Patna is one of the oldest cities in India. Very few cities in
India have had so many names as this hoary city. The well-known ancient names of Patna
were Pataliputra, Kusumapura and Pushpapura. The Greeks called it Palibothra. The Chinese
called the place as Pa-lin-fou. During the later Muslim period it came to be known
Azimabad. Pataliputra was referred to in Emperor Asoka's Girnar Rock Edict No. V and in
his Sarnath Pillar Edict. The name is spelt in the Rock Edict as Pataliputa, undoubtedly
the Prakrit form of Pataliputra.
The capital of Magadha was at first at Giribrajpur or Rajagriha (the modern Rajgir) and
then it was transferred to Pataliputra during the reign of Udayin, son of Darsaka.
Pataliputra or Patna has been sanctified by the glories around Gautama Buddha and Mahavira
Vardhamana. The city has been referred to in Patanjali's Mahabhashya, Chanakya's Artha
Shastra, and memoirs of Fahien anti Hiuen Tsang.