July 17, 2024

The Bihar

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Purnia is a city and a municipality in Purnia district in the Indian state of Bihar. It formerly had a flourishing Jute industry. Phanishwar Nath ‘Renu’, a famous Hindi writer was from Purnia.
It is the oldest district in the state of Bihar. In 1912, Bihar and Orissa were carved as separate provinces out of the old Bengal Province and Purnia became the district of the new provincial unit. Before the state re-organization in 1956, Purnia was contiguous to East Pakistan. The area of this district was about 4,239 square miles (10,979 km2). Buchanan Hamilton the first historian-geographer of India visited Purnia in 1801-10.

Name of the District
“Purnia” originates from the Pundra Kingdom (also known as Paundra, Paundraya, Purnia etc). This was an eastern kingdom located in Eastern Bihar, West Bengal and Bangladesh. The bhats of the Pundir Rajputs, state that, having had their origins in Telangana, the Pundirs are descendants of the great Pundra dynasty. A Pundra king challenged Vasudeva Krishna by imitating his attributes. He called himself Paundraka Vasudeva. He was later killed by Vasudeva Krishna in a battle. The founders of five eastern kingdoms, Angas Vangas, Kalingas, Pundras and Suhmas, shared a common ancestry.

The name “Purnia” is an altered form of the old name Purania. This name as stated in the locality has been derived from the word purain that means the Lotus, the local plant, which is said to have grown thickly on the beds of the river Kosi and Mahananda, where swamps and marshes have been formed. This derivation has been ascertained by O’Malley also in the old gazetteer. Another derivation is from the word Pur Aranya, which means the adobe of forests. W.W. Hunter and Buchanan have mentioned the name of Purnia.

It is also said that because Purnia was forest area and filled with all kind of trees so it was called “PURN + ARANYA” which means “full forest” which later called as Purnia

Purnia has a tradition of at least a few centuries behind it. Under the Moghul rule, the district comprised Sarkar Tajpur, east of the Mahananda and Sarkar Purnia, west of the river. Purnia, at that time was a great military seat under the rule of a Fauzadar as a frontier district; Purnia has always had an extra administrative importance. Even in the early British days, Purnia was considered to be an important responsibility particularly as it was located on the border of Nepal.

It boasts of a thriving medical centre in its Line Bazar so much so that it has become the most important medical centre in North Bihar after Darbhanga. Nearly two hundred doctors reside here and patients from other neighboring districts and Nepal come here for treatment. However, it is a sad fact that, in spite of it being the medical hub in the region, little or no infrastructural fascilities is available for the visiting patients and their family. The concept of Public-Private-Partnership can be taken-up as a model for development of the region.

The district lies in the Gangatic Alluvial Plain. The older alluvium is found in the north of Purnia where it consists of coarse graves and surface kankar and the newer alluvium composed of slits, clays and sand occur in the south of Purnia. The surface alluvium consists of a deep bed of sand. The alluvium is supposed to have been derived from the Himalayas in the north and deposited gradually.

As of 2001 India census, Purnia had a population of 171,235. Males constitute 54% of the population and females 46%. Purnia has an average literacy rate of 63%, higher than the national average of 59.5%: male literacy is 69%, and female literacy is 56%. In Purnia, 16% of the population is under 30 years of age.

The district generally experinces a humid climate. The cold season commences in November and lasts till February. March, April, May and early June may be termed as the hot season. It is followed by the monsoon season that lasts until September. October is a transitional month. The district experiences maximum rainfall in the state of Bihar. Rainfall generally increases from the southwest toward northeast. About 82% of the total annual rainfall is received during the monsoon months of June to September. The winter season starts in November when both the day and night temperature drop rapidly. January is the coldest month with the mean daily minimum temperature in the range of 5 °C (41 °F) to 10 °C (50 °F) 5-10 °C and a mean daily maximum in the range of 20 °C (68 °F) to 25 °C (77 °F). Except in the first half of the summer season, humidity is generally above 70%. In monsoon season, skies are heavily clouded or overcast. Wind is generally light except in the pre-monsoon months of April and May as well as in the monsoon months when they strengthen a little. Storms and depressions, which originate in the Bay of Bengal especially those during late monsoon and the post monsoon period, affect the district and cause heavy rain and strong winds. The pre-monsoon thunderstorms are violent, occasional fogs appear during the winter season. Most part of the district lies in the Gangetic plains, so it has mostly the features and characteristics of a sub-montane alluvial tract. There is a hilly tract in the north with a small hill of Calcareous belt, called Chotapahar near Manihari. It has a slope from the north to the south and is traversed by a number of rivers and their tributaries. The district is composed of alluvial soil, partly old and partly new. The old alluvium is found in the north of the district where it consists of kankars (stone dust). The new alluvium is available in the south of the district and is composed of silt, clay and the sand. The alluvial soil is supposed to be brought by the Ganga and its tributaries from the Himalayas and is very rich with fertilizing elements.

