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Purnea Junction Railway Station
Purnea Junction Railway Station
Mini Darjeeling,[1] Jute City[citation needed]
Purnea is located in Bihar
Location in Bihar, India
Purnea is located in India
Location in India
Coordinates: 25°46′41″N 87°28′34″E / 25.778°N 87.476°E / 25.778; 87.476Coordinates: 25°46′41″N 87°28′34″E / 25.778°N 87.476°E / 25.778; 87.476
Country India
RegionMithila (Kosi—Seemanchal subregion)
Established14 February 1770
Named forGoddess Puran Devi or Sanskrit word Purn Aranya
 • TypeMunicipal Corporation (India)
 • BodyPurnea Municipal Corporation
 • MayorSavita Devi
 • MPSantosh Kumar Kushwaha
 • MLAVijay khemka
 • District MagistrateMr. Rahul Kumar(IAS)
 • Urban Agglomeration92 km2 (36 sq mi)
 • Urban
60 km2 (20 sq mi)
Area rank2nd in Bihar
36 m (118 ft)
 • Urban Agglomeration310,817
 • Rank5th in Bihar
 • Urban
Time zoneUTC+5:30 (IST)
854301,854302(Main City), 854303(South-West Suburbs & Purnia Airport), 854304(North-West Suburbs), 854305(Khuskibagh & Purnia Railway station), 854326(Eastern Suburbs), 854330(Northern Suburbs & Kasba)
Telephone code+91 6454
Vehicle registrationBR-11
Lok Sabha constituencyPurnia

Purnia (About this soundpronunciation )(also romanized as Purnea) is a city that serves as the administrative headquarters of both Purnia district and Purnia division in the Indian state of Bihar. It is the largest city in northeastern Bihar also known as Kosi- Seemanchal area.[citation needed] Total geographical area of Purnia Urban Agglomeration is 92 km2 (35.52 sq mi) which is next only to Patna. Population density of the city is 3058 persons per km sq. making it the 6th largest city of Bihar by population. It is nearly 302 kilometres from Patna, as well as 171 km from Siliguri, 90 km from Bhagalpur.It is 640 km from Guwahati (Approx.) and 450 km from Kolkata, the capital of the adjacent state of West Bengal and the largest city in East India. Purnia district covers 3202.31 sq. km of the state of Bihar. The Indian Army, Indian Air Force, and three of five branches of India's Central Armed Police Forces – the Border Security Force (BSF), the Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB), and the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) – have bases around the district.


Several possible origins for the name Purnia have been proposed. The name may originate from the Sanskrit word Purna–Aranya, which means "complete jungle".[2] Purnia could also be an altered form of the old name Purania, derived from the word purain or Lotus, which is said to have grown on the Kosi and Mahananda rivers. This derivation is stated by O'Malley[who?] and is also in the old gazetteer.[clarification needed][citation needed] Another alternative derivation is from the words Purn Aranya. W.W. Hunter and Buchanan[who?] have mentioned the name of Purnia,[clarification needed][citation needed] it being a forested area, using a combination of the words purn (full) and aranya (forest). In 2007 Purnia DM Mr Ramweshar formed a group to find, Purnea district records. Team member past due Sankar dy investigated British authorities information then he changed into concluded as, Purnea district became fashioned on 14 February 1770 before Bihar Bangal department. Each year, 14 February is celebrated in memory of the city's origin.

The city's name is also romanized as Purnea.


Purnia is part of the Mithila region.[3] Mithila first gained prominence after being settled by Indo-Aryan peoples who established the Mithila Kingdom (also called Kingdom of the Videhas).[4] During the late Vedic period (c. 1100–500 BCE), Videha became one of the major political and cultural centers of South Asia, along with Kuru and Pañcāla. The kings of the Videha Kingdom were called Janakas.[5] The Videha Kingdom was later incorporated into the Vajji confederacy, which had its capital in the city of Vaishali, which is also in Mithila.[6]

At the beginning of British rule, many people from Europe came to Purnia and settled here. At that time, Purnia was a complete 'Purania', which means jungle. In the early days, Europeans settled around the Saura river in the middle of the city, which we now know as Rambagh area.

