बाँका (Banka)

Banka (बाँका) is a city and a municipality serving as district headquarters. It is one of the most important business hubs in Bihar. It is the 10th largest city within Bihar. The city is historically very important because of Mandar Hill where Samudra Manthan has been occurred by Hindu rituals. The District was formed on 21st February 1991. 

Geography

The district, part of Bhagalpur division, has its headquarters in Banka town. Banka district occupies an area of 3,020 square kilometres (1,170 sq mi), comparatively equivalent to Canada’s Akimiski Island.

The district comprises only one subsdivision, Banka, which is further divided into eleven blocks: Banka, Amarpur, Shambhuganj, Belhar, Fullidumar, Katoria, Chandan, Baunsi, Barahat, Dhoraiya, and Rajoun.

Chanan is the main river of Banka. Barua is the second main river near Dubaa village in Banka.

Economy
Banka is a largely agrarian economy and is considered the “rice bowl” of Bihar. The main crops are rice, wheat, corn, and lentils. The Amarpur belt produces sugar cane and is home to gur sugar mills.

Banka is strategically located near the source of raw materials for heavy industries. Its proximity to Jharkhand (bordering Deoghar, Dumka, and Godda) and the River Chandan makes it a very strong contender for coal-based power plant investment and other heavy industry. There is a 4000 MW thermal power plant is planned in Kakwara village. Abhijeet Group has planned to built a 1320 MW thermal power plant at Baunsi. Ericsson Power Ltd has planned to set up a 1320 MW thermal power plant at Prabhawati Nagar. Dalmia Power has planned to set up a 1320 MW coal-based thermal power project in Dona village.

Tourism and Culture

Banka is a religious tourism hotspot for Hinduism and Jainism. 

Old Mandar Parvat (also known as Mandarachal Parvat in Puran) is home to many religious attractions. 

A Jain temple at the summit, in close proximity to a Vishnu temple, is a sign of religious tolerance. 

Every year in January, Bounsi Mela is organised, which depicts the village life of the Mandar region. 

A Ratha-Yatra procession of Lord Madhusudanah occurs every year on the same day as the Ratha-Yatra procession in Puri. Fourteenth-century Vaishnava saint Chaitanya Mahaprabhu started this Ratha-Yatra during his visit to Mandar.

A temple dedicated to the Hindu goddess Durga is located in Banka. Every year during Durga Puja, devotees from many parts of India visit this temple.

Two temples-Narshimha (one of the incarnations of Vishnu) Temple and Digamber Jain Tirthanakar-are located at the top of a mountain known as Mandar Parbat, which is about 500 metres (1,600 ft) tall and made of a single piece of stone. 

Another temple, Avantika Nath Temple, is located at the bottom of Mandar Parbat. 

A temple of Lord Shiva is in Jethore hill near Chanan River. The literal meaning of Jethore is “jyesth” meaning elder Gaur means brother of Deoghar temple. 

Maa Kali Mandir in Kamalpur village is another temple. 

A Mahalakshmi temple is located in front of Paapharni Pond.

Recently, Lakshminarayan Temple was built in the centre of Paapharni through the contributions of locals. 

3 kilometres (1.9 mi) east of Rajoun village Mahada is situated, which is has goddesses Durga Mandir and Kali Mandir, and God Shiva Mandir.

The district is known for its rich tribal culture and its handicrafts and handlooms. The homemade Khadi and silk of the area are popular. Most of the raw silk cocoon is produced in Katoria; in fact, major part of the raw materials required for silk industry in Bhagalpur is supplied from Katoria.

Mandargiri Digambar Jain Siddha Kshetra is located at the top of a mountain known as Mandar Parbat, which is about 500 metres (1,600 ft) tall and made of a single piece of stone. This place is related to the three Kalyanka-Tup (penance), Keval Gyan (omniscience), & Moksha of Bhagawan Vasupujya. It means that this is the place where Vasupujya Swami accepted penance, achieved the supernatural knowledge and finally got salvation. Moolnayak of this temple is a coral-colored idol of Lord Vasupujya in Padmasana posture. A 5 feet tall statue of Vasupoojya is also present here. The temple also has a Dharamshala equipped with modern facilities.

Some other tourist places:

Kairwa Valley

Bilasi Dam

Navtolia Bandh

Katahar’s Park

Maa Bishari Mandir

Badua Dam

Badruka Maharna Local Park

Odhni Dam

Prominent People From Banka

Banka is the homeland of the revolutionary Satish Prasad Jha, one of seven martyrs who hoisted the flag of India at the Secretariat building near Patna on 11 August 1942. Jha was born in Kharhara near Dhakamod. 

Bhubaneswar Mishra, a noted regional revolutionary from village Faga has contributed a lot in the freedom movement. He was sentenced to life imprisonment for killing many cruel British forces. 

Banka has been an attractive destination for veteran socialists Madhu Limaye represented the Banka Lok Sabha constituency twice. 

George Fernandes and Raj Narain also contested the parliamentary election in this constituency. 

There were also a number of veteran leaders of the Indian National Congress: Vindhyavasini Devi, MLA (1957–1967); Shakuntala Devi, ex MP; ex-chief minister of Bihar Chandrashekhar Singh, Chaturbhuj Singh Ex. MLA; ex-Rajya Sabha MP Kamakhya Prasad Singh, ex-MP Manorama Singh; and ex-MLA Jai Prakash Mishra. Digvijay Singh (14 November 1955 – 24 June 2010) was an independent who represented Banka in the Lok Sabha, the lower house of the Indian Parliament. Banka played a vital role in the freedom of India.

Digvijay Singh served as a Member of the Parliament of India five times – three times in the Lok Sabha (1998, 1999, and 2009) and two times in the Rajya Sabha (1990 and 2004). 

How to Reach

Air

Banka is not well connected to other major cities of the country via regular flights. The nearest airport is in Deoghar at a distance of 50kms.

Train

The nearest Railway station is at Deoghar which is located at a distance of 51kms..

A railway line connects the existing Bhagalpur with Jasidih and Rampurhat, which is well-connected to Howrah. Banka is also connected to Patna, the capital of Bihar, by a dedicated Express train.

Road

Banks is well connected by road from Deoghar & Bhagalpur. 

Auto-rickshaws and cycle-rickshaws are the most commonly used modes of communication within this city. Apart from that, buses to reach Mandar Hills are also available.

Best Time To Visit

Winter months are the best time to visit and enjoy the local culture and enthusiasm in the town.

Note:

Don’t wander alone as the place has many wild animals.Avoid stepping out after it is dark, as the streets get isolated