Minerals, Mines and Industry
The district has no specific minerals and mines. There is a nodular limestone belt at a detached hill near Manihari called Chotapahar.

Due to the shifting of the Kosi the whole area lying to the west of Purnia town, up to the border is covered with sand and is not fit for cultivation unless heavily manured. Islampur, the portion of which has now gone into West Bengal is now full of sandy tract due to the change in the course of the river.

The Araria area is losing topsoil due to erosion by the wind every year. There is a search for oil going on in the Araria area by the ONGC. Initial reports have been found to be encouraging but due to the high cost involved in oil-extraction, the project is still under scrutiny by the Central Government of India.

The district has one sugar mill at Banmankhi and 716 other small-scale industries. There is a vast scope of improvement for Agriculture based industry.

Purnia district was once abode to monsoon and prairie forest. The principal trees were Sal, Sakhua, Teak, Shisham, Palas, Peepal and Semal. The forest and wild life have almost completely disappeared now.

Purnia, has long been known to be a paradise for Shikaris. The biggest Rhino that stands stuffed in a standing position in the museum of Calcutta was shot in Purnia district by Joe Shillingford, a well-known sportsman and Indigo-Planter of Purnia.

The river system of the district consists of four distinct parts, to the extreme west and forming the boundaries of the district on the side, the river Kosi, which, with its main branches may be called the first part. The Panar or Panwar, which has its rise in the northeast corner of the district, divides the district into four equal parts, and may be said to be the second part. The third part of the river system consists of river Mahananda and Koska. The fourth part consists of the river Ganga. By far the most important of all rivers of Purnia is the Kosi. It is formed by the Sapt-kosi, Likhi kosi, Dudhi-kosi, Arun-kosi and Tambar-kosi. From Brahchhatra, the river leaves the lower hills of the mountain in three stages violently rapid and this part is known as Kosi. It first touches the Indian territories in the extreme north east of Bhagalpur and after a few miles along the boundary, it enters the district. The course of the river has always been changing and it still continues to change.

The Mahananda forms the boundary between Purnia and Bengal. Rising below the Makald-aram hills in the Darjeeling district, it enters the district at Titulia and flows southwest to the Kishanganj sub-division. A river like Kosi is liable to shift its course and it has changed its course many a times.

The Ganga forms the southern boundary of the district.

Kosi Maiya (local term for Mother) is the most important river of Purnia, having more than half its course passing through the district. This river brings a vast amount of sand and kankar with it and spreads them on both its banks, which make the areas extremely infertile. It touches the north-east portion of Saharsa district.

The Kosi, known as Kausika in Sanskrit books is one of the most ancient rivers of India and it debouches in the plains is the third biggest river in India being next only to the Indus and the Brahmaputra. It drains a catchment basis of some 22,888 square miles (59,280 km2) of which 2,228 square miles (5,770 km2) are under glaciers. The river rises in Himalayas and drains the hilly area, east of Kathmandu in Nepal covering the world’s two highest peaks: Mount Everest and Mount Kanchanjunga.

The Kosi is known to have shifted as much as 12 miles (19 km) in a single year. The apparent cause of the rapid change in the river is heavy silt charge that it carries in suspension and the detritus that moves along its bed. The ancient Kausiki of Vishwamitra, whom he called noble and sacred is the Modern Kosi, Bihar’s river of Sorrow-identical to Whanwho, Yellow river of China-in its capacity of relentless destruction and responsible for untold human sufferings.