However, later all these Europeans started coming west from Saura river and started making their own 'Kothi'. The civil lines we see in different parts of the country were also in Purnia. The only difference was that in the civil lines of Lucknow, Kanpur etc., British officers used to stay, while Gentlemen Farmers in Purnia.

Among the most active European zamindars in Purnia were Alexander John Forbes and Palmer. Alexander John Forbes bought the Sultanpur pargana from Mahajan Babu Pratap Singh of Murshidabad in 1859 AD and became a Zamindar. Forbes city (Forbesganj) in the Sultanpur pargana was named after him. But Forbes lived in the city of Purnia. He was interested in building the race course and all other kinds of clubs.

Today, in the city where we see the Girl's high school, Forbes Kothi was used to be there. The Kothi used to be full with European settlers in the past.

It is said that Forbes was fond of farming. Due to this hobby, he chose Sultanpur and did farming enthusiastically. He built a house, fronted by a big pond, house with two cannons to the east and west of the house, whose platform is still there.[citation needed]

Alexander Forbes and his wife Diana died of malaria in 1890. Time changed and the Forbes family sold the Sultanpur estate to the country's business house J. K. Singhania, because at that time there was a lot of jute cultivation going here.

Like Forbes, another Englishman lived in Purnia for a long time, his name was Palmer. He bought the zamindari of a king here and settled here. Palmer's only daughter, Mrs. Downing, was his heir. Mrs. Downing had two heirs - her son C. Y. Downing and daughter Mrs. Hays.

Today, the grand residence of Hez Saheb is the main building of Purnia College. There are different stories about Palmer, but other than those stories, this Englishman is still in the memories of Purnia.

Actually there is a dyke in the city which protects the city from floods. There is one area in the frontier of the city - Baghmara. From here, there is an embankment parallel to the Saura river, which was built by Palmer. This dam has been known as the Palmer Dam named after him.

Indigo cultivation was first started in Purnia by an Englishman named John Kelly. Later many Europeans cultivated indigo here vigorously. The Shillingford-dynasty was the foremost among them who built 'Nilha Kothi' in the places like Nilganj, Mahendrapur, Bhavbada. The story of Shillingford is also very interesting. He was a hunter. Still when we go from Purnea towards Dhamdaha and towards Sarsi area, we get to hear the story of Neelha farmer.

These English Gentleman Farmers have contributed most to the story of becoming Purnia from Poorania. These people did a lot of work regarding the city's settlement. Purnia was very open, green and open area.



Purnia and its surrounding lands lie in the sub-montane alluvial tract of the Gangetic Plain. The city however lies on the banks of numerous tributaries of the Koshi River. Two major rivers traverse Purnia city with the Kari Kosi river on the western end and the Saura river on the eastern end. The main city is situated between these two rivers. The subtown of Kushkibag and Gulabbag, which is also commercial hub of Seemanchal region is further east of the Saura river.

Purnia city has an area of 92 square kilometres (36 sq mi).

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 sand. The alluvial soil is supposed to be[clarification needed] brought by the Ganges and its tributaries from the Himalayas and is very rich in fertilizing nutrients.[citation needed]


Purnia is known for its favourable climate; it has earned the name "Mini Darjeeling" for this reason. Purnia has a largely humid climate, with the highest level of rainfall in Bihar state and humidity rising to above 70%. A cold season, from November to February, is followed by a hot season from March to June. The monsoon season begins in early June and lasts until September; 82% of its total annual rainfall falls during the monsoon season.

January, the coldest month, has a mean daily minimum temperature of 5 to 10 °C and a mean daily maximum of 20 to 25 °C. Wind is typically light in the non-monsoon seasons but during the monsoon, storms and depressions originating in the Bay of Bengal cause heavy rain and strong winds.

