Bhagalpur is a city and municipal corporation in the state of Bihar, India. Bhagalpur is one of the oldest districts of Bihar,located in the southern region.Unfortunately, there is no authentic record as to the origin of the name of this city. Bhagalpur (the abode of refugees) is a name said to have been given by the Mughal officers, who collected a number of fugitives. It is situated in the planes of the Ganges river basin at the height of 141 feet above sea level. It is the third largest city of Bihar. It covers an area of 2569.50 km2. and lies between 25o-07' - 25o30' N Latitude and between 86o 37 ' - 87o 30 'E Longitude. It is the administrative headquarters of the Bhagalpur District. Bhagalpur is acclaimed the world over for its silk products and it is known in India as the "Silk City" Famous for its Tussar Silk & Tussar Saree. The city and the district is notorious for its criminal activities and lack of human safety, both of which peaked during 1970s leading to 1980 Bhagalpur blindings. Bhagalpur is the distorted form of Bhagdatpuram (meaning city of Good Luck) as it was called during the flourishing of the Anga Kingdom, and has been the seat of power since.
Bhagalpur is the 3rd largest city in Bihar(population). It is a city of historical importance on the bank of Ganges river, situated 220 km east of Patna and 410 km north west of Calcutta. The city was referred to as one of the biggest trade centers in eastern India by the 7th century Chinese travellers Hsüan-tsang and Fa-Hien. The city had a big harbour on the Ganges River at place called Champanagar (another name for Bhagalpur), now called Champanala, which flows on the western boundary of the present city near Nathnagar. During an archaeological excavation, many boats and coins of the Middle and Far East were found at the same place. Bhagalpur is well connected by rail and roadways. The silk industry in this city is hundreds of years old and its inhabitants have been producing silk for generations.There is a Silk Institute and Agricultural University here, as well as a University (Tilka Manjhi Bhagalpur University), and Engineering (Bhagalpur College of Engineering), Medical (Jawahar Lal Nehru Medical College) and Homeopathic colleges.Recently in 2010 Bihar Agricultural University was set up in Sabour, Bhagalpur.
The Gangetic plains are very fertile and the main crops include rice, wheat, maize, barley, and oilseeds. The economy of Bhagalpur is dependent mainly on agriculture and small businesses.
The Jain temple at Nathnagar is important pilgrimage centre for Jains. Budha nath Temple is ancient Shiva Temple on the bank of Ganges. Sultanganj (about 25 km West)is animportant religious center for Hindus from where holy water of Ganges is carried and offered at Deoghar.
HistoryThe religious festival of "Vish-hari Puja" or "the worship of the Snake Queen" or "Manasa Devi, said to be a daughter of lord Shiva and Queen of Snakes" traces its roots back hundreds of years and is still celebrated every year with thousands of believers and snake charmers offering milk to the Nag (the Snake King) and Nageen (The Snake Queen).
References to Bhagalpur can be found in Indian epics like the Ramayana and the Mahabharata where Bhagalpur has been described as the kingdom of Anga. Ancient cave sculptures of Emperor Ashoka's regime (274 BC-232 BC) are found in the neighbourhood and at Sultangunj, 20 km west of Bhagalpur, a temple of the Gupta period (320-500) still exists in Bhagalpur. The tomb of Suja, brother of Moghul emperor Aurangzeb, in the heart of the town is reminiscent of the city's association with the Mughal period.
The ruins of ancient Vikramshila University are located 44 km east of Bhagalpur. The royal university of Vikramsila, ranks next to Nalanda and owes its origin to Dharmapala (770-810 A.D.), the devout Pala king who loved to call himself Paramasaugata (chief worshipper of the Buddha) and was a great patron of Mahayana Buddhism. It was the medieval center to the conservation and propagation of Buddhist education, established by King Dharampal of Bengal (783-820) at the end of the 8th century.
Bhagalpur formed a part of the ancient Sanskrit kingdom of Anga said to be ruled by king Karna of Mahabharata who was well known for his charity. In later times it was included in the powerful Hindu kingdom of Magadha or Behar, and in the 7th century it was an independent state, with the city of Champa as its capital. It afterwards formed a part of the Mohammedan Kingdom of Gaur, and was subsequently subjugated by Akbar, who declared it to be a part of the Delhi empire. Bhagalpur passed to the East India Company by the grant of the emperor Shah Alam II in 1765.
The communal violence that broke out in and around Bhagalpur in October 1989 continued for about two months and nearly 1,070 lives lost.
Mythological Significance Bhagdattpuram (now Bhagalpur) was one of the most influential towns in "Aryavarta" (as India was known as at that time). It is supposed to have been concurrent to Patliputra or Patna. Bhagdattpuram finds its mention in the Vedas and Ramayana as well. It is supposed to be the kingdom of Daanvir Karna, the son of Kunti and the Sun God. Under his rule, the town was known as "Anga Pradesh" or "Angadesh". The word Bhagdattpuram literally means "City of Good Luck."
Mount Mandara, situated 52 kilometres (approximately 32 miles) south from Bhagalpur on Bausi Road, is believed to have been used as the churner during Samudra-Manthan (churning of the sea) by the Gods and Demons (Danava) according to Hindu mythology. Mandara is associated with Samudra-Manthan which suggests that the hill was used by the gods to churn the ocean to procure amrit. The serpent, Vasuki offered to serve as the rope and has left behind an impression of the coil on the granite hill. It is believed that Panchjanya, the conch shell used in the Mahabharat was discovered here in the "Shankh Kund". The Puranas also refer to the hill. It is believed to have been visited by Vishnu as Madhusudana (the destroyer of Madhu the Demon). It is said that Vishnu covered Madhu under the hill after defeating him to death. Kalidasa's Kumarasambhava refers to foot marks of Vishnu on the slopes of Mandara. The hill is replete with relics of bygone ages. Apart from inscriptions and statues, there are numerous rock cut sculptures depicting various images of Hindu Gods. The hill is equally revered by the Jains who believe that their 12th Tirthankara attained nirvana at the summit. The area around Mandara Hill is laced with a landscape of extraordinary splendour. The 800 feet high granite hill is a sight to see in the daylight. It is a popular picnic spot for people living in the area.