The Saura is the principal tributary of the Kosi. It rises in some lowland to the north-west of Jalalgadh and joins the Kosi near Mirganj. The river flows to the eastern side of the Purnia town and separates old Purnea City and new Purnea Town.

The Panar is a combination of so many streams flowing between the Kankai and the Kosi. The main stream rises near Forbesganj. This is a tributary of the Ganga. It is a very useful river as it makes it banks very rich in fertilizers.

The earliest inhabitants of the district are supposed to have been Anas to the west and Pundras to the east. The former are generally grouped with the Bengal tribes in the epics and formed the easternmost tribes known to the Aryans during the time of the Atharva-samhita. The later are closed among the most degraded classes of men in the Aitarya-brahmana. But it is also stated that they were descendants of the sage Vishwamitra that would seem to imply that they had Aryan blood, though degraded. This Opinion survived in the epic period, for in the Mahabharata and the Harivansa, the Pundras and the Angas are said to be descendents of the blind sage Dritrashtra who was born to the queen of the demon Bali and according to the Manu-Samhita they sank gradually to the condition of Sudras because they neglected the performance of sacred rites and did not consult Brahmanas.

Some passages in the Mahabharata (Sabhaparva, Adhyaya 30), describe the conquests of Bhima in Eastern India. Bhima is said to have conquered Mahanja king of Kausiki kacha, a tract line between Modadiri (Munger)and the land of the Pundras, which is thus identifiable with south Purnia. It is also said that he also defeated Karna, the king of Anga, conquered the hill tribes, killed the king of Modadiri in the battle, and then subdued the powerful Pundras king, Vasudeva, who is described as the king of the Vangas, Pundras and Kiratas.

The Pundra land appears to have been bounded on the east by the river Kasataya, on the west by the modern Mahananda, which separates it from Anga, on the south by the modern Padma, and on the north by the hills, which were inhabited by aboriginal hill tribes, such as the Kiratas. Local tradition still speaks of the struggle and the conquest of the Kiratas, and the Kirata women from the Morang or Tarai are said to have been the wife of Raja Virat, who according to the legend, gave shelter to Yudhistira and his four Pandava brothers during the 12 yrs of exile. The site of his fort is still pointed out at Thakurganj in the north of the district.

At the dawn of history, the part of the district, to the west of Mahananda apparently formed a part of Bhagalpur in the kingdom of Anga, while eastern portion was included in Pundra-Vardhana. Anga was an independent kingdom till the sixth century BC.

During the lifetime of Buddha it was annexed by Bimbisara, the ambitious ruler of Magadh and it never appeared to have regained its independence. The Raja of Anga during the time of Budhdha was a noble man, of whom nothing is known except that he granted a pension to a Brahmin. Thenafter its history got mergedwith that of the Magadh Empire. Later, the district formed a part of the empire of the Imperial Guptas, which extended as early as the reign of the Samudra Gupta (Circa AD 340) to Kumarupa (Assam ) and Samatata ( East Bengal) on the east. The Gupta Empire was shattered by the invasion of the Huns, and Purnia appears to have passed into the hands of Baladitya, the King of Magadh, who in alliance with other kings, and in particular Yasadharman of central India defeated and captured the Hun King, Mihiragula. Mihiragula later killed the Vajra’s son on Baladitya and extinguished the family of the Duttas of Pundra- Vardhana.

Butivarman of Kamrupa possibly had put an end to the Imperial Guptas in the Pundra-Vardhana region in the 6th century AD.

A brief account of Pundra-Vardhana and its people has been left by Hiuen Tsian (Yuan-Chwang), who visited around AD 640.

At the beginning of the seventh century the tract now included in the district seems to have been under Sasanka, the powerful king of Aauda, who held North and South Bihar as well as Central Bengal. He was a worshipper of Shiva and hated Buddhism, which he did his best to destroy. He dug up and burned the holi Bodhi tree at Bodh Gaya, broke the stone marked with foot prints of Buddha at Patliputra, destroyed the Buddhist convent and scattered the monks carrying his persecutions to the foot of the Nepalese hills.

