भागलपुर (Bhagalpur – The Silk City)

Introduction

Bhagalpur (STD Code: 0641), a town of historical importance in the state of Bihar in the eastern part of India is situated on the southern bank of the Ganga river. Situated 220 KM east of state capital Patna and 410 KM north west of Calcutta.  25.07°N – 25.30°N latitude and between 86.37°E – 87.30°E longitude. 

The city was referred to as one of the biggest trade centers in Eastern India by the 7th century Chinese travelers Hsüan-tsang and Fa-Hien. The city had a big harbour on the River Ganges at a place called Champanagar, now called Champanala, which flows on the western boundary of the present city near Nathnagar. Many boats and coins of the Middle and Far East were found during an archaeological excavation carried out in the 1970s.

The silk industry in the city is hundreds of years old producing Tussar Silk and Tussar Saree, and Bhagalpur is known in India as the “Silk City”. Located here are the Silk Institute and Agricultural University.

The Gangetic plain is very fertile and the main crops are Rice, Wheat, Corn, Barley, oil seeds etc. The economy of Bhagalpur is mainly agriculture and Silk dependent. Although there is great potential of agro-based Industry but not many exists as on date.

History

The name Bhagalpur is etymologically derived from Bhagdatpuram (meaning city of Good Luck), as it was called during the flourishing period of the Anga Kingdom. Bhagdatpuram, as per Hindu mythological texts, was the place where the gods (devtas) and demons (asuras) churned the ocean to procure elixir (amrit). It is believed that the serpent, Vasuki, offered to serve as the rope for the churning. An impression of the coil is faintly visible on Mount Mandara, a granite hill situated along the national highway between Bhagalpur and Dumka. It is believed that Panchjanya, the conch shell used in the Mahabharata was discovered here in the “Shankh Kund”. 

The Puranas also refer to this hill. It is said that Vishnu covered the demon Madhu under the hill after defeating him to death. Kalidasa’s Kumarasambhava refers to foot marks of Vishnu on the slopes of Mount 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 splendor. The 800 feet high granite hill is a sight to see during daylight. It is a popular picnic spot for people living in the area. The 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 from Emperor Ashoka’s reign, from 274 to 232 BC are found in the neighborhood and at Sultangunj, 20 km west of Bhagalpur, a temple from the Gupta period 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 ranks next to Nalanda, and owes its origin to Dharmapala, the devout Pala king who called himself Paramasaugata (chief worshiper of the Buddha) and was a great patron of Mahayana Buddhism. It was the medieval center for the conservation and propagation of Buddhist education, established by KingDharampal of Bengal 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. Afterwards it formed a part of the Mohammedan Kingdom of Gaur, West Bengal, 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. Bhagalpur was one of the most important trade centers in Bengal Presidency during the British rule in India.

The communal violence that broke out in and around Bhagalpur in October 1989 continued for about two months, during which nearly 1200 lives were lost. Since then, it has emerged as one of the most economically and socially stable districts of Bihar.

The Jain Temple at Nathnagar is an important pilgrimage center for Jains. Budha Nath Temple is an ancient Shiva Temple on the bank of Ganges. Sultanganj (about 25 km West) is an important religious center for Hindus from where holy water of Ganges is carried and offered at Deoghar. Bhagalpur also has the shrine of Shawaz Rahmat-ulla near Bhagalpur Railway Station and Centre of Tablighi Jamat at Champanagar

 

Getting There

ROAD

NH 80 and NH 31 pass through the Bhagalpur district. The Vikramshila Setu connects NH 80 to NH 31. The city has a good road network.  Bhagalpur is well connected to major cties of Patna, Kolkata, Ranchi, Jamshedpur, Munger, Gaya. etc. by various National Highway and State Highways.

Bus
Long distance buses connect Bhagalpur with major cities like Patna, Hazaribagh, Ranchi, Tatanagar, Gaya etc.

