Purnia division is an administrative geographical unit of Bihar state of India. Purnia is the administrative headquarters of the division. Currently (2005), the division consists of Purnia district, Katihar district, Araria district, and Kishanganj district.


Early history

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 latter 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 merged with 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 footprints 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.

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 affected 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 took 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.

Places of interest


Mata Mandir is the very popular devi durga mandir in Adampur Purnia. In Navratra people comes from different different place,and it is near the air force station, and very popular name is "matasthan".

Kamakya Mandir

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 (9 mi) 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 joins 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 (1.9 mi) from the main town. It is the temple of Puran devi, a form of goddess Kali.The name of Town Purenea also as per with Goddess Puran Devi.

Dhimeshwarnath Temple-Dhima, Banmankhi

Located in Village Dhima about 3 kilometres (1.9 mi) from the main town (Banmankhi) and 34 kilometres (21.1 mi) from the District town(Purnia). It is the temple of Lord Shiva.


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.


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.


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".


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.


It is one of the village of Barhara Kothi. It is very famous for KOKAFUL, like Lotus Flower. It is situated near a small river named "GADA".


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.


There are two temples. One is a Mahadeva temple and the other that of the goddess Durga.Both are famous temple in this region.


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


This place is famous for manufacture of wheels of bullock carts.


It is at a distance of 2 kilometres (1.2 mi) from the main town (Banmankhi) and 32 kilometres (19.9 mi) from the District town (Purnia). There is a famous temple of Lord Shiva, Maa Durga and Maa Kali.


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 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.


It is the second best commercial place in the district after bhatta bazaar. A big fair is arranged here in the months of Nov-Dec.Here is a famous pond known as Sultanpokhar .


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.


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.


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.


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 11 December 1857.


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


Coordinates: 25°47′N 87°28′E / 25.78, 87.47

Template:Purnia Division

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