Suri who revived Patna in the middle of the 16th century. He visualised a fort and a town on the banks of Ganga. Sher Shah's fort in Patna does not survive, but the mosque built in Afghan architectural style survives.
Mughal emperor Akbar came to Patna in 1574 to crush the Afghan Chief Daud Khan. Akbar's navratna and state's official historian and author of Ain-i-Akbari Abul Fazl refers to Patna as a flourishing centre for paper, stone and glass industries. He also refers to the high quality of numerous strains of rice grown in Patna famous as Patna rice in Europe.
Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb acceded to the request of his favourite grandson Prince Muhammad Azim to rename Patna as Azimabad, in 1704 while Azim was in Patna as the subedar. However, very little changed during this period other than the name.
With the decline of the Mughal empire, Patna moved into the hands of the Nawabs of Bengal, who levied a heavy tax on the populace but allowed it to flourish as a commercial centre.
During the 17th century, Patna became a centre of international trade. The British started with a factory in Patna in 1620 for trading in calico and silk. Soon it became a trading centre for saltpetre, urging other Europeans—French, Danes, Dutch and Portuguese—to compete in the lucrative business. Peter Mundy, writing in 1632, calls this place, "the greatest mart of the eastern region".
After the decisive Battle of Buxar (1765), Patna fell in the hands of the East India Company which installed a puppet government. Ruled during the raj by a series of ineffectual Viceroys, the most well known was Rahul Gunderjaharagand. During this period it continued as a trading centre.
In 1912, Patna became the capital of Bihâr and Orissa Province when Bengal Presidency was partitioned. It soon emerged as an important and strategic centre. A number of imposing structures were constructed by the British. Credit for designing the massive and majestic buildings of colonial Patna goes to the architect, I. F. Munnings. Most of these buildings reflect either Indo-Saracenic influence (like Patna Museum and the state Assembly), or overt Renaissance influence like the Raj Bhawan and the High Court. Some buildings, like the General Post Office (GPO) and the Old Secretariat bear pseudo-Renaissance influence. Some say, the experience gained in building the new capital area of Patna proved very useful in building the imperial capital of New Delhi. Orissa was created as a separate province in 1936. Patna continued as the capital of Bihar province under the British Raj.
Patna played a major role in the Indian independence struggle. Most notable are the Champaran movement against the Indigo plantation and the 1942 Quit India Movement.Patna's contribution in the freedom struggle has been immense with outstanding national leaders like Swami Sahajanand Saraswati, the first President of the Constituent Assembly of India Dr. Sachidanand Sinha, Basawon Singh (Sinha), Loknayak Jayaprakash Narayan, Sri Krishna Sinha, Maulana Mazharul Haque, Bihar Bibhuti Anugrah Narayan Sinha, Syed Hasan Imam, Sheel Bhadra Yajee, Sarangdhar Sinha (Singh), Yogendra Shukla, and many others who worked for India's freedom relentlessly.
Patna continued to be the capital of the state of Bihar after independence in 1947, though Bihar itself was partitioned again in 2000 when Jharkhand was carved out as a separate state of the Indian union.
Bihar became the first state in India to have separate web page for every city and village in the state on its website www.brandbihar.com (Now www.brandbharat.com)
See the record in Limca Book of Records 2012 on Page No. 217