TRAIN
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Bhagalpur Railway Station Building

 Bhagalpur Railway Station Building

Bhagalpur Junction railway station is situated on the Khana- Quil loop line which serves Bhagalpur with numerous number of trains. It is the 3rd busiest line in Bihar. About 40 pair Express and 10 pair passenger train go from this line. Bhagalpur Junction is A1 grade Railway station. It is the Highest revenue earner in the Malda Rail Division and third major railway station of Eastern Railway after Howrah and Sealdah. Bhagalpur is well connected with Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Bangalore, Ajmer, Kanpur, Patna, Guwahati,Surat, and Munger and other cities. In the Rail Budget of 2008, Bhagalpur was upgraded as a Railway Division. The new rail lines which are under construction are Sultanganj to Deoghar, Bhagalpur to Dumka, Bhagalpur- Godda via Hanshdiya, Banka to Deoghar. It is also the originating station for many superfast and express trains.

AIR

Bhagalpur city had an airport which was functional during 1970-1980 with regular flights to nearby major cities. The new airport project has failed to take-off due to unavailability of land. 

Newly launched airport in Deoghar is the nearest airport, which is approximately 125 kms from Bhagalpur.

LOCAL TRANSPORT

Bhagalpur city has approximately 200 km road area. The transport system is good with, Auto, Taxi and cycle rickshaw easily available. In the city area around 10,000 autos, 500 private taxis and 200 buses are on the road. Un-metered Taxis, Scooters, Cycle Ricksaws are available.

Vikramshila University

Vikramshila University Ruins

 Vikramshila University Ruins

located 44 Kms east of Bhagalpur, the medievial centre to the conservation and propagation of Buddhist education, established by King Dharampal of Bengal (783 to 820 AD) during the fag end of the eighth century is still a visual delight for visitors.

Champapur Digamber Jain Mandir
It is the birth place of 12th Jain Titrthakar Vasupujya. All the 5 Kalyanaks of Lord Vasupujya were performed here.Champapur is about 4 kms from Bhagalpur Railway Station. There is one beautiful Temple and Jain Bhawan with staying facilities for the pilgrims at Bhagalpur.
Sri Mandirji Gate

Maharshi Mehi Ashram
The Ashram on the bank of River Ganga is also famous by the name of Kuppaghat. Among the attraction is also a cave built by Mir Kasim.

Baba Bateshwar Mandir 
This temple of Lord Bateshwar (Shiva), built between 6th to 8th Century on the bank of river Ganga at Antichak-Vikramshila in the Kahalgaon sub-divsion ( about 45 km. east of Bhagapur) is of religious and historical importance.

Shahjangi Eidgah

Mandar Hills near Bhagalpur

 Mandar Hills near Bhagalpur

Mandar Hill and Paap-harni
It is situated 52 km. south from Bhagalpur and 3km. north to Baunsi. It is believed that Mandar Hill was used as Churner during Samudra-Manthan by God & Danav. On the East, Mandar Vidyapith, Adawait Mission are famous places to visit. A pond famous by name Paapharani, believed to relieve from all sin, also exist here.

There is a Narsingh Bhagwan Cave Temple at Mandar Hill

Vaasupujya Bhagwan Mahavir

 Vaasupujya Bhagwan Mahavir

Meditating ground of Basupuj, 1500ft high Mandar Hill is another Jain pilgrim centre. A Digambar Jain temple has been built on Mandar Hill top. Footprints of Basupuj have been retained at the temple. Chand Sadagar of Manasa Mangal used to live at Nathnagar. Though the wedding room made of iron is under the earth, yet Manasa Temple where Chand Sadagar had worshipped the Devi is still visible.

There are 20 ft Buddha, 5 ft Vishnu, Shakamvari Devi and many other images of Jain Tirthankars.

Moulana Chak Mosque
built during the reign of Mugal emperor Jahangir and farukhshiar is famous pilgrimage for muslims because the sacred remains of Prophet Mohammed Shah is preserved here.

Budhanath Temple – It is an ancient temple situated at the holy bank of river Ganga.

Fathehganj Makbara  built in the 17th century.

