Bihar is a state considered to be a part of Eastern as well as Northern India. The name Bihar is derived from the Sanskrit and Pali word, Vihara. Chirand, on the northern bank of the Ganga River, in Saran district, has an archaeological record from the Neolithic age (about 2500–1345 BC).
Regions of Bihar—such as Magadha, Mithila and Anga—are mentioned in religious texts and epics of ancient India.The region of modern-day southwestern Bihar called Magadha remained the centre of power, learning, and culture in India for 1000 years.The Nanda dynasty was replaced by the Maurya Empire, India's first empire. The Maurya Empire and the religion of Buddhism arose in the region that now makes up modern Bihar.The Mauryan Empire, which originated from Magadha in 325 BC, was founded by Chandragupta Maurya, who was born in Magadha. It had its capital at Pataliputra (modern Patna). The Mauryan emperor, Ashoka, who was born in Pataliputra (Patna) is believed to be one of the greatest rulers in the history of the world.The Gupta Empire, which originated in Magadha in 240 AD, is referred as the Golden Age of India in science, mathematics, astronomy, commerce, religion, and Indian philosophy. Bihar and Bengal was invaded by Rajendra Chola I of the Chola dynasty in the 11th century.After the Battle of Buxar (1764), the British East India Company obtained the diwani rights (rights to administer, and collect revenue or tax) for Bihar, Bengal and Odisha.