Patna is the capital of the Indian state of Bihar and the most populous city in Bihar. Patna is one of the oldest continuously inhabited places in the world. Ancient Patna, known as Pataliputra, was the capital of the Magadha Empire under the Haryanka, Nanda, Mauryan, Sunga, Gupta, Pala and during the Islamic period the seat of power for the Suri dynasty.
Pataliputra was also a seat of learning and fine arts. Its population during the Maurya period (around 300 BCE) was about 400,000.
The modern city of Patna is situated on the southern bank of the Ganges. The city also straddles the rivers Sone, Gandak and Punpun. The city is approximately 35 km long and 16 km to 18 km wide.
In June 2009, the World Bank ranked Patna in second place in India, after Delhi, in terms of the ease of starting a business. As at 2004-2005, Patna had the highest per capita gross district domestic product in Bihar, at Rs31,441. On the basis of, assumed average annual growth, Patna has been ranked as 21st fastest growing city in the world and 5th fastest growing city in India by City Mayors Foundation. Patna registered average annual growth of 3.72%,for the period of 2006-2010.
The Buddhist, Hindu, and Jain pilgrim centres of Vaishali, Rajgir, Nalanda, Gaya, Bodhgaya, and Pawapuri are nearby and Patna is also a sacred city for Sikhs as the last Sikh Guru, Guru Gobind Singh, was born here.