Climate data for Purnia (1981–2010, extremes 1901–2009)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 29.3
Average high °C (°F) 23.2
Average low °C (°F) 8.7
Record low °C (°F) 1.3
Average rainfall mm (inches) 9.0
Average rainy days 0.8 1.0 1.0 2.7 6.6 10.8 15.1 13.1 11.4 3.5 0.5 0.6 67.0
Average relative humidity (%) (at 17:30 IST) 75 62 48 50 63 74 82 82 83 80 78 79 71
Source: India Meteorological Department[8][9]


As of the 2011 census, Purnia Municipal Corporation had a total population of 282,248, of which 148,077 were males and 134,171 were females.[10] It had a sex ratio of 906 females to 1,000 males. The population below 6 years was 43,050. The literacy rate for the 6+ population was 73.02%, compared to the 74.04% national average.[11] Purnia Urban Agglomeration, comprising Purnia Municipal Corporation and Kasba (Nagar Panchayat),[12] had a population of 310,817 in 2011.[13]

In 2011 the population was 75.2% Hindu and 23.3% Muslim.[citation needed] Purnia has a majority Maithil population.


Maithili,[14] Angika, Hindi, Urdu and Bengali are the principal languages spoken by the people of Purnia. Surjapuri and Santali dialects are also spoken in some parts of the city. English continues to be taught in the English Medium schools.


Purnia is a developing city with a primarily agricultural economy. Over the past few years it has shown steady economic growth. This is mainly due to increased awareness, modernization, changing lifestyles, and technical advancements in various fields. However, the economy depends indirectly on the monsoon season.

Due to Purnia's growing economy, growing demands, improved connectivity, and infrastructure, it has become a known centre for trade and commerce among the traders of Bihar, West Bengal, and Nepal. In fact, the Nepal-based Chaudhary Group, known across Nepal and India for its Wai Wai noodles, has opened up a manufacturing unit in Maranga.


Purnia is supplied with agricultural products by its surrounding countryside. The alluvial soil, irrigated by the Kosi and Mahananda rivers, has been particularly suited to the paddy cultivation of rice. Other crops grown are potatoes, wheat, khesari, chickpeas, chili peppers, maize, lentils, arhar dal, barley, sugarcane, tobacco, makhana, mung beans, and jute.[15] The previous extensive growing of jute supported a former flourishing jute industry which has now declined. The cultivation of maize has however soared in recent years in the city's outskirts.

Gulab Bagh in Purnia houses a major grain storehouse and is Asia's largest maize trading center. This location as well as central and eastern Bihar supply the grain requirements of Bengal, Nepal, and the states of Northeast India.

Purnia is a powerful poultry producer and has also been catering to the demands of the nearby regions of Nepal and West Bengal for many years. Purnia is also well known for its fisheries. Fishes are also transported to the nearby markets of West Bengal, especially those in the Siliguri Metropolitan Region, the nearest large urban centre.

Bhatta Bazar and Line Bazar

Bhatta Bazar and Line Bazar are the busiest parts in the city with the former being a prime centre for all sorts of economic activities while the latter is the backbone of health care facilities for the people in and around the city.

Bhatta Bazar, located at the heart of the city among some its most densely populated areas, is the main market area catering to the needs of the city's inhabitants. There are numerous shopping complexes, mini malls, departmental stores, confectioners, groceries, studios, electronic stores and showrooms of some multinational and Indian companies, including Reebok, Gini & Jony, Levi's, Killer, Koutons, LawmanPg3, Integrity, Charlie Outlaw, Monte Carlo, Peter England, VIP, Titan Eye Plus, and Duke. This sector also includes good restaurants and hotels. Some spas and saloons have opened in Purnia, most recently the Jawed Habib Beauty Saloon, known across India.

