Patna [key], city (1991 pop. 1,099,647), capital of Bihar state, NE India, on the Ganges River. It is the hub of a rice-growing region and is an administrative, commercial, and educational center. There is good transportation by road, rail, and air. The ancient name was Pataliputra. It was an imperial city during the Maurya (c.325–185 b.c.) and Gupta (c.320–a.d. 545) eras. Under the Maurya empire, when Aśoka (270–230 b.c.) built a large palace there, it was one of the largest cities in the world; some ruins of the period remain. The city was revived during the rule of Afghans and Mughals. In the 18th cent. the East India Company made Patna a seat of trade.
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