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Tirhut region in India

Tirhut (Devanagari:तिरहुत, Tirhuta: তিরহুত) is a region in Bihar, India. Its name is a simplification of the Sanskrit tirbhuktī (তিরভুক্তী/तिरभुक्ती), which means a land bounded by 3 rivers. The rivers defining Tirhut are Gandak in the west, Kosi in the east and Ganga in the south.[1]

Tirhut Division or Tirhut Commissionary[2] is also an administrative-geographical unit of Bihar. Muzaffarpur is the headquarters of the Division. The Division comprises Six (06) Districts -- Muzaffarpur, West Champaran (headquartered at Bettiah), East Champaran (headquartered at Motihari), Vaishali (headquartered at Hajipur), Sitamarhi and Sheohar.

The administrative head of Tirhut Division is a Commissioner, a senior officer of the Indian Administrative Service (IAS). Tirhut's present Divisional Commissioner is Shri Atul Prasad,[3][4] a 1987 Batch IAS officer of the Bihar cadre.

Other names[edit]

Videha is now what known as Mithila in Janakpur, Nepal, Tibhukti, Republic of Vajji and The Great Vajji Union are alternative names of Tirhut.[1]

Cities of Tirhut[edit]

Muzaffarpur is a major settlement in the Tirhut region. Darbhanga, Barauni, Saharsa and Purnea are the other important towns within the region. Vaishali, Lichhavi, Sitamarhi and Darbhanga are tourist destinations in Tirhut.[5]


Agriculture is the main economic activity of this relatively poor region. The main crops are rice, wheat, pulses, moong, urad, arhar, jute and maize. Further cash crops include chillies, coriander, turmeric, ginger, bananas and tobacco.

Other industries are largely concentrated in Muzaffarpur. These include dairies, railway engineering workshops and leather production.


Ancient History[edit]

Ramayana King Sirdhwaj Janaka, the 21st king of the Janaka Dynasty ruled ancient Mithila(now in Southern Nepal) along with Tirhut. Mithila, an ancient place in this region, bears a value of sacred Hindu belief where, Seeta (other name Vaidehi: The Princes of Videha) sprang to life out of an earthen pot while Rajarshi Janak was tilling the land. There had been 57 kings in this dynasty.[6]

After the end of the Janaka dynasty, Videha/Tirhut was divided into 8 states, Mithila was isolated to Nepal and power was devolved to local elected representatives. Ancient Mithila,Tirhut was the world's first democratic republic. During this period, Tirhut was known as the Vajji Republic or the Great Union of Vajji.

Even the powerful kingdom of Magadh had to conclude matrimonial alliances in 519 B.C. with the neighboring states of the Licchavis(Nepal). Ajatshatru invaded Vaishali and extended his sway over Tirhut. It was at this time that Pataliputra (the modern Patna) was founded at the village Patali on the banks of the sacred river Ganga and Ajatshatru built an invincible fortress to keep vigil over the Licchavis on the other side of the river. Ambarati, 40 km from Muzaffarpur is believed to be the village home of Amrapali, the famous Royal court dancer of Vaishali. Vaishali, a center of religious renaissance, Baso Kund, the birthplace of Mahavir, the 24th Jain Tirthankar and a contemporary of Lord Buddha continue to attract visitors from across the international boarders.

From the visit of Hieuen Tsang till the rise of the Pala dynasty, Tirhut was under the control of King Harsha Vardhan. After 647 A.D., the region passed on to the local chiefs. In the 8th century A.D. the Pala kings continued to have their hold over Tirhut until 1019 A.D. Later Chedi kings of Central India ruled till they were replaced by the Sena dynasty in the 11th century.

Islamic Invasion[edit]

Between 1210 & 1226, Ghais-u-ddin Iwaz, the ruler of Bengal, was the first Muslim invader of Tirhut. He, however, could not succeed in conquering the kingdom but extorted tributes. It was in 1323 that Ghiyasuddin Tughlaq established his control over Tirhut.

The history of Tirhut will remain incomplete without a reference to the Simraon dynasty (in the Western part of Tirhut i.e. Champaran) and its founder Nanyupa Deva who extended his power over the whole of Tirhut and Nepal.