Harsha, the great Buddhist emperor of the century (AD 606-647 ), determined to crush Sasanka, and in AD 620, he succeeded in doing so, during the course of his conquest of northern India. After the death of Harsha, the empire was dismembered, and it seems likely that Purnia became part of the Magadha kingdom under Adityasena. From the 9th to the 12th century it was under the Pala king, and on the decline became subject to the Senas.

Muhammadan Rule At the end of the 12th century the Muslims under Bakhtiyar Khilji burst down upon Bengal and Bihar.

During the Mughal rule, Purnia formed a great military frontier province under the rule of a faujdar, who was nominally subordinate to the subedar. The greater part of Purnia was held in Jagir for the maintenance of himself and his troops. From the Ain-i-Akbari, it appears that the present district was included in Sankar Tejpur, east of the Mahananda and Sarkar Purnia, west of the river. Within its limits were also the two mahals of Sarkar Audumbar and one mahal of Sarkar Lakhnauli in the south. All these sarkars belonged to the Subah Bengal.

English Rule and freedom struggle
The last of the Governors was Md. Ali Khan who was replaced in 1770 by Mr. Ducarrel, the first English supervisor or Collector. The early years of British rule were years of trouble for Purnia. The district suffered terribly during the great famine of 1770. From the old records, it appears that there were European settlers in Purnia almost immediately after the establishment of British rule in the district. By 1771, a number of Europeans had settled in the area known as Rambagh, the only building left in Rambagh was the church and the priests’ houses. The Roman Catholic Church was dismantled and re-erected in the new station of Purnia where the Europeans had already set up their residences. The foundation of this new church was there until 1934, when it was badly effected by the Bihar earthquake. The church was dismantled again. The nuns of Loretto convent of Darjeeling had come to Purnia near about 1882 and had opened a day school as well as a boarding school for children in Purnia district. When the Jesuit Mission of Bengal tool over the Purnia Mission from the Capuchin Mission, the school was closed and the nuns returned to Darjeeling. This house still stands and is known as the Coumblin. It is one of the oldest houses in Purnia town and is now occupied by the Allisons.

Kisan Sabha movement, which had been responsible for an acute agitation in Purnia district in the third decade in 20th century and figured prominently for about 20 years, had its roots in the very agricultural economy and the precious structure of permanent land-lordism in this state. The Kisan Sabha was formed at Munger near about 1922-23. After 1940-41, the kisan sabha movement slowly merged into the Congress Movement.

Purnia district, being so very contiguous to several districts of undivided Bengal, had been promptly affected by the swadeshi movement in the first decade of the 20th century. At that time there were no facilities for higher education in Purnia district and the students who sought higher education had to go to Calcutta or to Patna. The Bihar National College and TK Ghosh Academy were suspected as the two centers for a secret students organization, which indulged in sedition and both these institutions had a sprinkling of students from Purnia. A boy from Purnia, Atul Chandra Mazumdar, a student of the BN College, Patna was arrested under the Defence Act of India.

Since 1919, Purnia had closely followed the policy, aims and objectives of the Indian National Congress. Some of the delegates of Purnia attended the Nagpur session of Congress in 1920 and the moment Mahatma Gandhi gave the call for the Non-Cooperation, there were a number of volunteers in this district. Some of the early local leaders were Gokul Krishna Roy, Satyendra Narayan Roy and a few others who gave up their practice in the Bar and joined the movement.

In 1921, a national School was started in Katihar. Shri Rajendra Prasad toured Purnia district in 1921 and addressed meetings at Purnia and at other places. In 1942 Quit India Movement tactics were fully implemented by the people of Purnia. Mahatma Gandhi visited Purnia in 1929, during which time he met the Raja of Nazargunj and addressed crowded meetings at various places including Kisahnganj, Bishnupur, Araria and Purnia. The survey and settlement operations in Purnia district commenced in 1952 and settlement operations were concluded in 1960. During the 1911-20 period, Purnia suffered from epidemics of cholera every year from 1915 to 1919. A very serious outbreak of cholera occurred in 1925. Incidences of smallpox and malaria was very high during this period.

Languages and Literature
Hindi is the principal language of the district. However other than that, people in different areas follow different dialects. Maithili is one of the prime dialect/languages spoken in the area. People also speak Surjapuri, Polia, Angika and Santhali. In some parts of Purnia, Bangla is also spoken.

