The Purnia district is surrounded by Araria district in the North, Katihar and Bhagalpur district in South, West Dinajpur district of West Bengal and Kishanganj district of Bihar in east and Madhepura and Saharsa District in the west. Purnia is popularly known as a ‘Poor Man’s Darjeeling’.
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.
Click on the Map of Purnia to see the large View of Purnia Map
Area of Purnia 3,229 sq. km
Latitude of Purnia 250 13’ 80” to 270 7’ 59 N”
Longitude of Purnia 860 59’ 6” to 870 52’ 35” E
No. of Sub-Division in Purnia 04
No. of Blocks in Purnia 14
No. of Villages in Purnia 1296
Average rainfall in Purnia 1411.5 mm
How to Reach Purnia
Purnia district is connected with National Highway No. - 31 and the nearest Railway Station is Katihar which is linked with most of the important places of the country. Private as well as State Govt. daily Bus services are available for Uttar Pradesh, Bengal, Assam, Orisa and Jharkhand. People of these states may reach here using bus services.
Climate in Purnia
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 in Purnia
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.
Forests in Purnia
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.
Rivers in 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 Purnia City and new Purnia 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 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.
Education in Purnia
Though the literacy rate in Purnia has been low, lately an upward shift is being witnessed.
The Students of Purnia 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 Purnia include Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalaya,Garhbanaili, Don-Bosco School, BBM High School, Jila School, Millia Convent, Urse Line Convent for Secondary Education. For higher educations there is Purnia College, Mahila College and Law Collage, Purnia.
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.
Festivals in Purnia
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 Mohammedans 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.
Kamakya Mandir of Purnia
Kamakya Mandir is also in the Purnia 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 and Bhabanipur. It is only 14 kilometres (Template:Convert/mile) from the district headquarters.
Ganga-Darjeeling Road of Purnia
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 of Purnia
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.
Baghnagar of Purnia
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 of Purnia
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 of Purnia
It 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 of Purnia
It 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 of Purnia
It is one of the village of Barhara Kothi. It is very famous for KOKAFUL, like Lotus Flower.
Barijangarh of Purnia
It 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 of Purnia
There are two temples. One is a Mahadeva temple and the other that of the goddess Durga.
Benugarh of Purnia
A ruined fort consists of ramparts, enclosing an area of nearly an acre, and ascribed to Benu Raja, the brother of Asura.
Chakla of Purnia
This place is famous for manufacture of wheels of bullock carts. People of chakla depends on labourship for bread and butter.
Dharara of Purnia
A 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 Manikthan. 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 of Purnia
It is the best commercial place in the district. A big fair is arranged here in the months of Nov-Dec.
Jalalgarh of Purnia
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 of Purnia
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 of Purnia
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 Purnia.
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 of Purnia
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 of Purnia
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.
Manihari of Purnia
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.
Sarsi of Purnia
It is at a distance of 18 miles (29 km) to the northeast 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.
Thankurganj of Purnia
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