Brief history of the district

The district of Bhagalpur is situated in the central part of Bhagalpur division. The city of Bhagalpur is the headquarters of Bhagalpur division as also of the district and Sadar subdivision. There are 3 sub-divisions viz., Naugachia, Bhagalpur Sadar and Kahalgaon in the district. Number of C.D. Blocks in the district is 16. There are 1515 villages and 4 statutory towns in the district.The district of Bhagalpur, as presently constituted, comprised the south-eastern part of the Subah of Bihar in the Mughal times. When the Diwani of Bihar, Bengal and Orissa was granted to the East India Company in 1765, the district consisted of a large area east of Sarkar Munger and, with the exception of Pargana Chhai, lay entirely south of the Ganges. This also included Munger which was separated in 1832.Santhal Pargana was formed into a separate district in 1855-56. The area of the district of the Ganges was thus greatly reduced. In the year 1954, the entire area north of the Ganges, with the exception of Bihpur, Naugachhia and Gopalpur Police Stations was constituted into the new Saharsa district. In the year 1991 Banka sub-division of the district was given the status of a district.Bhagalpur, as presently constituted, contains three subdivisions, viz., Bhagalpur Sadar, Naugachhia and Kahalgaon consisting of 16 Community Development Block-cum-Anchals.No authentic report is available as to the origin of the name of Bhagalpur. In the Bengal District Gazetteer, Bhagalpur, 1911, it has rightly been observed that the limits of the district of Bhagalpur being purely artificial, no connected account of the territory that now bears this name can be expected. However, according to the District Gazetteer of Bhagalpur (1962), Buchanan has observed in his journal that the name is said to have been given by the Mughal officers who collected a number of fugitives, and defended them in the plains from the violence and depredations of the disorderly chiefs of the interior.

Early history

According to traditions preserved in the epics and puranas, the descendants of Anu, the great grandson of Manu, founded the Anava kingdom in the east. Afterwards, this kingdom was divided among the five sons of King Bali, known as Anga, Vanga, Kalinga, Pundia and Sumha. Among the kings of Anga about whom there is some reference, was Lomapada, a contemporary and friend of king Dashrath of Ayodhya. His great grandson was Champa after whom the capital of Anga, till then known as Malini, was renamed as Champa. Anga, alongwith Magadh, first finds mention in Vedic literature in the Atharvaveda Samhita. Buddhist scriptures mention Anga among the different kingdoms in northern India. According to a tradition, Brahmadatta, the king of Anga defeated Bhattiya, the king of Magadh. But the latter’s son, Bimbisar (C.545 B.C.) avenged his father’s defeat and subjugated Anga. Ajatshatru, the next king of Magadh, is said to have transferred his capital to Champa. Subhadrangi, the mother of Ashoka, was a poor Brahmin girl of Champa who was given to Bindusar in marriage.Anga remained a part of the Magadhan Empire under the Nandas, the Mauryas (324-185 B.C.), the Sugas (185-75 B.C.) and the Kanvas (75-30 B.C.). During the rule of the Kanvas, king Kharavela of Kalinga invaded Magadh and Anga.The history of the next few centuries upto the coronation of Chandragupta I (in 320 A.D.) is rather obscure. Anga was a part of the great Gupta Empire (320-455A.D.). This was an epoch of great material and cultural progress. With the decline of the Guptas, the Gaud King Sasanka gained control over the area in 602 A.D. and maintained his dominion till his death in 625 A.D. His death marked the decline of Gaud power and later the area came under Harsha’s domain of influence. He installed Madhav Gupta as king of Magadh. His son Adityasena has left an inscription in Mandar Hill indicating the installation of Narsimha or Narhari temple by him.Hiuen Tsang visited Champa in the course of his travels. He has left a description of the town in his travel accounts.The Palas of Bengal came to power in 755 A.D. with the election of Gopala as the king. He conquered Bihar. Dharmapala succeeded him. Vigrahpala established his authority in Anga. A copper plate ascribed to his son Narayanpal has been found at Bhagalpur. Vikramshila, the seat of the famous University, was founded by Gopala. The Senas also ruled over Anga after the fall of the Palas.