Purnia has been home to many poets and literary figures. The most prominent among them has been Sati Nath Bhaduri and Phanishwar Nath Renu.

Satinath Bhaduri (1906-1965) novelist and politician, also known by his literary pseudonym, Chitra Gupta, was born on 27 September 1906 at Purnia, Bihar, where Indubhusan Bhaduri, his father, practised law. His ancestral home was in Krishnanagar in the district of Nadia.

Satinath obtained a MA in Economics from Patna University in 1930. In 1931 he completed his BL degree and started practising law at Patna (1932-1939). He then joined Congress and became District Secretary of Purnia. He suffered imprisonment in Bhagalpur Jail twice: 1940-41 and 1942-45. In 1948, he fell out with the Congress and joined the Socialist Party.

Satinath’s novel, Jagari (1946), for which he received the very first Rabindra Puruskar (1950), earned him considerable fame. As a political novel, Jagari occupies a unique place in bangla literature. He also wrote a travelogue, Satyi Bhraman Kahini (1951), about his experiences in Paris. His other noteworthy works include Gananayak (1948), Chitragupter File (1949), Dhondai Charita Manas (2 parts, 1949, 1951), Achin Ragini (1954), Aparichita (1954), Sangkat (1957), Alok Drsti (1964), etc. Most of his writings portray the life-style of the people of Bihar. He died on 30 March 1965.

Phanishwar Nath ‘Renu'(1921-1977) is one of the great Hindi novelists of the post-Premchand era. The intimacy in writing brought to the reader with use of local flavor of Hindi in contrast to Khari Boli Hindi was entirely new literary experience. His masterpiece is (Maila Anchal) (The Soiled Linen, 1954), a social novel that depicts the life of a region and its people, especially the backward and the deprived. He got a PadmShri award from Govt. of India for this novel. Which also was his first. Later during Jayaprakash Narayan Andolan, he gave up his award in solidarity. Another of his short story Panchlight) (Petromax) is beautiful in its depiction of human behavior. One can find many parallels between his and Premchand’s writings. Also a short story Maare Gaye Gulfam) was adapted into a film by name of Teesri Kasam. Curiously Katihar railway station figures in many of his writings. He wrote descriptive prose with rapid character building senses.. He would then sets about reflecting on his characters and backgrounds from every angle.(Ek Aadim Ratri Ki Mehak) which is straight forward story with touchy ending, is one example his unending need for exploring pristine emotions of his characters.

Maila Anchal and Parti Pari Katha are two of his masterpieces. One of his stories, Maare Gaye Gulfam, has been filmed by the name Teesri Kasam. How can one forget the immortal songs: “Paan khaye saiyan hamare” and “Sajan re jhoot mat bolo”. Raj Kapoor and Vahida Rehma have retold the story of Hiraman and Hirabai on screen, through their acting. Maila Aanchal has also been captured by the camera and has telecast on TV as a serial.

The Hindu women celebrate Tij, Jitiya,Chhath and Bhatridutiya etc. with great religious fervor. The important festivals of Hindus are Durga Puja, Diwali, Basant Panchami, Shivratri, Holi, Ramnavami and Janmashtami. The important festivals of the Mohammed slal laho alaihe wsllem are Muharram, Sab-e-Barat, Ramzan, Id, Bakrid and Fatiha-duaz-Dahum. Adivasis celebrate Sarhul and Karma as their main festivals with great éclat. Chhath is the most sacred festival for the region. Importance of it can be seen as it defys all the barriers of religions.

The soil is alluvial. In the area watered by the Kosi, it is sandy and that in the area watered by the Mahananda is loamy.
Different types of soil found have got their local names. Clay known as Karari is found in the southeast. Another name given to a soil in which clay predominates is the Matihar. Loamy soil is called Doar or MansiMati and Sandy soil is known as Baluar or simply Balu.

Accumulation of rain or flood water over a considerable part of the district makes the land fit for Jute and Paddy cultivation. Principal crops include wheat, gram, barley, maze, masoor, arhar, khesari, peas, sugarcane, tobacco, potatoes, jute, chillies, mung and makhana.