Line Bazar is a prime centre for medical fraternity with doctors of almost every specialization. It has some of the best nursing homes and hospitals in the region of Seemanchal. Patients from all over this region ply to this part of the city in search of better health care facilities. The Line Bazar area has become the new hotspot with an upcoming NH road in the area. As a result, new restaurants, hotels, and small tourism entrepreneurs have appeared. The newest such addition is Hotel Panchwati International, which is close to Max7 hospital and Millia Engineering College. A multi-specialty hospital called Doctors and Hospital Max 7 is also planned and upgrading the medical facilities of the region[clarification needed].

There are other shops of numerous item in which 'Furniture Town' stands aside. It has a vast collection of elegant pieces of furniture.

The medical load from Line Bazar has seen a shift in the recent years to nearby regions, especially the Rambagh sector.


Maranga in Purnia has been evolving into a major industrial sector in recent years, especially due to better connectivity and the ever-increasing demand of the growing population. The region hosts numerous factories and multi-purpose projects, one example being mushroom cultivation. India's first and only jute park, called Punrasar Jute Park, is located at Maranga.

Many real estate development projects viz Apartments, Townships, construction going on like Vastu Vihar, Seemanchal Oxy homes, Panorama city, Lavanya infra etc. Mini malls of the fashion outlet V Mart, mbazar, V2, Big Shop opened in past few years.

Purnia has several cinemas. Several mini malls have also opened in the last few years, mostly centred around the Bhatta Bazar region (see above). Some hotels of good quality are present, and plans for resorts and multiplexes have been discussed. Purnia houses several plant nurseries.

Purnia is a large centre for the sale and service of automobiles. It hosts showrooms of NEXA, Honda, Ford, Maruti Suzuki, Tata, Hyundai, Chevrolet, Renault, Nissan, Datsun, Mahindra & Mahindra, Ashok Leyland, JCB, Piaggio, Atul Auto, Bajaj, Honda, Suzuki, TVS, Royal Enfield, KTM, Yamaha, and Hero, among others. Tractor and farm equipment brands with showrooms in the city include John Deere, Massey Ferguson, Escorts, Swaraj, Mahindra & Mahindra, Tafe, Sonalika, HMT, New Holland, Force, and Eicher.

Purnia is the only city in Bihar other than Patna where International Driving Permits are issued to the relevant authorities.

The economy of the Madhubani region on the city outskirts has also grown steadily over the past few years. Showrooms have been appearing even in this satellite region.


Law College, Purnea

Purnia has always been a centre of education in the north Bihar region. Zila School, founded in 1800 during the period of British rule, is Purnia's oldest school, and one of the city's largest. Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalaya, Garhbanaili (14 km away from main city) is a prestigious school run by the government. Vidya Vihar Residential School, the leading Boarding School of Bihar has its campus at Parora on Purnea. India's leading school chain G D Goenka Public School has its 3rd campus of Bihar in Purnea after Patna and Gaya. Purnia also has a Kendriya Vidyalaya. Other prominent schools are -

  • Don Bosco public school
  • S.R. DAV Public
  • Ursuline Convent English/Hindi Medium School
  • Millia Convent English Medium School
  • Purnia High School
  • Indian Public School
  • B.B.M. High School
  • St. Peter Residential School
  • Mount Zion Mission School
  • Bright Career English School
  • Bijendra Public School
  • Saraswati Vidya Mandir
  • Saraswati Shishu Mandir
  • St. John's High School
  • Greenfield Public School

There are colleges for higher studies concentrating engineering, law, arts, and home science. Having recognition from the state government and various other government universities such as Aryabhatta Knowledge University, Bihar Agriculture University and Purnea University, these colleges include:

  • Purnia College
  • B.M.T. Law College
  • Vidya Vihar Institute of Technology
  • Millia Group of Colleges (managed by Millia Education Trust)
  • Bhola Paswan Shastri Agriculture College
  • Purnia Mahila College
  • Millia Institute of Technology
  • Millia Polytechnic Rambagh
  • Government Polytechnic of Purnea
  • Purnia College of Engineering
  • Simanchal Institute of Medical Science, Kasba (OPD functional from Jan 2018)
  • Purnia Medical College and Hospital, Sadar Hospital (Construction)
  • Shershah Institute of Medical Sciences
  • Medical College and Hospital by Millia Educational Trust

3D animation and multimedia institute:

  • Animation School (Madhubani Bazar)

The Indian Red Cross Society has the largest blood bank in the state after Patna, with a capacity of 1,000 units. The Bihar government recently inaugurated one of the three megastock warehouses for drugs/medicines at Kasba, which aims to serve the 13 districts of North Bihar.