During the regime of Harasimha Deva, the last king of the dynasty, Tughlaq Shah invaded Tirhut in 1323 and gained control over the territory. Tughlaq Shah handed over the management of Tirhut to Pt. Kameshwar Thakur. Thus, the sovereign power of Tirhut passed from the Hindu chiefs to the Muslims but the Hindu chief continued to enjoy complete autonomy.[5]

Maithili Poet Vidyapati[edit]

During this period (1352–1448), Vidyapati Thakur was a Maithili poet and Sanskrit scholar in the region. He was born in Village Bisphi of Madhubani. Folklore says that he was such a great devotee of Lord Shiva that the lord was really pleased with him. And once He decided to come to live in his house as a servant. As the servant, he is said to have taken the name Ugna. At several places in the region, Lord Shiva is still worshipped by this name. It is said that the lord in form of servant had imposed a condition on Vidyapati that he could not disclose his identity to anyone else or else he would go away. One day, When Vidyapati's wife was angry at her servant and started to beat him Vidyapati could not tolerate the same and asked his wife not to beat Lord Shiva himself and since then the lord disappeared and never was he seen again.[7]

Tirhut Under the administration of Bengal[edit]

By the end of the 14th century, the whole of Tirhut passed on to the kings of Jaunpur and remained under their control for nearly a century until Sikandar Lodi of Delhi defeated the king of Jaunpur. Meanwhile, Hussain Shah, the Nawab of Bengal had become so powerful that he exercised his control over large tracts including Tirhut. The emperor of Delhi advanced against Hussain Shah in 1499 and got control over Tirhut after defeating its Raja. The power of the Nawabs of Bengal began to wane and with the decline and fall of Mahood Shah, north Bihar including Tirhut formed a part of the mighty Mughal Empire. Though Muzaffarpur with the entire north Bihar had been annexed yet the petty powerful chieftains continued to exercise effective control over this area till the days of Daud Khan[disambiguation needed], the Nawab of Bengal. Daud Khan had his stronghold at Patna and Hajipur and after his fall a separate Subah of Bihar was constituted under the Mughal dynasty and Tirhut formed a part of it.

Tirhut Under British Administration[edit]

East India Company in 1764 after the battle of Buxar controlled over whole of Bihar (Including Tirhut) . The success of the insurgent at Delhi in 1857 caused grave concern to the English inhabitants in Tirhut and revolutionary fervor began to permeate the entire region.[5]

Khudi Ram Bose[edit]

In 1908 the young Bengali revolutionary, Khudi Ram Bose, 18 was hanged for throwing the bomb at the carriage of Pringle Kennedy who was actually mistaken for Kingsford, the District Judge of Muzaffarpur. After independence of India in 1947, a memorial to this young revolutionary patriot was constructed at Muzaffrapur. In 1912, Bihar was carved out of Bengal. Bihar is an unsuccessful alliance of Mithila-Magadh-Anga. The visit of Mahatma Gandhi in Tirhut (Motihari) in December 1920 and again in January 1927 had political effect in arousing the people and Tirhut continued to play a prominent role in the country’s freedom struggle.[5]


People of north of the Ganges River in Bihar are called Tirhutia or Maithil. Famous 14th century poet wrote beautiful song Param Priya Pavan Tirhut Desh. This region is predominantly Hindu with small population of muslims. Maithili and its dialects are spoken in the region. Hindi is the language of officials documentation.[8]

Rivers & Floods[edit]

There are several rivers flowing through this region from north to south and merge in river Ganges. These rivers along with flood bring every year fertile soil to the region. However, sometimes government sponsored floods causes loss of thousands of lives. Major rivers of Tirhut are Mahananda, Gandak, Kosi, Bagmati, Kamala, Balan, Budhi Gandak.[9]

Natural floods[edit]

Since beginning of Human civilization, rivers have been an important part of hum life. Tirhut has 7 major rivers and several tributaries of it. All these rivers receive water from Himalaya. This is the reason, these rivers never have shortage of water. Every year, any of these rivers had been bringing valuable floods for the people of Tirhut. Flood waters used to enter the agriculture land, leave their silt, which are quite fertile and go back to the river. This pattern of humane flood was boon for Tirhut. This made her land extremely fertile. But, natural floods are no more in Tirhut.