Rice is the important crop of Purnia. Aghani or Winter Rice is usually cultivated on low-land, although some species are grown on comparatively high soils. During the early months of spring, every opportunity is taken to prepare land, which does not bear a second crop by repeated ploughing. In May, when there is usually good shower of rains, a nursery ground called Bichara is ploughed four times and the seed scattered thickly over it. When the seedlings make their appearance, other fields are prepared for planting. By this time the rainy season sets in and the field is damped up by means of low ridges, so as to retain the water. It is then repeatedly ploughed until the water penetrates the soil and the whole is reduced to a thick mud. After this, the young seedlings is then taken from the nursery and transplanted in rows about 9 inches apart. Aghani paddy is also sown broadcast, but this is less productive. If there are early showers in April and May, sufficient to enable the nursery beds to be prepared thoroughly, nearly all the sowing of the year are subsequently transplanted. But it often happens, there is no rain until the regular rains begin in the early June, the area of broadcast rice is increased, and beds of seedlings are found only near rivers, tanks and other sources of irrigation. Rice, which is sown broadcast, is called Lathahan, and this manner of sowing is styled as Baogi to distinguish it from Ropa or transplanting.

Harvesting takes place in November and at the beginning of December, except in the years in which rains extend far into October when the ripening of the grain is proportionately delayed. No less than seventy different varieties of Aghani rice are reported for the district. Bhadai rice is generally sown on high grounds rather than on low lands. Paddy is harvested by cutting off the ears (shish), with about a foot and a half of the stalks attached. It is then tied up in sheaves or bundles (bojha) and carried to the threshing floor (khamar).

For Jute the land is prepared by repeated ploughing, harrowing and weeding in March and April.

Now a days Makhana is the prime production of this area and supplied all over the world . The popped seeds of Makhana, roasted and eaten as well as used in preparation of various kind of delicious sweets and recipes. It contains 9.7% easily digestible protein, 76% carbohydrate, 12.8% moisture, 0.1% fat, 0.5% total minerals, 0.9% phosphorus & 1.4%mg Fe/100gm. It also contains useful medicinal properties.

Though the literacy rate in Purnia has been low, lately an upward shift is being witnessed.

The Students of Purnea are now placed at very important places all over the world. It has a very high rate of success in Govt and other competitive jobs through 4/4 method.

The most prominent educational institutions in Purnea include Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalaya,Garhbanaili, Don-Bosco School,babban middle school, BBM High School, Zila School, Millia Convent, UrsuLine Convent for Secondary Education. For higher educations there is Millia Institute of Technology,Purnea College, Mahila College and Law Collage, Purnea.

Now Purnia is in way of development in both Social as well as Education system. Some of the private association/organizations are working hardly to improve the social as well as Educational system and also increase the literacy rate.

Places of Interest

Kamakya Mandir is also in the Purnea district which is very famous temple people come here for blessing of maa kamakhya which is situated at the border of three village namely – Rahua, Majra Bhabanipur and Kalayanpur . It is only 14 kilometres (Template:Convert/mile) from the district headquarters.

Ganga-Darjeeling Road, during the British Rule, Purnia division ranges from Begusarai to Darzeeling and It is almost 250 years old District. This road joints Gulab Bagh – Line Bazar- Tatma Toli – Flower Mill- Polytechnic Chowk of British Purnia and at that time, It was the Outer Circle of Purnia, that’s why Khazanchi Haat Thana (Naka) is still there on this road. The most peculiar thing above all is that, after more than 50 years of independence this road has a Wooden-Bridge or Kaath Pool on Purnia – Khuskibagh Road, and not surprisingly ; This Bridge is the single Wooden Bridge in National Highways of India. ( NH-31)

Puran-Devi and Kali Bari Temple located in Purnia city about 3 kilometres (Template:Convert/mile) from the main town. It is the temple of Puran devi, a form of goddess Kali.

Dhimeshwarnath Temple-Dhima,Banmankhi located in Village Dhima about 3 kilometres (Template:Convert/mile) from the main town(Banmankhi) and 34 kilometres (Template:Convert/mile) from the District town(Purnia). It is the temple of Lord Shiva.

Baghnagar, a small village to the south-east of Araria town. Some old coins have been found recently below the earth in a cave, the bricks of which seem to be very old.