The Indira Gandhi Stadium houses the Sports Authority of India sports hostel for athletes. The DSA and Zila School grounds are the city's outdoor stadiums.

The region has been blessed with Purnea University (9th University of Bihar). The university is the only in Purnea Commissionerate. It includes colleges of Purnea, Katihar, Araria and Kishanganj.



Helicopter at Air Force Station Purnea

Purnea Airport, also known as Chunapur Airport (Airforce Station), is located within the cantonment area but is restricted to army usage only. Proposals for the airport to operate scheduled flights are being widely discussed at the level of the state government. Recently Spirit Air has tried to start flights from Purnia to Patna.

The nearest commercial airport, Bagdogra Airport, is about 150 km away at Bagdogra in Darjeeling district. Jay Prakash Narayan International Airport (Patna Airport) is located in Patna, capital of Bihar, at a distance of 310 km from Purnia. Plans exist for a new civilian airport located in Purnia.


Purnia is served by two railway stations separated by 5 km, Purnia Junction (station code: PRNA) and Purnia Court (station code: PRNC). Purnia Junction is closer to the residents of Khuskibagh, Gulabbagh, and Eastern Purnia, while Purnia Court is in the western part of the city and caters to the residents of Madhubani, Janta Chowk, and Central and Western Purnia. Purnia Junction is situated on Barauni–Katihar, Saharsa and Purnia sections of the Northeast Frontier Railway (NFR) and East Central Railway zone that connects Purnia to Katihar Junction, Jogbani, Saharsa Junction and Barauni Junction. There are daily and weekly trains to Kolkata, Delhi Junction, Patna Junction, Ranchi Junction, Muzaffarpur Junction, Motihari, Lucknow Charbagh, Kanpur Central, Gorakhpur Junction, Gaya Junction, and other nearby cities.


National Highways namely NH 31, NH 27, NH 231, NH 131A make Purnia accessible to the people from nearby cities & states while state highways connect the other neighbouring cities and villages to the main city area. The newly constructed NH 27 directly connects Purnia to some important towns and cities of North Bihar namely Darbhanga & Muzaffarpur. It takes nearly 5 hours to reach Muzaffarpur through this Expressway. This expressway which also traverses through the newly built Kosi Mahasetu bridge ends at Muzaffarpur to continue further for Patna. It has turned out to be an alternate route for Patna & has helped in decongesting the ever busy and traffic-prone NH31.

NH 31 traverse the main city and terminate Gulab bagh at NH 27 in the east and Patna to the west via Mokama, Khagaria & Begusarai.

The east–west corridor connecting Silchar, Assam to Gujarat passes through Purnia in the form of NH 27. It is a modern four-lane highway constructed by National Highways Authority of India (NHAI). State Highways 60, 62, 65, 77 & 90 also pass through Purnia.

NH 31 and NH 27 are four-lane expressways and are a strength to the intercity transportation services.

There are numerous buses which run for Patna, Bhagalpur, Ranchi, Jamshedpur, Muzaffarpur, Katihar & Siliguri on a daily basis. There is also a daily scheduled bus for Kolkata and New Delhi.

Several transportation companies which in collaboration with the state government's BSRTC in the year 2011 launched luxurious Mercedes-Benz and Volvo buses connecting Purnia to Patna on a daily basis.

Intra-city transport

A large number of cycle-rickshaws, Nearly 40,000[citation needed] auto-rickshaws and city buses serve the city.

