Remote and rural, Bihar is the birthplace of Buddhism – indeed its very name derives from vihara, the Sanskrit word for Buddhist monastery. Thousands of pilgrims from around the world throng its many places of religious significance, most extraordinary of which is Bodhgaya, the site of Buddha's enlightenment, where getting caught up in the spiritual atmosphere is a major draw for travellers. In tribal Jharkhand, holy Parasnath Hill is a revered Jain pilgrimage site, and joining devotees on the hike to the top is a surreal highlight for those who like to get off the beaten track.
Truth be told, the whole of this region is off the beaten track. Outside Bodhgaya, foreign tourists are almost nonexistent, so if you're looking to sidestep mainstream travel, and especially if you have an interest in Buddhism, this unfashionable pocket of India could be an unexpected highlight.