Baladiabari, a village situated about a mile and a half from Nawajganj in the south of the district. The village was the site of the battle between Shaukat Jang and Sirajuddaula in 1756.

Bandarjhula is situated at about 24 miles (39 km) northwest of Kishanganj near the Nepal border. Some excavation has been done here by the Archeological Department and one full size image of God Vishnu made of black marble is kept here. A small fair is held every year near this image. People call this as the Image of Kanhaiya.

BarharKothi is a block Headquarter. Name KOTHI was added because of Englishman’Kothi. Here there is Famous temple of the Lord Shiva. Name of this famous temple is BABA BARNESHWAR. It is situated at a distance of 2 KM south of HQ

Kamalpur is one of the village of Barhara Kothi. It is very famous for KOKAFUL, like Lotus Flower.

Barijangarh is a ruined fort in the Kishanganj Subdivision, situated five miles (8 km) to the south of Bahadurganj Police Station. Regarding its name, there is a legend that it was built by Barijan, a brother of Benu, Raja of Benugarh. Inside the enclosure may be traced a tank called Pokhar.

Bathnaha There are two temples. One is a Mahadeva temple and the other that of the goddess Durga.

Benugarh a ruined fort consists of ramparts, enclosing an area of nearly an acre, and ascribed to Benu Raja, the brother of Asura.

Chakla place is famous for manufacture of wheels of bullock carts. People of chakla depends on labourship for bread and butter.

Dhima is at a distance of 2 kilometres (Template:Convert/mile) from the main town(Banmankhi) and 32 kilometres (Template:Convert/mile) from the District town(Purnia). There is a famous temple of Lord Shiva, Maa Durga and Maa Kali.

Dhararaa village in the extreme west of the district, situated about 12 miles (19 km) to the south of Raniganj, and is a few miles to the north of Dhamdaha. The villagers assert that this was the place of Mahabharata episode of the Sivaic Hiranya Kans attempted slaughter of his son Prahlada for devotion to the worship of Lord Vishnu.

There was an indigo factory here and an old fort called Satl garh. At the northwest corner of the forest is a monolith called Maniktdham. The pillar is of thick inelegant shape and has the same proportions and appearance as the Ghazipur edict pillar, now in the grounds of Benaras College. The stone is light reddish granite of such fine texture as to appear almost like sandstone. It is no longer erect, but is inclined at an angle of about 65 degrees.

Forbesganj is the best commercial place in the district. A big fair is arranged here in the months of Nov-Dec.

Jalalgarh a ruined fort in the Purnia subdivision situated 13 miles (21 km) to the north of Purnia close to the Jalalgarh railway station. It stands on what was formerly an island in the old channel of the Kosi river, and is a very conspicuous ruin in good preservation. It is a large quadrangular structure with lofty walls and was built by the Mohammedans as a frontier post to protect the border against invasion from Nepal.

According to the chronicle of the Khagra family, it was built for this purpose by the first Raja of Khagra, Saiyad Muhammad Jalal-ud-din on who the title of Raja was conferred by Jahangir (1605-27), and according to other accounts, by the Nawab of Purnia, Saif Khan, in 1722. It appears, however, to have been in existence before the later date. According to the Riyazu-s-salatin, the Raja of Birnagar had a force of 15,000 cavalry and infantry, and other inhabitants of that part of chakwar, tribe etc. were refractory and of plundering propensity, and used to annoy the travellers. Therefore, on the limits of the Marang, the fort of Jalajgarh was erected and a commandant in charge of the fort was posted here.

The fort is situated at a distance of one-mile (1.6 km) southeast of the Purnia- Araria road.

Kisanganj: some passages in the Mahabharata describing conquest of Bhima in the eastern India furnish further information about the inhabitants of this part of country. Bhima, it is said, conquered Maharaja, the king of Kanski-kocha and the land of the Pandras which is identifiable with the south Purnia. He also defeated Karna, the king of Anga, conquered the hills of tribes, killed the king of Modagri in the battle and then subdued the powerful Pundra king.