Notable Events

Phanishwar Nath Renu's popular story "Maare Gaye Gulfam" which was adapted into a film Teesri Kasam (The Third Vow), by Basu Bhattacharya (produced by the poet-lyricist Shailendra) in 1966 was shot in Purnia, in which old Purnea is pictured, especially 'the Gulabbag Mela'.[citation needed]

Purnia held the record for making and displaying the world's longest tricolour flag, with the length measured at 7,100 metres (7.1 km) before it was broken on 12 August 2019 by Raipur, Chattisgadh.[16][17][18]

Notable people

See also


  1. ^ "गर्म हो रहा मिनी दार्जिलिंग का मिजाज". Dainik Jagran. Archived from the original on 11 May 2018. Retrieved 11 May 2018.
  2. ^ "Official Web site of Purnea Dist. Admn". Archived from the original on 15 October 2018. Retrieved 13 July 2012.
  3. ^ Jha, Makhan (1997). Anthropology of Ancient Hindu Kingdoms: A Study in Civilizational Perspective. pp. 27–30. ISBN 9788175330344.
  4. ^ Witzel, Michael (1989). Caillat (ed.). Tracing the Vedic dialects in Dialectes dans les litteratures Indo-Aryennes. Paris. pp. 13, 17 116–124, 141–143.
  5. ^ Witzel, Michael (1989). "Tracing the Vedic dialects". In Caillat, C. (ed.). Dialectes dans les litteratures Indo-Aryennes. Paris: Fondation Hugot. pp. 141–143.
  6. ^ Hemchandra, R. (1972). Political History of Ancient India. Calcutta: University of Calcutta.
  7. ^ "शहरनामाः खेत पूर्णिया का जमींदार यूरोप के". (in Hindi). Retrieved 18 July 2020.
  8. ^ "Station: Purnea Climatological Table 1981–2010" (PDF). Climatological Normals 1981–2010. India Meteorological Department. January 2015. pp. 631–632. Archived from the original (PDF) on 5 February 2020. Retrieved 24 August 2020.
  9. ^ "Extremes of Temperature & Rainfall for Indian Stations (Up to 2012)" (PDF). India Meteorological Department. December 2016. p. M37. Archived from the original (PDF) on 5 February 2020. Retrieved 24 August 2020.
  10. ^ District Census Handbook - Purnia (PDF). 2014. p. 24. Archived (PDF) from the original on 16 May 2017. Retrieved 9 May 2018.
  11. ^ "Cities having population 1 lakh and above" (PDF). Provisional Population Totals, Census of India 2011. Archived (PDF) from the original on 7 May 2012. Retrieved 16 April 2012.
  12. ^ "Constituents of urban Agglomerations Having Population 1 Lakh & above" (PDF). Provisional Population Totals, Census of India 2011. Archived from the original (PDF) on 6 March 2016. Retrieved 16 April 2012.
  13. ^ "Urban Agglomerations/Cities having population 1 lakh and above" (PDF). Provisional Population Totals, Census of India 2011. Archived from the original on 26 December 2018. Retrieved 16 April 2012.
  14. ^ Ranjan, Manish. Bihar Samanya Gyan. p. 111. ISBN 9789386300850.
  15. ^ "Agriculture in Purnia". Archived from the original on 30 December 2010. Retrieved 13 February 2011.
  16. ^ "7km-long tricolour to be hoisted in Purnia on Aug 20 - Times of India". Archived from the original on 23 August 2016. Retrieved 23 August 2016.
  17. ^ "World Largest Flag Purnea Bihar". 1st News 24x7. 20 August 2016. Archived from the original on 8 February 2017. Retrieved 23 August 2016.
  18. ^ ""Human Chain" Unfurls 15-Km-Long Tricolour In Chattisgarh, Enters Record". Archived from the original on 4 December 2019. Retrieved 4 December 2019.

Further reading

  • Chakrabarti D.K. (1996b). From Purnea to Champaran: The distribution of sites in the north Bihar plains. South Asian Studies, 12: pp. 147–158