Bihar (Hindi: बिहार, Urdu: بہار, pronounced [bɪˈhaːr] ( listen)) is a state in eastern India. Bihar is the 12th largest state in terms of geographical size at 38,202 sq mi (99,200 km²), and 3rd largest by population. Close to 85 percent of the population lives in villages. Almost 58 per cent of Biharis are below the age of 25, which is the highest proportion in India.
Bihar lies mid-way between the humid West Bengal in the east and the sub humid Uttar Pradesh in the west which provides it with a transitional position in respect of climate, economy and culture. It is bounded by the country of Nepal to the north and by Jharkhand to the south. The Bihar plain is divided into two parts by the river Ganga which flows through the middle from west to east. Bihar has notified forest area of 6,764.14 km², which is 7.1 per cent of its geographical area. Nalanda was a centre of learning established by the 5th century BC in Bihar, India. Hindi and Urdu are the official languages of the state, whilst the majority of the people speak one of the Bihari languages — Angika, Bhojpuri, Magadhi or Maithili.
Ancient Bihar (which consisted of Anga (East Bihar), Mithila (North Bihar) and Magadha (South Bihar))was a center of power, learning and culture in ancient and classical India. From Magadha arose India's first greatest empire, the Maurya empire as well as one of the world's most widely adhered-to religions, Buddhism. Magadha empires, notably under the Maurya and Gupta dynasties, unified large parts of South Asia under a central rule. Its capital Patna, earlier known as Pataliputra, was an important center of Indian civilization.