Local tradition still speaks of the struggle and the conquest of the Kiratas and a Kirata Woman from the Morang or Tarai is said to have been the wife of Raja Birat, who, it is said in Mahabharata that gave shelter to Yudhisthira and his four Pandava brothers during their 12 years of exile. The site of this part is still pointed out at the Thakurganj in the north of this district. A big pond which is called Bhatdola to the west of Thakurganj is just adjacent to the railways lines still existing. People say that it was formally used by Draupadi, the wife of Panch Pandavas for cooking rice for the Pandavas. It is said to have been the site of the residence of the Raja Birat. Some stones with inscription were dug up at Thakurganj, which the villagers declare were the remains of the Birat’s palace.

Kichaka Badh an ancient place which is only 3-4 miles (1.8-2.5 miles) from the Thakurganj lies in Morang. The brother-in-law of Birat Raja Kichaka was said to have resided at the palace of Birat Raja. It is said Bhima killed Kichaka here. A Mela during Baruni-Snan is at this place every year for one day and offer homage to the fountain where Kichaka was killed.

Kursela a distorted name of Kuru-Shila. Kuru-Shila means hilly part of the region which once belonged to the king Kuru, the descendents of whom were called Kaurawa and according to Mahabharata waged a war with Pandavas, their cousins.

At a distance of four miles (6 km) south, there is a range of hills known as Bateshwar Hills. There is an ancient temple of Mahadeva on the hill. Some associate the once famous Vikramshila University with this site.

Kursela had a young artist Sri Awadesh Kumar Singh, MP, son of the Zamindaar of Kursela and proprietor of the Kursela estate, R.B. Raghubansh Prasad Singh, whose paintings were exhibited at New Delhi under the tenure of Dr. S Radhakrishnan as the President. He died in 1958.

R.B. Raghubansh Prasad Singh was a great philanthropist, and administrator. He was the largest land donor in Vinobha Bhave’s “Bhudan movement”, wherein he donated 4,000 acres (16 km2) of land. He sponsored the opening of 2 schools and a hospital in Kursela. He also donated many houses and land to the congress party including “Kala Bhavan” in Purnea.

His younger son Sri Dinesh Kumar Singh was a Cabinet minister in the Bihar govt. for over 20 years and held portfolios including Health, Education, and Home. He died in 2005. His valuable contributions to the development of Bihar will not be forgotten by the people of Kursela.

Lalbalu a wide stretch of maidan runs 9 miles (14 km) from Purnia to the east with a small Idgah at one end, on which the devout Muslims assemble for their prayers. Once at this maidan, there was a fight between the mutineers and a band of loyalties led by Commissioner Yule of Bhagalpur in the Sepoy Mutiny days of 11th December 1857.

Madanpore a village six miles (10 km) to the north east of Araria. There is a famous Shiva temple locally known as Madaneshwar Nath. A big Mela is held on the eve of Shivaratri.

There is a mythological story that during the Mahabharata period, Lord Krishna had come to this place and had lost a Mani (a valuable jewel ). Thus it came to be known as Maniharan which was changed into Manihari.

A place to the east of Manihari at a distance of five miles (8 km) is connected to the story of Raja Birat of Mahabharata period that had kept a herd of cows at this place and had constructed a Bathan. There is one black stone shiva-linga about five feet in length and three feet in width lying in an open field which is said to be of Raja Birat’s time.

It is at a distance of 18 miles (29 km) to the northwest of Purnia. There is a temple of Lord Shiva and an Idgah for Muslims. There is a ruined Kothi of an Indigo planter. Sarsi Kothi was famous indigo centre under the Europeans.

It is said to be named after Bhim – the great hero of Mahabharata who served as a Thakur (Cook) in the house of Raja Birat. It is mentioned in the Mahabharata that Raja Birat gave shelter to five Pandava brothers during their one year incognito exile. There are two tanks of Bhatdhala and Sagdhala to which the local people say were utilized by Bhim for receptacle of Bhat and Saag after cooking. Biratnagar of the Mahabharata is said to be located here and not in Nepal. Some stones with inscription were dug up

Sri AuroBindo Society, Gandhinagar
A spiritual society that works for spreading spiritual power Sri Aurobindo and The Mother. This society is started by Sh. Sridhar Babu and Sh. Amol lal Das. Present secretary Sh. Narayan lal Das is developing and decorating this society with the help of Mother blessing.

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