Ghuran Peer Baba – Located near SM college, it is dargah of Saint Ghuran Pir Baba. People visit here everyday but on friday it is full packed

Ghantaghar

Bhagalpur Ghantaghar

 Bhagalpur Ghantaghar

Heart of Bhagalpur is 25ft high Clock Tower known as Ghantaghar and around it has come the market place or the old city

Gandhian Thought Department

India’s first P.G. Department for Gandhian Thought where Gandhian Philosophy is taught.

Others Historical Importance
Rabindra Bhawan (Tilha Kothi) – Built by the first Commissioner of Bhagalpur, Augustus Cliveland-‘Cliveland House’ is now known as Rabindra Bhawan.

Other Nearby Attractions

Activities To Do

SHOPPING

People come to Bhagalpur to do local shopping. Bhagalpur is famous for its Tussar Silk Weaving and Linen  people buy Tussar Silk Sarees, Suits, Dupattas etc. Linen Products, Manjusha Painting, Sikki Baskets, Mangoes, Litchi, Home-made Pickles, Papad etc. Katarni Rice and Chura, Tilkut, Tilba etc.

 Famous Malls and Multiplexes

  • Bhagwati Courtyard(M.G ROAD)
  • GTM mall(NH-80,under construction)
  • FM-1 mall(Barari industrial area,under construction)
  • V2 mall(M.G ROAD)
  • Vishal Mega Mart(patal babu road)
  • V Mart(patal babu road)
ADVENTURE TOUR

Trekking 
There are many hills in and around Bhagalpur providing many great escape for a perfect trekking experience.
 
Boating 
Boating in river Ganges is heavenly experiences. If you are lucky, you may also spot Dolphins.
 
Fishing
Being located on the banks of Ganges and surrounded by many small rivers and ponds, Bhagalpur is a perfect place to learn and hone you fishing skills. 
 

Village Tour
If you are coming from a big city and want to experience a real village life, you will get ample opportunity. peaceful life of villages around Bhagalpur will give you a glimpse of simple village life where you may also see rice, wheat, pulses crops.

HISTORICAL TOUR
Bhagalpur has roots to ancient India and it has references from mythology and great historical events. Don’t miss this for sure.

RELIGIOUS TOUR
There are many famous temples, mosques and places of religious importance, and some of them are just in the middle of river Ganges. Do surely visit them and feel the inner peace.

ART & CRAFT TOUR
Bhagalppur is world famous for its Tussar Silk production. Do mark a visit to local weavers and experience the magic yourself. You may also like to visit Manjusha Art cluster to learn its minute details and how it is made by local artisans. Buying an original art piece from them will definitely improve the ethnic feel of your home interiors. Sikki or golden grass baskets are known for natural gold shine and robustness for day to day use. check yourself.

Some of the best hotels to stay in Bhagalpur are:

Where To Eat 

Bhagalpur Has got many good eating joints, you may want to explore:

Grill Paradise

New Royal Darbar Restaurant

Royal darbar

Hotel Sriyash Regency

Urban Taste

Metro Mirchi Restaurant

Kesaria

Hotel Rajhans International

Dosa Plaza

 

Utsav Khana Khazana

Lucknowi chaat

Celebration

Adarsh Jalpan Grih

Mother’s Kitchen

Tourist Information Guide

Bhagalpur Has got many good eating joints, you may want to explore about.

Helpline Number 

  1. Women Helpline – 1081
  2. Police Station – 100
  3. Fire Station –  101
  4. Ambulance – 102, 108
  5. Child Helpline-1098
  6. Covid Helpline: 0641-2409555, 18003456606

Bhagalpur – Facts & Information

Latitude  25°25′N
Longitude 
 87°0′E

STD Code
0641

Area
2570 sq. Kilometers

Population
6,22,537 (2011)

Division
Bhagalpur

Sub-division
Bhagalpur
Kahalgaon
Naugachiya

Major Rivers
Ganga, Chanan

Major Crops
Wheat, Rice, Maize, Gram,Potato, Sugarcane,
Chilli

Major Industries
Tassar Silk, Khandsari & Gur,Handloom, Cotton Fabrics,Papad, Soap,
Pickles

Languages
Angika, Hindi, English

Information Centre
Tourist Information Centre Government of Bihar