Man made floods[edit]

Soon after independence, the Bihar government made several attempts to tame these rivers. They built high barriers on both banks. This caused the rivers to silt up and flood frequently, depositing sandy silt on the surrounding land.

Kosi Flood 2008[edit]

2008 Kosi flood
Flooded Bihar.JPG
Flooded Tirhut region
Duration 18 August 2008
Fatalities 434[10] (Dead bodies were found until 27 November 2008)
Areas affected
Tirhut region, India, and Tirhut region, Nepal

The 2008 Kosi flood was one of the most disastrous floods in the history of Tirhut, an impoverished and densely populated region in India. A breach in the Kosi embankment near the Indo-Nepal border (at Kusha[disambiguation needed] in Nepal) occurred on 18 August 2008. The river changed course and inundated areas which hadn't experienced floods in many decades.[11] The flood affected over 2.3 million people in Tirhut.[12]

The flood killed 250 people and forced nearly 3 million people from their homes in Tirhut.[13] More than 300,000 houses were destroyed and at least 340,000 hectares (840,000 acres) of crops were damaged.[14] Villagers in Tirhut ate raw rice and flour mixed with polluted water. Hunger and disease were widespread. The Supaul district was the worst-hit; surging waters swamped 1,000 square kilometres (247,000 acres) of farmlands, destroying crops.[15]

Renowned figures from Tirhut region[edit]

It is the birthplace of Janak, Sita, Shatanan, Vishwamitra, Yajyavlakya, Maitryee, Gargi, Gautam etc. in epical age. Lord Mahavir was born in 599 B.C. at Kshatriyakund which was a part of the well known Vaishäli republic, now its form southern part of Vaishali. Tirhut had unending number of great scholars like Mandan Mishra- Bharati(Mahishi, Saharsa), Vachaspati I(Thadhi), Kali Das(Ucchaith, Benipatti),Vachaspati II(Samaul, Madhubani), Udyanacharya(Karian, Samastipur), Shankar(Sarisab, Darbhanga), Murari, Pakshdhar, etc. grear writers- Jyotitishwar (varnratnakar 1224 AD),Harimohan jha great poets like Vidyapati, Chanda Jha, Surendra Jha 'Suman', Baidyanath Mishra 'Yatri' who wrote in Hindi also as Nagarjuna, Ramdhari Singh 'Dinkar', Arsi Prasad Singh, Janki Ballabh Shastri,Krishna Kumar Jha Mithila Anveshan etc.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b डॉ॰ शशिधर कुमर "विदेह" (2011-05-25). "।। मिथिला = विदेह = वज्जि / बज्जि = तिरहुत।।: Mithila = Videha = Vajji / Bajji mahasangh = Tirbhukti = Tirhut WHY ??????". Mithilavidehavajjitirhut.blogspot.in. Retrieved 2012-07-13. 
  2. ^ http://tirhut-muzaffarpur.bih.nic.in
  3. ^ http://gad.bih.nic.in/Documents/Transfers/TO-01-05-10-2014.pdf
  4. ^ http://persmin.gov.in/ersheet/MultipleERS.asp?HiddenStr=01BH038800
  5. ^ a b c d http://www.tirhutlive.in/About_tirhut.php
  6. ^ "A Brief History of Muzaffarpur". Muzaffarpur.bih.nic.in. Retrieved 2012-07-13. 
  7. ^ Česky (2012-05-24). "Vidyapati - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia". En.wikipedia.org. Retrieved 2012-07-13. 
  8. ^ Česky. "Bihari languages - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia". En.wikipedia.org. Retrieved 2012-07-13. 
  9. ^ "Rivers of Bihar | Bihar Articles". Bihar.ws. Retrieved 2012-07-13. 
  10. ^ A report by the Department of disaster management, Government of Bihar
  11. ^ A Dalit watch report on the flood camps in Bihar
  12. ^ "Half of Bihar under water, 30 lakh suffer;". CNN IBN. 09/01/2008. Archived from the original on 3 September 2008. Retrieved 2008-09-01.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  13. ^ Michael Coggan in New Delhi (2008-08-29). "Death toll rises from Indian floods - Just In - ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)". Abc.net.au. Retrieved 2012-07-13. 
  14. ^ abc.net.au, Death toll rises from Indian floods
  15. ^ reuters.com, Bihar villagers desperate as floods spread

External links[edit]